Get Control of Your Life


This is the first blog in a series about Getting Control of Your Life. Click here for instructions on how to journal.

Do you ever feel like a marionette and think that there is some unseen force or persona pulling your strings… that your life is out of control… or at least beyond your ability to manage it?

Well, I have good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad first. Life, to a certain extent, is beyond our control. The good news? While complete control of life is an illusion, reality is that we can firmly be in control of key components of it.

Philosophically, life is beyond our control. We cannot control things like earthquakes, illnesses, how people will react to us, the weather, or if we will fall victim to an accident.

However, just because we can’t control everything, does not mean that we shouldn’t control the things we can. We can control our attitude, our choices. We an control things like who we will marry (at least in the US), how many kids we might bring into this world (if you’re not in China), who our business partners are and how many friends we will have. We can control how we invest our time and money. We can control what we watch, who we hang out with. We can control what we eat, how long we sleep. There are a LOT of things we can control.

I have been blessed with a group of friends who know how to control the things they can. There is Wesley and Kathy, childhood friends of mine. When their daughter Stephanie was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, they dealt with it head on. Sadly, Stephanie passed away at age 16. I just had dinner with Wesley and Kathy a few weeks ago… they didn’t just roll over give up on life. They are living life to the fullest.

There is Fred. A navy buddy who I’ve known for over 25 years. His wife Dottie just passed away last year from cancer. When she passed away, she left behind 7 kids. The oldest 21 and the youngest is about 9. Dottie is my hero. She was a trooper. I cannot even begin to tell you how bravely she fought. How in spite of her illness that lasted years, she accomplished more than most stay at home moms I know who are perfectly well. Despite having become a paraplegic due to a surgery gone bad, she never made excuses. She drove here kids to school in special van. Fred put ramps in their home so she could get around. They took control of what they could and moved on.

There is Grace. A friend from high school who just finished her 12th chemo session. I’ve got her permission to share her blog. If you don’t know her, it might not make much sense, but her postings are pretty hilarious. Judging from her writing, you would never guess she was in real pain. She tells of her experiences with a lot of humor. I hope I can laugh in the face of adversity.

My point – to gain control of your life… you have to accept that you can control it. No more pity parties. Let’s stop worrying about the things we can’t control, and focus on what we can.

The economy seems to be the biggest thing on people’s mind lately. I know I think about it. I wonder about some of the choices I made over the years and sometimes second guess myself as to whether or not I did the right thing. But then… I catch myself. Who cares about the past. It is done. The only thing that matters is the present, and the future.

I love this quote from Kung-Fu Panda…

Yesterday is history…Tomorrow is a mystery…

but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.

So what about you? Do you accept the fact that you are in control of certain aspects of your life? That you are living the life you deserve? This is the first step in getting control of your life. Believing that you can… and more importantly… that you will…. step up to the plate, and gain control of the portions of your life that you can.

Journal Assignment:

Complete the following thoughts…

  1. I am committed to changing my life because…
  2. I feel that I have no control over my life when…
  3. The things I have control over are… be specific. As an example… don’t just write, my attitude. What you need to put down is something like… My attitude when so-and-so or such-and-such thing happens to me.
  4. End the Journal with some positive affirmations such as I believe that I can control key aspects of my life.

If you need to journal over a couple of sessions… go for it.

All the best,
All the time,