There are times that we want to turn back the time or wind it fast forward.
Moments of despair and an uncontrollable flow of negativity takes control over. We complain that the weather is not up to par with the time of the year. Or when stuck in traffic without moving an inch. For some, this means flinging the usual deadly diseases verbally towards an unknown ‘victim’. Or others clearly point out that he/she may be good to take some refreshers on how to push the pedal to the metal.
The suffering is real, but is it necessary?
Take COVID-19 as an example to add some fuel to the fire. We’re stuck to our phone when the latest news reaches us. We get all hyped up reading which vaccine causes pimples to explode as ferociously as the most active volcano on Earth. Or which measures are now taken from a higher hand to see our liberties taken away temporarily. Okay, raising our voices in unison may work when Easter and Christmas fall on the same day (read: never). But the rulers of a nation still have their final sayings.
Nowadays, we tend to put all our time, focus, and energy on matters we simply cannot always control. The media is flooding us with new COVID-19 statistics, graphics, and trends in countries where we do not even live. We are stuck to it because we are sucked into it. And want to ensure we can share the latest updates with those with us without looking like we have been hiding away in a remote cavern system without a mobile signal.
All the above examples require energy. And it is not energy that makes you thrive or get clarity of what you want to achieve. It drains us. We are wasting energy on topics, tasks, and situations we have no control over. The weather, traffic, or the existence of the COVID-19 virus. All these worldly challenges are all out of our reach as smart-working and law-abiding citizens in a country of millions. The same goes for politics, world peace, death, and your decisions made in the past.
And we continue to do so, even when it does not make us happier.
I am no exception to the above.
I was pulled into this vortex for many years. Planning to change the world with my thoughts, decisions to make an impact. It did not occur. I once filed a complaint to a resort owner about why customers did not get a refund because it rained 80% of the time. It may be a sense of relief, but it is and remains wasting energy. Because the results you wish for will not appear, they will not drive you as a person forward. It is a waste of energy that you can better use for other purposes. Happiness and personal progression are not derived from these practices.
A couple of years ago, I found a visual technique that has made me see things differently, where I consistently am made aware of what I can control. By focusing my daily energy effectively on topics I can control, what I partially can control (or influence) and matters beyond my control. This technique is called the Circles of Control and you can download an example right here.
By adding keywords and phrases in each sentence, your mind gives these matters a place. It allows you to get clear on what you can truly control and whatnot. These three overlapping circles are in a constant state of change, as I do add once in a while something new or remove something that I deem not be of great importance. And it gives you a visual where you should use your daily energy effectively.
By only paying attention to those matters you are in complete control over, you can eliminate the matters that are out of your control. For example, your choices of food, your hunger cues, going to the gym; you are in control. And those matters in your life you have some control over may play a role in how you can control it based on your personal situation. Some examples such as your thoughts, health goals, your family, or how much you want to be exposed to a virus are merely a few of the many.
Energy does not only come from nutrients. We obtain energy through breathing (oxygen), the activation of your neural network (working out), or optimising your hormones are underestimated sources that deliver energy to your body generated by your Central Nervous System. These sources do supply you with the energy you need. These energy sources do not replenish your inner battery when you focus on those things that are beyond your control.
I am avoiding as much as possible discussions about COVID-19 or following the trends. I tend not to get upset any longer when rain is pouring down just when I was about to go for a run. And sitting in a car for 6 hours while it normally takes 2.5 hours is not on my agenda to spend some energy on. It is all wasted energy. I’d rather spend energy that effectively delivers for the future and is voided by negativity by using my circle of control as my anchor.
Remember, your outcry on the socials about topics you cannot control will be forgotten in no time. Evaporating like ice under a sweltering sun. And energy wasted. You may gain a few thumbs up, but they will fade away without anyone giving a rat’s ass about it.
It will take some time, you will need some discipline, and I am not there yet. But when you set your focus on those things you can control and have influence over, it can have an enriching reward that may linger on for longer than you can imagine.
Who doesn’t want to use their daily energy effectively?
You cannot always control what goes on outside.
But you can always control what goes on inside