“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t” ~ Steve Maraboli
Our lives are defined by the choices we make and our responses or reactions to things that happen to or around us. We cannot control what others may say or do, but we do have control over how we respond or react. It’s not always easy but when you think before you react you will make positive changes in your life.
Keep in mind that spontaneous reacting is completely normal and chances are that no matter how hard you try, you will slip up. However if you want to take control of your life you need to use your power to control your emotions or response. Below are a couple of suggestions on how to do this:
Pause, be silent & think: If you’re in a situation that you need to respond to in short order, take a few minutes to think. I suggest counting to ten before making a decision. Don’t let the silence scare you, use it to think clearly. Think about how your response will affect the outcome of the situation and the longer term effects of that decision.
Sometimes counting to ten may seem like a long time, as pointed out by a young man I was working with. He told me he just kept making bad decisions. I asked why he thought he kept making bad decisions and he responded with “I just don’t think.” I asked if he would do me a favor and before he made a decision to do something he silently count to ten. He paused, looked up as if looking to the sky then looked me straight in the eye and said, “Ten is a lot”! I laughed and asked if we could start with five.
Do your best to pause, be silent and think before you act.
10-10-10: Another technique I suggest is one that is better suited for decisions that you have more time to evaluate. When making a decision think about how it will affect you 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years. Let me start by saying the 10’s are just a number to signify short, intermediate and long term. So for instance I had someone who had been looking for a job, she had been unhappy in her job for quite some time. She received a job offer from another company. When she turned in her notice to her employer they presented her with an unbelievable counter offer. At that point she had another decision to make so we discussed using this method.
If she stays- 10 minutes: feel good – more money – move on. 10 months: same environment, harder to find a job at the new pay level, still unhappy but making more. 10 years: possibly still feeling stuck and unhappy and/or had “wasted” time in her life for money.
If she leaves- 10 minutes: feel relieved to have made a decision, excited about new opportunity, still making more that current. 10 months: new environment, learning new things, not feeling stuck. 10 years: happy, enlightened
She made the choice to accept the new position and move on. She realized that money would not change what made her unhappy in her current job and she had an amazing opportunity to grow and move on.
Take control over what you do have power over – use these tools to make decisions that allow you to affect the outcome the way that is best for you.