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What Can I Control ?
It seems to be built into our conditioning as human beings to have control over
all aspects of our lives. But what actually is it we are trying
We want to control our experience of life, but we sometimes
take it too far and when things don't come out the way we expect, then we feel like we
are out of control. There is a fine line between "going with the flow" and taking a
direct control over the feedback and experience of our
life. We all have different levels of control for a
So to address the question of what can I control and what should I just
accept, we need to arrange a bit of a model and
take a look at the areas of attention that we can have some control over,
and that then will provide us some feedback as to the other, less
important areas, that really we can't control and we should just accept as they are.
Clearly, we can't control the weather, and we can't control the ocean
and the "currents" of life, but we can control what we do in the ocean. For example,
our skill level and competence in surfing, to take my analogy in my video. We can
control how we respond to the currents of life, and its being able to differentiate the difference when life brings its crashing waves down upon us.
Brendon Burchard, in his book The Charge outlines three activators that, if
we are going to control anything, these are the points that we
should focus on in order to have a more fulfilled, inspired, and...well..."charged" life, as
he puts it.
Activator #1: Control Your Character And Your Outlook On Life
Among life's seemingly random events and situations that come to you in life,
there is a level of control that you can exert, and that is how you respond and the
meaning you give to these experiences. This ultimately is the most
important tool that we, as evolving, expanding and self-actualised beings have, to control
and orchestrate our lives to extract more of the juice and
greatness of life.
Your outlook of the world and your place in it, or the quality of the
experiences that you have on a daily basis are most definately within your
control. This knowledge, and this power, places you in a very unique position
and it calls upon you to be the guardian or director
of your outlook towards yourself and others in the world.
This is more difficult than its sounds as we are continuously being
bombarded by different experiences and outlooks via the mass
media, other people's opinions about things, social media, etc. Most people spend way too much
time consuming these mostly false portrayals of reality, and they then wonder why they
seemingly have no control over their lives. Its because they are constantly
being told what to think and what to do.
The solution for you is to remove yourself out of this and be the guardian of your own
life and be extra choosy on the quality of the information and "enter-
mation" (I just made that word up meaning entertainment-information), that you
consume. I would advise watching less TV that doesn't inspire and add
value to your life and also the same with your online consumption. Many hours
are lost in random surfing on Youtube and meaningless websites and social media platforms.
Just become aware of this and consciously decide to take control over what you are seeing.
Also, just as important, is to decrease your time with toxic people who derate and dump their trash
on you. Don't let them do it. Be the guardian of your life, and start to spend less time with
these people, and more time with people that build up and inspire you to greater life
You know the ones, and you know they are draining you down. Just be
honest, and move on from them. As you raise your outlook, and raise your focus to
higher more productive and pro-active pursuits, these degrading people
will simply fall away and not be there any more. Again, the control lies in where
you focus your attention. This is what also determines and define's your character.
Raise your standards and define what you will accept in your life. Actions speak louder than
words as they say, so let your actions define your character. Like attracts like, so you will
soon attract higher energetic experiences that conform to this new outlook and
standards that you have for yourself.
Activator #2: Control For New
As you go about your days focusing on the question of what should I
control and what should I just accept, you must also be mindful that you are not
just a product of your environment. You are not just a thing in the world,
existing and just reacting to whatever life throws at you. You are a
conscious co-creator of the world that you exist in, and are doing so every minute of
every day whether you are aware of it or not.
As Dr. Wayne Dyer puts it - you are not an organism within and environment, you are an
"environorgamism". This is a word that Dr. Dyer has used to
describe the connection that we all have with the environment around us.
You cannot describe yourself to someone else, without describing the environment in
which you are in. The two are inextricably linked in all you do.
Therefore, if we understand this, we can also control and direct our environment to
nurture us with new and inspiring experiences, if we are focused
on finding them.
We as humans have a need and desire for new, fresh experiences and things in our lives. If we
just have the same food, watch the same TV shows, do the same things day in day out, we soon
become bored, tired and complacent. Haven't you felt this in your own life at
times? Or seen it in other people's lives?
Why did your mother or father always tell you as a child to go
outside and play, or to go do something, when you complained that you were bored?
It's because by changing your attention to something new and fresh and
exciting, your experience of life changes. You forget the bored and tired feelings and
started to focus on something new.
By the way, many people understand the opposite of happiness is sadness.
Why is it, then, that we can shed tears of happiness?
I think the opposite of happiness is boredom. Its that feeling of being uninspired
and uninterested in all the millions of potential experiences that are
taking place around you at every moment in life. You are simply deleting everything in your
immediate experience except that which you are focusing on. Expand your
limited vision and you'll soon find something new to focus your
As the defender and director of your life, look for ways to
change it up each week. Challenge yourself to have NEW experiences in new environments.
Some ideas that I might advise are:
- Learn a foreign language.
- Join a new group of people who are doing something that you want to do, even if you have
never done that thing before - e.g. scuba diving
- Take a class and learn some new skill - you never know where that might take you
- Travel - nothing beats the mind enriching and eye-opening experience of
going to new and interesting places around this
amazing planet of ours. Be an adventurer on a quest for "NEW". And make
sure that when you're on your travels, get out of the hotel or resort. Seek out new and unique
- Network with new peer groups, and start to mingle with people that are
living their lives at higher levels in terms of finances, lifestyle, hobbies, etc. Things that
you can see yourself doing and that you want for your life. By being around these
people, their energy is absorbed into yours and you will begin to move in higher
circles of influence and you too will soon be living your life at these perceived higher
The final activator or control that I want to mention here that will help you to determine
What Can I Control, is:
Activator #3: Control Your Work-Flow
This is the main thing that causes the most stress and feelings
of helplessness and despair in many people's lives. The control over their working life.
So many people are restless and not happy with their work or workplace. Why?
People don't feel engaged or inspired by their "jobs". They have no ownership of the
work they are producing. This is very common amongst the big businesses
and corporations that many of us are a part of.
This dissatisfaction comes from the feeling that we have to do the job, whether we
like or not, because we have responsibilities and financial commitments that stop us from taking chances. If you are unhappy in your workplace, think about
why you are still doing it?
Is it because you want the satisfaction of seeing the job through?
Or, because you want the firm you work for to excel and succeed?
Mostly likely not. Most people will say that they are just doing the job
because that is what they are requested to do. They are just doing enough to
get through to the end of the day. Sad isn't it?
The control of your work-flow, is the control of your daily actions
that progress you toward a pre-determined goal that you have
intended and created for yourself. This is absolutely essential and
the most important factor in whether you feel like you are succeeding in life and
moving forward, or just getting by and living day-to-day to get through the day.
What new projects are you taking on that inspire you and push you to develop as
Ideally, to lead a more fulfilling life, you will want to be taking on at least 2-3 new
projects every year that are enough and that expand your boundaries in a way that
cause you to grow. Projects that you implement and decide upon, and therefore have control
over, that take you outside your comfort zones. This is where the real growth happens and
where life really begins taking on new meaning.
These projects are not necessarily part of your day job activities or your regular day-to-day
work that you are working on. Keep doing that for the moment, if you
think it serves a purpose in your life. Outside of this, in your spare time, is
where you want to take on these projects. In some cases, the personal projects that you implement outside of your work can act as a back up plan, if they involve some kind
of financial compensation, or it might just be a project that you take on simply to raise the
living standards of you and your family. Whatever it is, make sure its something that inspires
you and that you feel personally response-able for.
And in terms of workflow within this project, here are some tips and
guidelines that will help you to get more done in the small amount of time that you
have in your day, and be more productive.
Once you have allocated a time slot where you will work on projects, here
is how you should go about them:
1. Start your working time in "Strategy Mode" and start to brainstorm your big things you need to do to move your projects forward. List the top 5 big things
you need to in each of your project areas. Write them down on your planner and keep it in
sight at all times during your allotted working time. Allocate about 15-30
minutes to do this important task of looking at the big picture and brainstorming these
2. Next, you should think of the People involved in your projects that you need to
contact, or the People that you are waiting on for actions that will keep your
project moving forward. Go to your email inbox and scan briefly for any of these emails.
Resist the urge to get distracted by other non-important emails, and that will
waste your time and take away your drive and focus. You can breeze through these
at a later time. Only look at emails or write emails to the important people that you feel
will help you get your 5-big things done. The actions that you have determined
in the step 1. Then, close your email inbox. This requires discipline and focus.
Just do it. Remember, its your life and your time. You are the defender
of your time and you hold the control, not the emails in your inbox that are designed
to take your focus away to someone else's agenda.
3. Continue on to write down your priorities for today, and then get to them. These are
the things you must finish today, no matter what. Start, and
don't stop until you've completed these priorities. These may or may not be all 5 of
your big things you listed above, but these are the important actual activities and tasks that
you have chosen to accomplish today.
4. Time permitting, after you've done the above steps, you can re-check your inbox and look at
some of the other emails in there. Remember who holds the control and continually ask
the question - will this add or detract from my moving towards my goals?
Will it add value to my life or is it just wasting my time. Be ruthless, and you'll soon feel
more in control of your work-flow.
These tips come from Brendon Burchard's 1-page productivity planner that he uses in his high-
In my video, I say that you need to determine for yourself the areas of your life that you do
have control over, and forget the rest. Meaning that whatever is outside your circle of
control/influence, is not where you want to focus your attention for too long. Don't expend
your valuable time and energy there, spend it in areas that are within your circle of
influence, and work on expanding your circle by gaining more knowledge, new skills, new ideas,
and new friends.
Pretty soon, if you do this, you will no longer need to ask the question - what can I control?
You will simply know and you others will seek you out to find out your secrets.
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Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2012 -
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