For over a year now I have been feeling vaguely out of control at the steering wheel of my life- no make that completely out of control. It seemed to me that I couldn’t get things done my way for so many aspects of life. I have been meeting with numerous failed attempts and roadblocks.
Then it struck me- nobody feels complete control over their lives, no one has that kind of control. We can take steps towards certain goals, try our best, but really how can we control the outcome. There are too many external factors affecting that outcome, we cannot possibly micro-manage them (unless we suddenly get promoted to Supreme Ruler of the Universe – not happening for me anytime soon I can tell you that).
We can however, control our reactions to the events that happen to us. I have heard that “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it”. So much of what happens to us is out of our control – getting or losing jobs, having children, illnesses, relationships etc… How we take the failure when it comes – that is the key. The first reaction is to be bitter or angry or upset. I mean, initially these feelings will be there and I think it’s ok to wallow a bit, but one must recover quickly; if not it is so easy to get lost in the negativity.
We should look towards what can be done next, what is the next step forward, what are the options and support systems available. In terms of attitude, which attitude will best help you to keep pursuing that goal? Definitely not anger, bitterness and dejectedness I am sure. Acceptance, hope, faith, perseverance, a never-say-die attitude these are some mindsets we can practice. I say practice, because for some reason it is not in human nature to naturally gravitate towards these emotions (we are gloomy creatures, we homosapeins). We need to constantly remind ourselves to keep up the positivity until it becomes a habit.
Sometimes we think we can indeed control certain aspects. Certainly how my marriage turns out or how my children grow up or getting that promotion at work are within my control, one may think. If you really think about it – not really. These things, while you can definitely do a lot to get yourself to that goal, a lot of it also depends on the decisions that other people take which you can’t control. In these cases, it is best to do whatever is in your power, then relinquish control for the outcome. It is the outcome that we can’t control, the process (what is in our hands), that we can control.
So my philosophy lately? Do what I can do for it – then let go of the desire to control the outcome. It is so difficult for a Type A control freak such as me. But I strive everyday.