Worrying only about things you can control

Worrying only about things you can control

As part of my Japanese learning routine, I subscribed to a Japanese teacher’s podcast. Although the teacher is quite young, I think she is a great teacher and a very sensible and interesting person. In one of her podcasts, she spoke about a mindset she learnt that changed her life.

It is a principle she learnt in Stoicism from Marcus Aurelius.

The quote is as follows:

Her takeaway from the quote is “Focus only on what you can control.”

The idea is that as humans, we try to control things we can’t control. As a result, the more we try to control things, the more we suffer.

Thinking about the example of my family member who has a very negative attitude. She probably has a lot on her mind that she is worried about and trying to control (unsuccessfully). In her frustration, she becomes even more negative and it manifests in her behaviour towards others. It then creates a self-reinforcing loop which brings about the reactions and outcomes that she does not want, which then leads to more bad outcomes for her to worry about.

It may be true for me as well, at work where not everything is within my anticipation or influence. By worrying so much about it, I will still not be able to resolve issues that are not 100% within my control. On the flip side, my attitude towards my career is something I can determine. Whether I choose to think about it negatively, or focus on the more positive elements of it that I can work to enhance, is within my control.  That is something I should bear in mind as I look to reset myself once again.

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