Controlling the uncontrollable
Sounds like a contradiction right out of the gate, doesn’t it? By definition, uncontrollable circumstances cannot be controlled. For those of us who like to be in charge and know what to expect, it can be pretty frustrating when surprises come along. You can choose to deny or fight the new reality, or you can overcome by controlling how you react to it.
I’ve met a few special people in my life who have overcome tremendous adversity and set a good example for mastering the uncontrollable. First there was W Mitchell, a survivor of multiple accidents that left him scarred and paralyzed. Yet he has pushed forward to accomplish great things, and now travels the world as a speaker sharing his message of resilience, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”
Then there was Kyle Bryant who I shared a stage with at a recent Toastmasters speech contest. He is taking control of his circumstances by riding his recumbent tricycle across the country to raise money for a cure for Friedrich’s Ataxia. His speech touched many hearts that night with the message, “It’s all about how you react to adversity that matters.”
And now the person who hits closest to home… in fact we shared a home for the first 17 years of my life. My brother Jeff is fighting cancer. He has shared with me several times about the hardest part being the uncertainty, not the sickness, of chemotherapy.
Yet I see him bravely taking on each step, actively learning what he needs to learn and maintaining his positive mental attitude to give his immune system as much strength as possible. With each step, he is neutralizing or “mastering” the new reality of what’s coming against him. It is truly something to be admired. I’m not sure how I would do under the same uncontrollable circumstances.
I’ve tried NOT to let myself go down the emotional road of “what if treatment doesn’t work,” and instead focused my efforts on running long country roads to raise money for a cure. I’ve already pushed myself beyond milestones I thought were unreachable for me, and I’ve discovered that there is a lot more under my control than I thought. Maybe this is the lesson I’m supposed to learn.
Are you getting frustrated by surprises that weren’t part of your life plan? Maybe simultaneous scenarios that make it seem like life is spinning out of control? I encourage you to consider these heroes I have met… like W Mitchell, like Kyle Bryant, like Jeff Goad… and ask yourself “Does positive thinking create action, or does action create positive thinking?”
Maybe thinking is not enough. Maybe hoping is not enough. Maybe control comes from taking action, and has been within your power all along.
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