When I was a kid, I was ice skating and remember going really fast. Next thing I recall I was being tended to in the changing room by my sister and employees of the skating center. Apparently I had been going so fast that I lost control, hit my head, and knocked myself unconscious. That incident rendered me fearful of the ice. Fast forward to 2012 when I was discussing this incident with 1994 Olympic speed skating Gold medalist Dan Jansen. He told me, "throw a helmet on and get back out on that ice." His advice was spot on. In the face of fear one must face it rather than avoid it. To ignore that which we're afraid of only gives the fear more power, while facing it will diminish it. This ice skating incident is perhaps a metaphor for other things in life.
What do you do when you feel like you have no control over a situation? Maybe you've had your own ice skating incident or perhaps you've been a passenger in a car with an inexperienced driver. If so, then you know just how out of control it feels when a driver doesn't brake quickly enough as a red light or an obstacle approaches.
Some people live their lives as if they are passengers in an out-of-control car. Rather than doing something to control the situation -- by getting into the driver's seat -- they operate the car as passengers. They attempt to control what is out of their control, rather than what actually is within it.
Here's how you can gain control when you feel like you have none:
- Shift the locus of control. Sometimes it's as simple as recognizing that there are things that you can change and control. What can you actually change? Be realistic. One person can't single handedly change the economy, but, perhaps there are things you can do to ensure you stay financially sound. Such as being a smart consumer, saving, and investing wisely.
Next time you face a situation where you feel that you have no control; take some time to change your thinking. Below are some examples of how to take control. Use them as a guide when you look at your own life.
- Will she agree to have dinner with you? You control: What you wear, what you say to her, how you say it when you make the request, and how you present yourself to her.
So next time you're stuck or feeling like you have no control, ask yourself: What do I actually have control over?
For more tips on improving your life check out my book BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days.