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What Do We Control (DOA2)

There is a common saying … “don’t worry about what you can’t control.” Though a common saying, I would argue it is not really followed. Most of us routinely stress about things we have no control over, and conversely don’t fully invest in what we do control.

I have come to realize we actually control very little. And as I try to do when I am changing my mindset, I create a tagline to reference when I find myself straying from my desired “new state of mind.” I have tried diligently to abide by the noted saying, and not worry about what I can’t control, but over time I found there is more depth to that saying.

It is born from those thoughts that I created the tagline (as an acronym) DOA2. This tagline reflects what I believe can actually be controlled by an individual. That includes, exclusively, our respective Decisions, Opinions, Attitude and Actions.

Going a little deeper, we can control our individual Decisions, but not the ramifications; our respective Opinions, but not necessarily their accuracy; our Attitude, but not the actual situation; and our Actions, but not the subsequent results.

I submit that beyond those four, we may be able to influence things, including our children, but not actually control anything. We may have more influence over those closest to us, or who work for us, but it is merely a level of influence. We try to increase that influence by instilling discipline by fear or respect, but there are limitations. And those who are further removed, we have less influence.

If this tenant is applied, then there is a trace to how you got to where you are, and whether it is good or bad (attitude) and then what actions you have to take to get to where you want to be. You have defined the circumstance (opinion) and based on your attitude and opinion, decisions will be made today and in the future.

Additionally, if you accept the limitations of what you control and influence, you are better served to making changes to yourself before you invest so heavily in trying to change your spouse, for example.

This boils down to some basic precepts - check your attitude, formulate opinions, make decisions and take action. Afterwards, deal with the circumstance that you created. Because, at the end of the day, there is not much more we can actually do.

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