Have you noticed how oftentimes it takes a bad situation to recognize where we’re slipping? Even if we might already have an idea about what we’re (maybe) doing wrong, most times we tend to stick to our current behavior until something blows up in our faces (sometimes quite literally…)
I had the happy time this week of realizing this first hand when my laptop broke down. Fun fact: your computer’s hard drive can actually blow up while you’re working with your PC at that very moment. This is what happened to me first thing on Monday and, needless to say, I didn’t have the best start of the week: this experience led me into a roller-coaster ride of panic, frustration, daily task-chaos (most people who use their PC for work will understand where that one came from) and rushing to get the thing into the servicing center before they’re closed for the day, only to find they could not tell me whether I would get it back tomorrow or in February. I was a wreck by the time I got home that evening.
Fast forward to me contemplating escaping to a remote island and living on sun, scraps and 0 technology for the rest of my life that evening, I started thinking about control. That, or rather, the lack thereof, seems to be the one thing that is capable of driving us to madness in mere seconds and giving us the worst headache of our lives over something we hope we might be able to control but, really, we can’t. Our whole lives seem to be revolving around us trying to control sh*t: our work, our home, technology, kids, pets, spouses, calories, thoughts… Does that not sound exhausting?! And I think a big chunk of our daily stress comes from the undeniable frustration of realizing you just can’t control it all.
That’s why, in this week’s post I decided to make us all think about our control-issues: let’s be honest with ourselves and make a clear distinction of what we can and cannot control. Just for sanity’s sake.
Some examples of things we CAN’T control: your PC blowing up in your face, other people’s actions and opinions, the weather, the majority of the list mentioned above in this post. Please forget about controlling roughly 60% of your life. Accept the fact that we’re not given the chance to 1) predict and 2) control everything. We’re not meant to: that’s basically what real life is all about. After all, things would get quite dull if we expected and planned for everything, right? And, before you start complaining about how much of our lives fall under this category, please continue to a list of…
Some examples of things we CAN control: our thoughts/reactions, our beliefs, attitude, who we connect to, what we choose to do with our time, the books we read and movies we watch, how kind/honest/brave/lazy we are, how much time we spend worrying about things we have no control over, how appreciative/thankful we are of everything we have, how often we choose to smile today, how we interpret and deal with everything around us… The list goes on. See my point here? There are plenty of things we can control in our fabulous lives and, the sooner we make the conscious choice to direct all our effort into those, instead of pining over the ones out of our reach, the calmer and happier our lives will become. Instantly.
So, try your best to not stress so much about things that are out of your control, and start focusing on all the things you can make an impact on. You only have this much energy every day: ask yourself, where is this energy best directed? If you think about it, all these things we can control will make up for most of the things we cannot: it’s just a matter of perspective. Think about it.