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Controlling what you can control

I am writing this while sitting in a car experiencing the worst traffic of my life. I’m in Istanbul trying to get to the airport with my colleagues. We left our client at 5pm and my flight takes off at 8:30pm. The airport is approximately 5km away however the traffic is bumper to bumper. These are the facts.

For the first 90 minutes our local colleague and my travel colleague were discussing, arguing, stressing, agreeing/disagreeing on which direction we should be going and why the traffic is so bad. Throughout this time I was looking outside, listening to these exchanges in amazement; actually it was quiet amusing. The one thing going through my mind the entire time was that one shouldn’t try and control something that isn’t in one’s realm of control.

For the majority of my life I would get caught up in the passion of a situation. If someone dropped rubbish on the ground or jumped a queue I would get involved, stress out and sometimes get myself into trouble. These days I do the opposite, because in most, if not all situations, there isn’t anything I get out of it. You may say I get satisfaction, but it wears away quickly; plus at what expense?

A good question to ask is whether you can really change a situation or change a person in the long-term. If the answer is yes (and you have to be very sure based on your/their values and belief systems) then it is possibly worth making a difference. Realistically it is not worth getting worked up about it.

I’m trying to take a very stoic approach to life. Given what I have experienced in the car today: I’m relaxed, I will most likely miss my flight, lose a day at home which I really wanted before leaving for the USA. So what, I can’t control the traffic!

2 Responses to :
Controlling what you can control

  1. Mat Shohet says:

    So true this reminds me of two of my favourite quotes…

    “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
    Charles R. Swindoll

    “The pursuit of happiness is a matter of choice…it is a positive attitude we choose to express. It is not a gift delivered to our door each morning, nor does it come through the window. And it is certain that our circumstances are not the things that make us joyful. If we wait for them to get just right, we will never laugh again.”
    Charles R. Swindoll

  2. brevell says:

    These are great quotes Mat!

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