So often I think that if _____ changed, then things would be so much better.
Sometimes the _____ is a person and sometimes a situation.
Can you relate?
You can fill in the blank however you want –
- Bank balance
- The past
- Etc., etc.
The problem with my simple equation that would solve all of the problems is that all of the above are circumstances, outside of myself, and outside of my control.
The reality is that I have no control over any person, any situation outside of myself, or anything that happened in the past.
None of us do.
No matter how hard we try.
Trust me – I wish it weren’t so, so often.
But arguing with reality never gets us anywhere – it just layers a lot of negative emotion on top of an existing situation.
So much better to focus on what we do control.
We can control:
- Our thoughts about our circumstances
- Our feelings (because they come from our thoughts)
- Our actions (because they are fueled by our feelings arising from our thoughts)
We can’t change or control other people or situations, but we can change and control our thoughts about them.
The root cause of all our problems is always what we’re thinking.
Our thoughts create our feelings, which fuel our actions, which lead to our results.
The first step in getting control over our thoughts and turning things around is learning the difference between what’s a circumstance (outside of our control) and what’s a thought (inside our control).
- Court-of-law factual
- Devoid of emotion or descriptive adjectives
- Everyone would agree on them, even in other cultures.
- Change from person to person, culture to culture.
Let me share some examples:
- It’s hot out = Thought
- It’s 90 degrees = Circumstance
If you live in Death Valley, you’re not going to be thinking 90 degrees is a hot day.
- My son is 20 = Circumstance
- My 20-year old son no longer needs me = Thought
- It’s challenging for 40-year-old women to re-enter the workforce = Thought
- I’m 40 years old = Circumstance
The second step, after separating your thoughts from the factual circumstances, is to ask yourself, “Is there another way to see this?”
Challenge your brain to come up with a different perspective.
And that shift in perspective can make all the difference in how you’re experiencing the situation.