As a writer, business executive, speaker, and a success improvement expert, I talk to individuals and business leaders from all over the country. I hear about the good news and the bad news…and guess where most of the discussion is? No matter what their career area is or what business they are in, where it’s located or what size it is, everyone seems focused on how bad things are. It’s the price of oil, the economy, the national debt, unemployment, politics and on and on.
This is both good and bad. Good in that it keeps us on our toes, subconsciously telling ourselves we have to constantly react and improve. Bad because to much negative thinking about what we can’t control saps our energy and our ability to achieve results.
Yes, it is true that some things are not going as well as they once were and yes the recent recession has also amplified some things. But hasn’t this always been the case, hasn’t life and business always been somewhat to very much of a challenge? I can’t ever remember a time when everything was going well, there always were some things that were not going as well as planned, there always were circumstances that we had no control over that, in reality, didn’t really exert that much of an influence on our success, especially if we reacted positively to it.
Should we then be surprised that this is the case today? I don’t think so. The key words here are, “what we can’t control.” I vote for putting a hold on the negative thinking and to turn our attention to the things we can control. In the interest of being able to make a difference, let’s stop focusing on things we have no control over and will never be able to affect.
I remember my father becoming excessively worried over the fact that it was going to rain and fretting about how this would mess up what he was working on (he had a construction business with earthmoving equipment). The problem was that he would focus on whether it would rain or not, something he had no control over, until it made him miserable. What he had control over though (and sometimes focused on) was the things he could do to mitigate the effects of the rain on whatever he was currently doing. I recall, when he did do that, the rain had little to no effect on the ultimate success and timely completion of the job.
Let’s meet the challenge by focusing on those things that we can control, that affect our level of results and our success. And oh, by the way, while the rain was considered to be a negative to him at the moment, in many cases it provided positive effects that actually improved his business.