Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. Goethe
The 3 Things We Can Control
In my coaching practice, I spend my days listening to people. Deep listening has taught me a lot about the human condition. When we focus on the three things in our lives that we can control, a cascade of emotional riches follows. We can stay in our lane by taking full command and control of:
- What we let in: Food, fluids, screen time (amount and quality); people (their stuff, their energy, those we cherish and those we find toxic); our inner critic who ambushes us with negative self-talk; interruptions and distractions.
- What we let out: Words, energy, a grateful heart, a sense of empowerment, genuine warmth, constructive comments, candor not manipulation, acknowledging others and the good in them, humility, not narcissism.
- What we dock to: The quality of what we attach to; our daily habits; making time for that which is most important, what we care about, with whom and what we spend our time on. We may be having a feeling or a ‘want’ that we destructively pursue, get overly attached to an outcome that does not involve # 1 or #2 above, or we are emotionally fused to something or someone we have no control over.
Focusing on the three most important things in our lives requires making deliberate, hard decisions all the time. Like the client who had me store his video games in my office so he can write his book (now on sale at Amazon!). Or the executive who stopped using email altogether because he could not manage the volume and get to what was most important.
When we drift out of our lane, we stop paying attention to what is most important to us. We forget what we have control over and then we experience pain. It is not a short-term solution, but pays off handsomely in the long run. Change involves letting go of what you already know is not working. When you tolerate the mediocre or the toxic, you cut off the golden opportunities.
“Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.” Epictetus