To Guide You In Rocky Times: ‘Control What You Can Control’

Well, what a tricky time we are living in… Australia has started 2020 off with devastating bushfires, torrential rain and flooding, and now, the global challenge of dealing with COVID-19, the biggest threat to peoples lives and livelihoods, since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Now, the purpose of this article isn’t to regurgitate everything that’s been said on the news, but I want to provide a way of thinking for you to practice, and there is no other better time than now, to do so. It goes by the saying, “control what you can control”.

What I mean by this is that it is all too easy to focus on outcomes and results, whether it be large scale situations such as ‘when will COVID-19 will be eliminated?’, or to a much lesser extent, what mark a student will receive on a test, we can’t control these outcomes. HOWEVER, this is NOT to say we can’t control our processes to reach these desired outcomes. It is completely natural to focus on the results we want, but we cannot control results in their entirety, we can only control the process we take to get there.

In relation to COVID-19, we CAN control the amount of times we leave the house, the amount of times we wash/sanitize our hands, the level of isolation we choose to live by, however we cannot control the actual virus itself. Despite this, we know the processes we implement will undoubtedly help to achieve the outcome we want, and we can feel slightly more calmed at this, knowing we are doing all we can to stop the spread.

We can also view this mindset in the way we respond, treat others, or even whether we choose to occupy a positive or negative mindset, these are very simple things under every human’s control, and which will help guide you through adversity.

It is such a simple yet effective tool to use in your everyday life, and whilst I am certainly no expert in the ‘self-help’ field, controlling what you can control significantly allows oneself to gain clarity and perspective in any given situation, relieving you from unnecessary stress placed on yourself.

You can’t control the past, nor can you control the future. You can’t control other people, but you can control yourself. Everything to do with you and your power, you can control. You can’t control other people’s thoughts, behaviours, habits, or emotions, but you are more than capable of controlling your own. Ultimately, controlling what you can control, regarding your own thoughts, attitudes, behaviours, and ethics, is far more effective use of energy when focusing on achieving an end goal, or idealistic outcome. If you do the basics well, everything else will sort itself out.

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