“Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?” ~Unknown
Sure, there are lots of things we can’t control: businesses may fold, stocks may plummet, relationships may end—the list is infinite, really. But wouldn’t we be far more effective if we focused on all things we can control instead;
Right now, you can control:
1. How many times you smile today.
2. How much effort you exert at work.
3. Your level of honesty.
4. How well you prepare.
5. How you act on your feelings.
6. How often you say “thank you.”
7. When you pull out your wallet for luxuries.
8. Whether or not you give someone the benefit of the doubt.
9. How you interpret situations.
10. Whether or not you compete with people around you.
11. How often you notice and appreciate small acts of kindness.
12. Whether you listen or wait to talk.
13. When you walk away from a conversation.
14. How nice you are to yourself in your head.
15. Whether you think positive or negative thoughts.
16. Whether or not you form expectations of people.
17. The type of food you eat.
18. When you answer someone’s question—or email or call.
19. How much time you spend worrying.
20. How many new things you try.
21. How much exercise you get.
22. How many times you swear in traffic.
23. Whether or not you plan for the weather.
24. How much time you spend trying to convince people you’re right.
25. How often you think about your past.
26. How many negative articles you read.
27. The attention you give to your loved ones when you see them.
28. How much you enjoy the things you have right now.
29. Whether or not you communicate something that’s on your mind.
30. How clean or uncluttered you keep your space.
31. What books you read.
32. How well you network at social events.
33. How deeply you breathe when you experience stress.
34. How many times you admit you don’t know something—and then learn something new.
35. How often you use your influence to help people instead of focusing on building your influence.
36. When you ask for help.
37. Which commitments you keep and cancel.
38. How many risks you take.
39. How creative/innovative you are in your thinking.
40. How clear you are when you explain your thoughts.
41. Whether you formulate a new plan or act on your existing one.
42. How much information you get before you make a decision.
43. How much information you share with people.
44. Whether you smoke or drink (unless you’re an alcoholic, in which case I am not qualified to offer you advice).
45. Whether or not you judge other people.
46. Whether you smell good or bad (unless you have some strange resistance to soap and deodorant).
47. How much of what other people say you believe.
48. How quickly you try again after you fall.
49. How many times you say “I love you.”
50. How much rest you get at night.
Odds are, some of these resonate with you more than others; so what? You can’t do fifty things at once anyway.
When I start fixating on something I can’t control, I pick just one of these to think about instead. Minor changes in thinking, I’ve found, lead to major changes in my reality. Do you have any to add to the list?