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Episode 281 of 370

The Power of What We Can Control – TPW281

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station description Productivity, Time Management, and Organization for Busy Women (and men)
The Productive Woman
Duration: 36:21
When it comes to making a meaningfully productive life, there is incredible power in focusing on the things we can control.



Focusing on what we can control

I've been reading a couple of books lately that have in different ways talked about how important our mindset is in accomplishing anything.
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When it comes to making a meaningfully productive life, there is incredible power in focusing on the things we can control.



Focusing on what we can control

I've been reading a couple of books lately that have in different ways talked about how important our mindset is in accomplishing anything. One of them is a book by Ryan Holiday called The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph. In this week's episode, I want to share some key reminders from this book (and others) that I've been pondering and trying to put into practice.

For some of us, a lot of productive time is lost to either worrying about or fighting against situations and circumstances, real, imagined, or anticipated. I’ve been known to get myself worked up into tears or anger over something that hasn’t happened yet but might or things that have happened already and can’t be changed.

For example...

How someone might react to something I said or did or am thinking of saying or doing.

How someone has reacted to something I said or did (or didn’t say or do, but they think I did).

Neither of those is something I can do anything about, so spending a lot of time thinking about them will not help me be more productive or happier.

We face obstacles and challenges - health, other people’s expectations, lack of funds, full-time job plus parenting, physical or health limitations, crises affecting us or the people we love, a difficult upbringing - and it might seem impossible. But consider developing the mindset of looking for any thing we can do, no matter how small. We can’t control our circumstances, or other people, or so many other things, but we can either use our energy to fight against the things outside our control or to look, on purpose, for something we can do . . . and then do it.

It's easy to want to give up, and if our attention is on the things we can’t control we likely will give up. We certainly won’t make any progress at all.

Attitudes and ideas to keep in mind


* What matters more than our circumstances is our perception of them.


Two people with the same circumstances may have two very different experiences, based entirely on how they perceive the situation.

We are wired to find evidence for what we believe. If we believe we are powerless, we’ll find evidence to support that belief. If we believe we can make a difference, we’ll find evidence to support that belief.

Life coach Brooke Castillo points out that our feelings are generated, not by the circumstances around us, but by what we think about those circumstances.

“You will come across obstacles in life-fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure.”
~ Ryan Holiday in The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph


I am trying hard to learn this lesson. My initial reaction to the unexpected challenge often is not to keep my composure. Even though I’ve learned through hard experience that freaking out, especially over things I can’t control, never helps and usually makes things worse.

“Too often we react emotionally, get despondent, and lose our perspective. All that does is turn bad things into really bad things.”
~ Ryan Holiday in The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
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