Stay in Control

Written by: Alan Rodway - Your Coach Online

This is about attaining a sense of control leading to feeling more relaxed, happy and successful. Surely happiness and success are one and the same. Feeling out of control is not good.

The only way we can feel in control is to distinguish between what we can control and what we cannot control.

We can only control two things in life:

  1. our own behaviours;
  2. our attempts to influence others.

If we focus on these two aspects of life, manage them as well as we can and let go of what we cannot control then life becomes easier and more rewarding. (And there has certainly been a lot written about the psychological dangers of concentrating on what is out of our control … distress, stress, anxiety, feelings of failure).

Happiness is a feeling on the inside so we can’t look outwards for it. It’s about feeling good about who and what we are, so we cannot regard the reactions nor behaviours of others for our own happiness. That would make us feel good or otherwise, depending on others do and don’t do. It’s the same for everything else going on around us that is out of our control. All we can do is optimize our own behaviours and our attempts to influence others. If this sounds negative, uncaring or a cop out from life, it’s not. It’s exactly the opposite. A person who behaves according to who they truly want to be is way more likely to be good for others and the world than someone who struggles with a raft of what’s going on around them that is outside of their control. It’s a truly positive and fair concept.

Life is imperfect, people are imperfect and much of what happens in the world is out of an individual’s control. That may be an unappealing concept but it’s a real one. If it’s difficult to come to terms with, then it may be at the heart of some disturbing feelings we have, but it may also pose an opportunity to manage life better. It may sound unattractive when expressed so blatantly but it’s a reality that leads to better managed lives when internalized.

Time, energy and emotion spent outside our sphere of control achieves nothing but disappointment and anguish. Even a buddhist teaching refers to ‘the root of all suffering is attachment’ .. and part of that attachment is to aspects of life outside of our control.

It helps enormously to engage the following first thoughts every morning:

  1. What we appreciate;
  2. Who we want to be;
  3. What we must do today to make it successful (consistent with who you want to be).

As simple as these three thoughts may appear, they are crucial to how we should live each day. That’s not a sermon … it’s just good advice from so many learned, wise people through history.

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