What You Can (and Cannot) Control

Amazing Things Happen When You Know

Many of us are feeling an overall lack of control these days.  It seems like somebody else has been in the driver’s seat all of 2020 and we have been dragged along for the ride.  It is a little like being on that bus in the movie Speed with Keanu Reeves.  Who is ready to figure out a way off this thing?

The brutal truth is there are many things in life we simply do not have control over.  Resisting this truth will force us to become control freaks who micromanage, refuse to delegate tasks, or try to force other people to change.  It robs us of peace of mind and of our health.  Perhaps we think if we gain enough control over other people and the situations they are in then we can prevent bad things from happening?  Or maybe if we worry or fret enough, we can alter the future? It is helpful to shift our focus and actions to what we can control and influence.  You cannot prevent a storm from coming but you sure can prepare for it. Putting energy into the things you can control will be much healthier and more effective. 

It is true we can not control government decisions, out of stock items in the grocery store, or what is in the news these days, along with a host of others things but we can control how we respond to it.  The more time spent focusing on things that are out of our control, the more stressed we feel.  Try hitting the off button or dedicating one time each day for a news check in.  Be intentional about reading the good news which is often found in the local newspaper. Consider the available options and give new things a try.  When we focus our attention on planning for what is happening instead of worrying about what may or may not, it is powerful.  Recognizing that sometimes all we can control is our effort and our attitude puts us back into the driver’s seat of our lives.  It does not mean the road will not be curvy or scary but at least we are the ones deciding how slow or fast we want to go. 

Right now, we cannot control other people’s actions, natural disasters, diseases, the past, or the future.  However right now we can control:

  1. How many times we smile today.
  2. How often we say, “Thank you.”
  3. Whether we listen or talk.
  4. How we respond to someone’s question or comment.
  5. How much negative news we listen to.
  6. What books we read.
  7. How many times we say, “I love you.”
  8. Whether we see the beauty around us.
  9. How we spend our time.
  10. Who we spend our time with.

Use the list above to help create your own list but get more specific to your experience or situation.

Previously published in the Hampton County Guardian and the Augusta Chronicle USA Today Network.

Let us help you smile today! Check out our “Proper Way to Eat Jelly Beans” video!

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