That’s a basic definition, it’s as basic and undeniably predictable as watching the tide flow in and out on a tranquil beach.
And like it or not, in the grand theatre of life; change is that one constant character you’ll continuously encounter. You can either let it disorient you, or you can lean in and learn to ride the ebb and flow of change, because it is inescapable.
And whether you accept it or not, almost all change is out of your control. Imagine being on a merry-go-round. You’re enjoying the rhythmic ups and downs, but you don’t have the remote to stop or fast forward. Even the most meticulous planner, the one who schedules every minute of every day, faces this reality. Life’s carousel doesn’t have a pause button. It doesn’t check in, asking, “Hey, is this the storyline you wanted today?”
Sure, you can nudge it here and there. You might even sway the direction a bit but ultimately you have less control than you think you have. For instance, you can work hard to get promoted. You go out of your way to find out what your boss needs from you, and then you make sure that happens. You outwork your coworkers, take extra courses that help you move up the corporate ladder, and nail a big promotion.
But as you’re basking in the glory of your achievement and pat yourself on the back for your hard work and how it paid off, there’s a small, sobering thought – the final call wasn’t yours. Your boss, or perhaps someone even higher up, had the final say in whether you got promoted or not. That’s pretty humbling when you think about it.
You see when you reflect on your life, like you’re flipping through the pages of an old photo album, each snapshot represents a moment, you’ll notice something intriguing. Despite all your efforts, intentions, and strategies, you didn’t always have as much influence as you previously thought you did.
The best you can do is work on yourself, your relationships, and your environment to create a favorable reality.
Because life has this uncanny ability to throw curveballs, often when least expected. So, when that unexpected drizzle turns into a torrential downpour, remember your go-to focus point. Ask yourself “What Can I Control?”
Imagine you’re taking a peaceful stroll in a meadow, the sun shines brightly, birds are chirping merrily, and the scent of blooming flowers fills the air. Out of the blue, a brick wall springs up ahead. It wasn’t there, and then it is there. It’s not enormous, only a few metres wide. But instead of walking around it, you repeatedly bump into it, expecting it to move.
This unexpected wall, just like the many hurdles in life, isn’t always within your power to remove. However, what you can control is your response to it. So, claim your sphere of control. Do what you can do, which is to move around the wall and continue your enjoyable walk.
Life will give you a lot of change you’d rather avoid. When this happens, don’t waste a second of your time trying to influence something you have no control over. Determine what you can influence and what you can’t – and accept that.
As you accept what you cannot change, channel the calm, positive energy you now feel into the action you take to turn the unplanned change into the best possible outcome.
Always remember to focus on what you can control when you experience unexpected or challenging change. Engaging with the unstoppable is a futile endeavor. It wastes your time, cranks up your frustration, leads to anxiety and stress, and all of that can be avoided. By focusing on what you can control, accepting the change and working with it, you disarm the impact of the unwelcome change, and move through it swiftly.