One of my all-time favorite episodes from Seinfeld. I’m constantly uttering this exclamation. Both tongue-in-cheek and in actual practice.
One of the surest ways to serenity for me is via focusing only upon that which I can exert any control. For me, there is no sense in getting mad at the nightly news, at the virus, at people’s reactions (and often overreactions) to it, at unforeseen market moves, at the weather, or at people losing control of their trucks and smashing into your house. I have no say in how these events play out on a macro or global scale.
The only thing I can control is my reaction to and perception of people/places/things/events.
Instead of getting emotional, I need to get inquisitive. (This market move is bad for my position. Why? How does this instruct my next move? How quickly do I need to act?)
Instead of getting upset, I need to focus on the positive. (Wow, a lot of damage was done here, but at least nobody was hurt. We’re all safe and everything broken can and will be replaced thanks to our insurance).
Instead of getting angry, I need to channel that energy into productivity. (No sense in saying something I’ll regret in the heat of the moment. Go take the dog for a walk and swing by the post office to pick up those packages I’ve been putting off).
Instead of lethargy, I need to recognize my body’s need for calm and introspection. (I’m exhausted, but don’t let that be an excuse for me to plop down in front of the TV. Instead, I should pick up a book. Or meditate for 5 minutes. Or write in my journal. Or call a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time).
When I channel my thoughts and energies into only the things upon which I have any chance of exerting control, so much more gets done — better, faster, stronger. All that other stuff that I can’t control only serves as distraction and soul-sucking drama.