Although we would like to think we can control what happens to us, or how others behave, in reality the only thing we can control is how we choose to react or respond to life. In The 7 Habits, Sean Covey tells us that, “This is why we have to stop worrying about the things we can’t control and start worrying about the things we can.” We usually don’t get to choose our family, we don’t get to choose where we’re born, or what kind of life we’re born into, but we can control how we respond to that life and what we make of it.
When I read this part I was amazed. It’s so true! Whenever I get into an argument, I want to blame the other person for making me, “so mad.” When in reality I may have felt anger, but it was my choice to stay there. I could have done a million other things instead of festering in my anger and choosing to cause more conflict. I could have tried to understand them, not taken their rude comment personally (maybe they’re going through something or jealous), or just let it roll off my back. Whatever I choose, it is just that, my choice.
Covey recommends a shift in our thinking to be proactive by not worrying about what we can’t control, focusing on our choices, responses and our attitudes (the only things we can control) and moving forward from there.