What We Really Control
A few episodes ago, we did an episode of the Stronger Revolution about Self-Awareness vs. Self-Reflection. In that episode, we used an analogy of a house. Everything in front of the house is what exists completely outside of ourselves. When we are standing on the porch, we are self aware of everything going on around us. When we are in the house, we are self reflecting on all of our motivations, memories, intentions, history, etc. The small area between what is inside the house, and what is on the porch, is the threshold.
When we boil down life to its most basic form, the only things we really control are our thoughts and decisions. This is the threshold. We use everything inside of the house to cause the actions we engage in on the porch and in the outside world. The idea that we only control our thoughts and decision can be a hard thing to accept. Don’t I have control over my body? Well, technically no. Do you control when you get sick? No, your body gets sick. No matter how much you fight it, no matter how much you may try to use your mind to not get sick, your body still gets sick. Here’s another example, how about doing something like throwing darts. If you had complete control over your body, you would be able to hit the bull’s eye every time you throw the dart. But, you can’t hit the target every time. All you can do is influence your actions from your mind, but you don’t fully control the final outcome. We decide to throw the dart, but our body takes over the action. If you accept this, then you can expand this concept beyond your mind and your body. You control you mind, you don’t control your body, and you certainly don’t control anything outside of yourself.
Why Is This Important?
If you can accept that you can’t control anything outside your mind, this can bring an immediate sense of relief. A lot of your frustration is coming from your attempt or desire to control things outside your mind. You don’t control traffic, you don’t control what the Government does, you can’t control what your friends or co-workers do. So, stop trying and that frustration goes away.
This acceptance will also remove a sense of responsibility for everything outside of your control. This is not to say that you can use an excuse of no responsibility in your life. However, you can give up the feeling that you are responsible for anything outside your thoughts and decisions. If you make a decision to buy a house that is outside your monetary means, and you default on your loan, then you are responsible for that decision and outcome. However, if you do what your boss tells you to do, and your business doesn’t win the new sales account (or whatever), you aren’t responsible for that. You made the decision to do what your boss told you to do. You made the decision to do your best. You don’t have any control over the final outcome.
Finally, accepting that we have no control over anything outside of our mind will bring clarity to your life. You are no longer worried about anything outside your thoughts and decisions. If you are someone who likes to try to control everything, finally accepting that you cannot control everything should bring you some relief. You can stop worrying about it all. You only have to worry about your thoughts and your decisions. You can influence everything outside your mind with your decisions that lead to your actions, but you cannot control the final outcome. So, let it go. Only focus on what’s between your ears.
How To Help You Accept This
If you still aren’t with us, take out a piece of paper and a pen. Write down everything you think you control. This might be a long list, this might be a short list. But, write it all out. Now, go back and cross off everything on the list that is outside your thoughts and decisions, even your actions. Remember, you can decide to lift your arm over your head, but there is no guarantee that will happen. You could develop an auto-immune disease that prevents you from lifting your arm. Also, make sure you are crossing off things you influence. Influence comes close to control, but isn’t actually control.
Once everything is crossed off, review your list. Your list should be boiled down to your decisions. You decide things like when you eat, when you wake up, when you go to bed, what you do at work, when you exercise, etc. These are all things in your life that you can control by making a decision.
For more information on this concept of what you do and do not control, check out our Podcast Episode