Sunday, March 1, 2015

In Control of the Out of Control

I find myself in a variety of situations these days where I can't change the circumstances--where I have no control over things that matter, just the ability to react or scramble or simply do whatever the situation requires. That's probably true for most of us. There's a lot beyond our control, whether we like it or not.

So, how do you maintain a feeling of control in your life, when circumstances try to force you to give up control? A few of my favorite methods...

1. Grab on to a project with a beginning and an end. Whether it is a three minute video that needs editing or a kitchen cabinet that needs organizing, you can take on the task knowing that you will see a result, one that you can control, and not five years from now, but today.

2. Teach yourself a new skill. There is nothing like taking a little control of your path for counteracting the feeling of having no control over your path.

3. Say "yes." Or say "no." You can't always control the circumstances, but you can feel a lot better if you control your reaction to them.

4. Focus on what you can change, not on what you can't. There is nothing more debilitating than slamming up against a brick wall over and over. Not only does it give you no visible results (except, perhaps, a whole lot of bruises), it saps the energy you could be using to create or to learn or to move on.

5. Remind yourself to control the things you can--the dinner you put on your table, even when you can't control who shows up and eats, the fiscal choices you make, even when you can't control the flow of the finances, the actions you take to make things clearer, cleaner, and more organized, even when you can't control much of the chaos that surrounds you.

I accept (well, at least some days) that there are things--many of them--beyond my control. These days, I'm focusing on what I can control. And if I focus hard, it turns out I'm a lot more in control than I thought.

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