You Can Only Control What You Can Control
Updated: Feb 11, 2022
This message is for everyone who feels stuck in a dead end job, trapped by a terrible boss, or entrenched in an fulfilling career. I’ve been there. In fact, at some point or another, most all of us have been there. We hold on tightly, we distract ourselves and rationalize our feelings, and we trick ourselves into believing everyone is dealing with the same bosses or career frustrations. We willfully accept our position while knowing deep down—sometimes deep deep down—we don’t deserve what we’re living and/or feeling.
Maybe it's because we feel barricaded. Whether because the pay is great, the job is convenient, or our career plans make it seem like this is the only path available, we continue fighting as we try to accept our situation. And how do we fight? Let's consider...
Have you ever:
Tried to make your supervisor like you;
Tried to trick yourself into liking your coworkers;
Tried to distract yourself with other things that make work suck a little less.
Any of this sound familiar?
Here’s the single most important piece of advice I’ll ever be able to provide. The advice I remind myself about any time I have a crummy experience with a coworker, supervisor, or client, or workplace. The phrase I think about every time I begin feeling overwhelmed by work, relationships, or life:
YOU CAN ONLY CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL.
Work sometimes sucks. People sometimes suck. Hell, in times where things are especially difficult, even living can sometimes suck. And more often than not, it’s because we’re overextending ourselves in relation to our limited time and energy. It takes a difficult but needed reset to remember that no matter what, we are able to be our best selves not by trying to meet everyone else’s expectations but by maintaining control over what we can control. That means not letting other influences, expectations, or people dictate our lives.
If your job sucks, what you can control is changing your environments.
If your pay sucks, what you can control is finding ways to make more money.
If your life sucks, what you can control is seeking out things that bring you joy.
Most importantly, we commit to a new path forward.
I’m not saying it’ll be easy. In fact, I know how hard it can be. But at least you are creating your own path forward. A path which will lead to a happier you. I believe there's something very special about creating and taking control of our future.
The years go by quickly and they seem to go faster the older we get. No one deserves to be dictated, treated like garbage, or live a life they don’t want to be living.
So far, I’ve talked solely in terms of our careers. In fact, we see this mindset applicable in all facets of our lives. If you’re unhappy in a relationship, ask yourself what can be done. If friendships have deteriorated, ask yourself what you want to changed? If we give our best shot and nothing has improved, we can make the change.
Life is way too short to fight battles that are unlikely to improve our wellbeing and happiness. Instead, let’s devote our energy to what we can control.
We’re in this together.