Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. ~ Epictetus
Control what you can. Leave what you can’t.
Most do neither. They try to control what they cannot control, or they get angry over it being so, and they ignore the power that they do have and chalk it up to how things are.
The weather is, you have no control over it. To get angry at it being the way it is makes no sense. You cannot control what other people do, so why fret over their stupidity or ignorance? Why spend time arguing about things when you have no hope in hell of changing the other person’s mind on the subject?
You can, however, control your body weight. If you’re fat, that’s on you. If you’re skinny, again, on you. If you’re weak or lazy then you cannot complain about it, you are who made you weak or lazy.
Don’t just accept that you can control something and go on with your life. Spend time determining what in your life you can control and are not controlling to the best of your abilities, and what you shouldn’t even be attempting to have power over because in reality you have none.
Excellence is just that, wielding your power over what you have power over better than everyone else and ignoring what you don’t have power over, or simply not letting it take up space in your brain. (Read This: 5 Steps to Gain Real Power)
You cannot control the hate or envy of others, so leave it be. You cannot control what family you are born into, just appreciate them, and make the most out of the hand you’ve been dealt.
It’s an imperative skill in life to understand what you can and cannot control. It’s a necessary skill if you want to live a happy, successful life, and it doesn’t matter how you define happiness or success, this skill is still required.
There are three things you can do:
- Spend a few hours thinking about the things that take up space in your mind. Do they belong there or should this pace be taken by something else that you do have power over.
Most people won’t do this step. They’ll gloss over this suggestion, maybe nodding in agreement that it would be a good idea to do this, but that’s all they’ll do. Don’t be them. Do this.
- Take a little notebook around with you over the next few days and write down things that make you angry or stressed. At the end of the three day period, go through the list and determine if they’re things that are under your control or not. Then figure out if there are things that are under your control that you’re passing off as things that aren’t.
- Stop making excuses.
It’s simple. Pay attention to how you think and talk and if you ever make an excuse, stop yourself, and then figure out how you can take ownership over the situation, no matter the situation.
This is true power, ownership, that is. It’s actively controlling what you can and the man who does this isn’t easily defeated.