Focus on What You Can Control
By Philip E. Humbert, PhD
As I write this, the sun is rising over the hills to the south-east, hidden behind a pillar on the corner of my home. When I sit at this table during the summer, the sun rises off my left shoulder, but now it has moved dramatically to the south. It shifts slowly, and from one day to the next I see no apparent difference, but over time, the earth changes from summer to winter.
Without noticing it, and with no effort on my part, in six months my relationship with the entire solar system has changed! The light in my office has changed, and so I shift positions, re-arrange my computer screen, move the furniture, and even work at a different time of the day, all because of changes over which I have no control, and take no notice.
Success and failure are often like that. We cannot control many of the things and events in our lives, including the sun and the tilt of the earth. What I DO control is whether or not I put curtains on the windows, arrange my furniture to take advantage of the light, and use the seasons to add variety and perspective to my office. Actually, I depend on the changing angle of the sun to "make" me move the furniture and dust behind my desk every few months. I use these predictable changes to enrich my office and make me look at the world differently.
In life, there are many things over which we have no control. Fortunately however, there are many things we can influence, and a few wonderful things we can arrange as we see fit. Highly successful people understand this and spend their time and energy where they can make a difference.
There is a wonderful quote that is attributed to Marianne Williamson that points out that our fear is not that we are powerless, but that in fact we are powerful beyond measure. We can influence more than we think. Given enough time, courage and determination, we can modify, impact, transform and re-invent almost everything in our lives. We are not in complete control; that is no excuse to deny the power we have!
The new year will last twelve months. You will have 52 weeks in which to choose your priorities. You will have 365 days to decide where to focus your time, your attention and your efforts. You will have thousands of opportunities to choose, to try, and to learn. Twelve months is a huge amount of time! In twelve months you can achieve miracles.
In the coming twelve months the sun will move, the earth will tilt, the seasons will change. You cannot control these things. But you can control what time you get up in the morning. You can choose your attitude, your friends, your reading material, your diet, your focus and your goals. You can, to a remarkable degree, create the life you want. Choose well. Use your power.