Resilience and what you control

Learn to differentiate what we have control over and what we don't.

A surfer retains control of their board
Munich surfer in the English Garden (nowhere near the ocean) Photo by Alistair MacRobert

This is my second post on resilience

Here's the thing. If we organize our attention around constraints, then constraints are all we are going to see. We become paralyzed when every course of action has the appearance of a different set of problems. And often there's much we can't control in any given situation.

Learn to differentiate what we have control over and what we don't.

In a given situation, it can be helpful to list out, in two columns, what we don't control and what we have influence over. In the first column, we might list the global pandemic, sorry state of the economy, a boss's attitude or behavior, institutional BS, budget realities, etc. In the othercolumn, we list things like our own attitude, the priorities that we set for the day, the particulars that we delegate to a team member, or a conversation with a friend.

When focusing on what we control, we begin to see that there are real actions that we can take that are... empowering. They are unlikely to solve the entire problem. Yet, they get us in motion and provide us with a sense of agency. We become more resourceful.

Your turn

Practice this. Consider some situation that you face that seems sketchy. Prepare a piece of paper (or a note on your computer, what is this 2007?) with two columns titled "Out of My Control" and "Under My Influence." Then, simply list as many factors as you can in both columns.

See what possibilities are revealed through this new-found resilience of yours.

#1 tip to build resilience
Your mom likely told you to count to ten before answering or acting emotionally. She was onto something…