How can you begin to control your life?
Learn to focus your thoughts on what you do control. When people focus their thoughts on what they can not control, their lives begin to spin out of control. When people focus their thoughts on what they can control, they finally begin to take control.
What do you tend to think about? Take a moment to brainstorm a list of everything you tend to worry about, think about, or complain about in a single day. A typical list looks something like this:
"I hope they like me."
"The world is falling apart."
"Television is too violent."
"I can not make ends meet."
"I can not loose any weight."
"My spouse does not listen."
"My employees can not be trusted."
"My kids keep fighting."
"My boss is using me."
"People keep messing up."
"My family never does anything without I nag them."
"I do not know what to do."
"There is nothing I can do."
When you're done writing your list, ask yourself the following three questions:
1. Which items on your list do you complete control?
2. Which items on your list do you indirectly impact?
3. Which items on your list are completely beyond your control?
If you're like most people, you spend over eighty-percent of your time worried about things over which you have absolutely no control. And any time that you spend worrying about things that are beyond your control is a waste of your precious time and energy.
Let me give you two examples of how people get themselves bogged down in control.
I once had a student who liked to point out why any suggestion would not work. Moreover, she always pointed out what other people might do to make a particular suggestion impossible. She always pointed out the circumstances of her life that were wholly beyond her control, as though she needed to abdicate herself from responsibility.
One day, while the class was discussing how to open a business, the importance of role models and how to find role models, she interfereed with, "But Lynn, most people do not want to tell you their secrets. want to you steal from them. "
The enthusiasm of the class dropped about ten degrees. Enthusiasm is contagious and her lack of enthusiasm was equally contagious. I guess that I had enough because I just stared at her for a second and then blurted out, "Do you ever feel helpless?"
A surprised look flashed in her eyes as she considered my question. "Yeah," she mumbled. "Why?"
"Well, you're always pointing out things that you can not control, and I was wondering if that ever made you feel helpless. are afraid that if you succeed there'll be less for themselves. But so what? Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they're yours worried about some hypothetical person anyway? I personally know many truly successful people who believe in sharing their success. Just go find them, cultivate them, and give them a reason to want to help you.
By focusing on what she could not control, my student was cultivating her helplessness and assuring herself that she could never take control. She was proving to herself that she was not responsible for her situation.
How about another student of mine? This student was a non-stop talker. I would walk into the class, and he would start talking to me. I would call a break, and he would start talking to me. I would be writing on the board, taking roll, reading, correcting papers, or even walking out of the room, and whenever he saw me, he would start talking to me. He was confusing talking with communicating. As a result, nobody ever really listened to him. Most students found him annoying.
One day, he started talking to me while I was rushing to prepare a lesson, and I said without looking up, "What's my body language saying?"
"Oh, right, you're busy," he said, and kept right on talking.
Finally, half-amused and half-amazed, I asked, "Why are you talking to me, if you know that I am not listening?"
"I can not help myself. That's just the way I am," he said without a moment's hesitation, and kept right on talking. But suddenly, he had my fascinated attention. I wanted to know why he felt that he had no control over his own mouth.
As it turned out, he'd given himself a lot of reasons. He said that he was in constant physical pain and did not trust people. He actually acknowledged that he knew that his non-stop talking was irritating. He claimed that he had developed the habit on purpose, so he would not have to get close to people. But another part of him came through during our talk. A part of him that almost broke into tears. A part of him that wanted approval and was hungry for communication with like minds. But by telling him that he could not help himself, he was making communication with like minds almost impossible to find.
Do not let yourself become a victim of your own bad habits. Too often, we try to control the things we can not control, and we fail to take responsibility for the things that we do control. But without we take responsibility for our lives, we will always be powerless to affect meaningful change …