Control What You Can

Everything that happens in your life can be divided into two groups: Those things you can control and those you cannot. Take control of your money or your money will control you. Worrying about things beyond your control is simply counterproductive. Focus on those things under your influence.

What can you control?

  1. Your decisions. At the end of the day, you make up your own mind. You decide what to eat, to whom you’ll speak, and the direction of your life. If you fail to make decisions, you’re deciding to let the world determine your fate.
  2. Your emotions. You can choose whether you’ll stay calm or become upset. Life is harder if you can’t control your emotions.
  3. Your attitude. Do you choose to be optimistic or pessimistic? Your attitude influences your thoughts and emotions – and ultimately your actions.
  4. Your perspective. Are you a failure stuck in an unwinnable situation? Or are you a winner in a tough, but manageable situation? Do you believe there are golden opportunities to be found in the midst of your challenges? Which perspective would be more likely to support you in your endeavors?
  5. Your creativity. Are you going to repeat the same patterns that have resulted in the current situation? Or are you taking full advantage of your ability to solve problems and create new, exciting results?

Make a list of everything in your life that’s disagreeable to you. Make note of all the things out of your control and decide not to let them intrude on your thoughts. Put your time and focus on the things within your sphere of control. Ignore those things you can’t influence.

Intelligent Action

Most of us take action. However, do we choose the wisest action for the situation? Intelligent action can only result from accurate perception. It’s only through taking consistent, intelligent actions that obstacles are dismantled. Intelligent action often requires courage, because the most effective actions are rarely the easiest.

Get Started

Theodore Roosevelt said that we either wear out or rust out. Getting busy is important. You can’t think an obstacle away. You have to start somewhere, so get started. Often, the best solutions won’t present themselves until you make a few efforts.

You can only make progress if you’re doing something:

  1. Realize that getting started is often the hardest part. Whether it’s cleaning out the shed, doing your income taxes, or solving world hunger, nothing happens until you take action. In most cases, sooner is better than later.
  2. Keep moving. How many times have you started with great enthusiasm, only to quit after a short period? A little progress can be a dangerous thing. It’s easy to become excited after taking those first few steps, but overcoming obstacles requires ongoing effort.
  • Do something each day to move beyond your challenge. Once you have a small amount of momentum, avoid allowing it to slip away. Keep pressing.
  • Keep thinking while you’re moving. You can walk and chew gum at the same time. You can think and plan while you’re taking action.
  1. Increase your effort. It’s easy to be busy and get little accomplished. Look around your workplace. Most employees have the routine down to a science. Keep your head down, shuffle some papers, check email while no one is watching, and wait for 5 o’clock.
  • When did you last put your best effort into anything? We’re so used to operating at 10%, we’ve forgotten what 100%, or even 50%, feels like anymore.
  • Providing you’re taking intelligent action, an increase in effort will increase your results proportionately.
  1. Understand that the circumstances will never be perfect. There will always be some aspect of the current situation that’s less than ideal. The fact that you’re not 100% ready isn’t a viable excuse for failing to take action

Momentum is self-created. Get started so you can get finished.

“Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.” – Charles Stanley

It’s Intelligent Action if It’s Effective

Deal with reality. There’s no value in getting caught up in what should work. Intelligent action is effective action. If your action isn’t creating results, it’s not intelligent action. Preoccupy yourself with what’s working, not what should be working. Be practical.

These strategies will help you to determine what action is intelligent action and move forward accordingly:

  1. Measure your results. The best way to determine if an action is intelligent is to measure your results regularly. You might be on the “perfect” weight-loss diet according to experts, but if you’re gaining weight, it’s not an intelligent diet for you.
  • Would you follow a diet without weighing yourself? Avoid taking actions and ignoring the outcomes.
  1. Enhance your actions. Your first action might be effective, but is it as effective as it could be? It almost certainly isn’t. Continue testing and refining as you go along. Keep in mind that conditions change. Even if you were fortunate enough to find the perfect process, it won’t be perfect for long.
  • Seek regular improvement along the way. This is the only way to guarantee overcoming any obstacle.
  1. Be flexible. Focus on being pragmatic instead of clinging to a particular course of action. A straight line might be the shortest path, but sometimes it’s easier to go around the mountain than through it. Be committed to your objective, but flexible in your approach.
  • Hold to your principles and ideals, but be creative and flexible in the method you follow. Progress is more important than perfection.
  1. Look for clues. Has anyone else successfully overcome the same obstacle? How did they accomplish it? Examine your own past. We often repeat our mistakes. Imagine the change you’d experience in your life if you never made the same mistake twice. Look for clues that will enhance your approach.

Intelligent action is action that creates results. It’s that simple. No obstacle can stand up to persistent and intelligent action.

“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.” – Orison Swett Marden   

Are you ready to turn your money obstacles into opportunities, if so let’s chat.