Control & Choice are two of the most important perceptions in your life that, when understood and blended into your every day, help to bring you happiness and contentedness.
Inspired by the wonderfully insightful book The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, this short reflection on the importance of control and choice is designed to help you think about where you are today and where you would like to be, in feeling in control and making appropriate choices in your life.
A good starting point in your journey of taking control and benefiting from the space and time this presents to you, is to free yourself from things that don’t matter. There are so many things in our lives that we feel compelled to say yes to: Our family demands our time, energy and attention; We say yes to appointments with friends that sometimes we’d rather not go to; We wish to please and appease, so we continually say yes, before understanding fully how this will impact on how we feel and our capacity to attend to what’s most important.
Feel free to say no. It’s not spurning others, or saying they aren’t worthy of your attention and time. If you are clear, concise and communicate without excuse, you will help the other person(s) to see the real reasons behind your decision. Begin by being honest with yourself and then convey this honesty, without excuses, to the outside world.
It’s not easy in the beginning. If you are very ‘British’ you will likely not enjoy saying no as you may have been programmed that this indicates and feels as though you are letting others down. However, you are most likely to be letting yourself down and that is even worse. Remember the pre-flight instructions from the airlines, “fit your own oxygen mask, before attending to others”. If you aren’t being honest and fair to yourself, then you certainly aren’t being the best you for others.
“Our reasoning can take crooked, overwhelming and confusing influences and make them orderly…” say Holiday and Hanselman. It’s vital to take the time to reflect before giving away your control and when choosing your decisions. Those who jump straight in without real consideration of the consequences, leave themselves open to uncertainty, chaos and high risk of dis-ease.
“Serenity and stability are the results of choices and judgment and not your environment”, they continue. Happiness and control in your life comes from an understanding that choices are yours, not others’. How others react, is their reaction and not yours.
If you always communicate and live with good intention at all times, focusing on control and choice, you can be sure that any outcomes are what they should be… honest, authentic and true.