Face it…some things are beyond your control. Yet some folks don’t always see it that way. For example: We want the sun to shine on our parade and we get upset when the weather doesn’t comply with our wishes. We expect everything to go according to plan and get stressed when it doesn’t turn out that way. We ask folks to change their behavior and then we’re surprised when they refuse to change their ways. The fact is, you can’t control the weather, but that doesn’t stop people from trying.
What areas of your life are beyond your control? Here are seven situations to serve as guideposts.
7 Situations Beyond Your Control
If you can’t change things, accept them as they are. Consider, for example:
Miracles. Some folks want the sun to set at a different time. (Well, that’s not going to happen.)
Certainty. Some people demand guarantees, even when there aren’t any.
Status quo. Some folks dislike change and expect the world to stand still for them. (How’s that working for you?)
Unforeseen events. Some people want everything to go according to plan. (Good luck with that.)
Human nature. Some folks try to force their will on others. (The reality is, people change when change is their choice.)
Perfection. Some people expect perfection and work hard to attain it. They get anxious if it eludes them.
History. Some folks can’t let it go. They relive the past, hoping to change history.
Accept Uncertainty and Learn to Live With It
Can a kiss turn a frog into a prince? I hope you answered “no.” And it may also be time to end your fairytale thinking about controlling the uncontrollable. The truth is, once you close the chapter on that thinking, the more likely you’ll be to accept reality for what it is –– rather than for what you want it to be. Plus, you’ll make life easier by setting reasonable expectations for yourself; you’ll stop running down dead-end paths; and you may even “go with the flow” every once in a while. Most importantly, you’ll give yourself a break when it’s impossible to do anything else.
The areas in which you do have control are notable. They define who you are and what you represent. They guide your behavior and determine your ultimate destiny. Here are 16 such areas:
- Moral character
- Beliefs and values
- Confidence and self-respect
- Personal responsibility.
Think about it! Having a realistic perspective will help you to be happier and more productive, and it will have a positive impact on your health and well-being. If control is an illusion, why are you worrying, getting stressed out, and wasting valuable time and energy when circumstances can’t be changed? The reality is, if you can’t change the outcome, move on to an area within your control. (The list above is a good place to start.)
The Serenity Prayer authored by the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr places this issue in its proper perspective: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Know the difference…if it’s beyond your control, it’s time to let go.
Are You Ready to Take Back Control of Your Life?
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Bob Vanourek says
Another set of guidelines brimming with common sense wisdom from a master of great insights. Thank you, Frank.
Frank Sonnenberg says
Thanks so much Bob. I’m glad you like it 🙂 Have an awesome day!
Janet Cook says
Back in 1991, I had a boss named Cynthia Manfre. She told me ” if your success was earned through hard work and honesty never apologize for it.” I never realized that quote came from you. I want you to know it’s been my Mantra ever since and I passed it along to my children as they’ve grown up to be successful and thoughtful adults.
Frank Sonnenberg says
Thanks Janet. I’m so glad you like it.
The truth is, although I wrote, “If your success was earned through hard work and honesty never apologize for it,” I published it a few years after you heard it from Cynthia. I guess great minds think alike.
Rosa Acosta says
Hi Frank, I used to have a magnet up with the Serenity Prayer but hadn’t thought about it in a long time, thanks for the reminder! It really is so important for us to stop stressing about those things we can’t control and spend our time and energy on the 16 areas you mention!
Frank Sonnenberg says
You have a very healthy outlook.
As you say, “It’s really so important for us to stop stressing about those things we can’t control…” and move on to an area within our control.
Simply said, If it’s beyond your control, let it go.
I’m glad this post served as a reminder 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to write.