How would your life improve if you could worry less and achieve more in the daily 24 hours available to you? People only have so much time and energy to spend each day. Does it really make sense to spend your time worrying about things you can’t influence?
Worrying about the weather won’t change it. Being annoyed that you’re only 5’ 2” tall isn’t going to cause you to grow. However, many people spend much of their time and energy in a negative emotional state. This is caused by wasting time worrying over issues that are beyond their control.
Most of the negative thoughts you have each day are the equivalent of being upset over the weather. There’s simply nothing you can do about it. You’re only upsetting yourself needlessly.
There are only three things within your control:
In his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989)’ Stephen Covey’s writes about the circles of concern and influence. He says that proactive people focus on what they can do and can influence. Whilst reactive people focus their energy on things beyond their control.
I believe that there are only three things that we can fully control or influence. Our actions, Our thoughts and Our attitude.
The time you spend “doing” “thinking” and “being” is all that you can manipulate. You can choose, what you spend your time on. What food you eat and how much you exercise. Whether you watch TV or clean the house. You control whether you apologise to someone or not. It’s also possible to choose your attitude; do you want to think happy thoughts or thoughts that make you unhappy.
When you focus on what you can influence and control, you’ll find that you worry less and achieve more!
Six strategies to help you worry less and achieve more:
1 – Think about the next hour
At the beginning of each hour, ask yourself how can you use the next hour to your advantage? Asking this question will keep your mind in a productive mode. Ask yourself what you can do today that will make a difference or help you to achieve your goals.
2 – Decide if something is in your control
When you catch yourself worrying about something? Ask yourself is this something you can control? If it’s not, steer your attention to something else. Learn to either focus on solutions or to let go of the situation. This can be difficult to do, but the more you do it, the easier it gets!
3 – Keep your goals in mind.
Be aware of your goals. Without something to point your focus toward, you’re more likely to spend your time worrying about things beyond your ability to influence. Knowing your goals will help you determine how to spend your time wisely.
4 – Understand that control and influence aren’t the same
Know the difference between influence and control. For example, you can influence others, but you can’t control them. Use your influence wisely but recognise the limits.
5 – Be solution focused
Always focus on solutions. Are you seeking answers or wallowing in your problems? Mentally rehashing the past accomplishes little. Using your incredible brain power to solve challenges is a great use of your time. When you catch yourself thinking too much, ask yourself if you’re spending your time thinking wisely.
6 – Take time to reflect
Every evening, take time out to reflect on your day. How much did you accomplish? Were your thoughts, actions and attitude always productive? Or did you waste time on things beyond your control? When you spend time on this important activity, you’ll notice your behaviour and choices beginning to shift.
We must accept that a large part of life is beyond our control. From the decisions made by the boss of your company to global warming, there are many things in life that you can’t control to a significant degree.
However, there are a few things that you can control completely. This is where your time, thoughts, and energy can do the most good.
Avoid focusing on circumstances that you simply can’t control or influence. Why upset yourself when no solution exists? The greatest gift you have is your attention. Put it to the best possible use and you will find that you worry less and achieve more.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor