We’re all familiar with the COVID-19 outbreak which spread like wildfire, causing us to be locked in our houses and locked out of the world.
Now, on any other day, an unprecedented holiday would be welcome. We’d take any chance to use a holiday to do the things that we love doing, or simply lazing around. However, being forced to be cooped up in our homes with everyone else can feel restricting, even during uncontrollable circumstances.
Control. The word control refers to power over circumstances or over people. But, what happens when we are faced with circumstances wildly out of our control? This quarantine, I learnt to deal with life when the unpredictable happens.
When the going gets tough and the odds are stacked against us, it’s easy to feel like we have no power over our lives. It may even feel like you’re a speck of dust that simply floats in the air with no direction in mind. When you feel this way, think again. Yes, we may have no control over the current circumstances but what nobody or nothing can ever take away is our ability to choose, to actively make a decision.
When we become aware of this choice, good things happen. Often, we give up our control to our own lives by thinking we have no hand in what happens to us. The mere awareness and realization that I am the master of my life & my choices can be relieving.
Author and businessman Stephen Covey takes the idea of control one step further. He created the tool of ‘Circle of Influence and Control’ which is to look at all the things that worry you, to help you understand what lies in your power.
Let’s try this out. On a piece of paper, make a circle titled ‘concern’ and list of all the things that worry you. Your worries could be big or small, all the things you find yourself thinking about. This circle of ‘concern’ consists of many things that are in and outside of our influence; like the weather or the economy. They are – simply put – your concerns.
Once you’re done, on another part of your piece of paper draw a circle titled ‘control‘. Unlike the areas of concern, this circle of ‘control’ has all the things that you can actively influence & control. What should you be adding here? It’s important to understand that in our control are all our personal factors. The way I perceive things, the way I feel and the way I react. So, while you & I may be concerned about the current situation, we can only choose to control how we react, how we see it; and that is what is in our control. Now, step back and look and all the things that are in and out of our power.
As people, we often end up expending precious energy focusing on those things that are simply out of our influence. Instead, looking at the other side of this coin will enable you to make effective changes. Knowing how far our control stretches and that we’re not powerless in any situation is the first step to increasing personal effectiveness.
Whatever it is that you have gone through or are still in the throes of, I urge you to actively make a choice, to choose to see it as a glass-half-full situation. Let’s use this time to reflect on who we are.
Stay safe out there.