At my Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce referral network meeting this morning our speaker was Norma Nicholson, author, motivational speaker and owner of Wise Owl Enterprises, a life coaching business. Norma helps people deal with what life throws at them and live a better life. If I boil down what Norma talked about in her advice it is this – “Focus upon what you can control.”
Norma uses several examples of things that have happened in her life and in the lives of others that she has helped, to set the stage for how she helped herself and now helps others. Her examples are all things that happen to many people – the loss of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a job. These are things, most of which are totally out of our control, that just happen to us. What Norma focuses people to look at is how they react to those things and how to take control of those reactions.
I’ve posted here several times about letting go of things and realizing that we cannot control all of the events in life that happen, no matter how hard we try or would like to believe that we are in control. What we can control is how we react to those events. Almost all of life’s big events cause an initial, sometimes overwhelming, emotional reaction. There is nothing that we can do to avoid the fear or sadness or sense of loss that washes over us at the moment of impact of such an event; however, we can, and should, try to recover and regain control of ourselves as soon as we can. Why? Because we are also often called upon to make quick decisions and to answer the immediate question – What now?
If we just surrendered to the grief, anger, or remorse that initially overtook us, we might slip into depression, lash out in response, or otherwise react foolishly. We would be letting the event control us, instead of controlling our response. The beginning of regaining control of the situation is the admission to ourselves that we cannot or could not have controlled the event. For some that is difficult. They tend to spend time in self-recrimination, searching their minds for something that they could have done differently to prevent the event from occurring. What a waste that is. It did occur and there is no going back, no do-overs. There is only, “What now?”
So maybe you’d benefit from buying and reading one of Norma’s books. You might also benefit from going back to re-read some of what I’ve posted here about dealing with life’s challenges, such as this post on letting go. Maybe reading about being in control of your life instead of life-s event would help. There are other posts about how to deal with life by dealing with the issue of control. The point of most of them is coming to grips with the fact that you are not in control of anything except how you choose to react to what is happening around you and to you. That is up to you.
Many people find that turning to prayer in difficult situations helps. Perhaps it is that momentary need to refocus upon God that gives them the peace that they needed to start to think clearly again. Whatever, the cause, the effect of turning to prayer can be immediate and dramatic. Most importantly, when you turn to God you have to let go of control of the situation and admit that there was nothing that you could do to change it, it happened. Then you can move on to the question of – now what? Your most effective prayer might be, “Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to get through this situation.”
Whether you turn to prayer or not, the advice that both Norma and I provide is to focus upon what you can control – your attitude and reaction to the situation. Don’t allow yourself to become self-defeating, but rather be self-empowering, through a positive attitude. A saying from a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words Blog comes to mind – “If you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes. If you don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.” (Unknown)
There will be a tomorrow. Focus upon what you can control.