5. Don’t worry about what you can’t control.
When the doctors informed us that they found a defect in our baby’s brain we were shocked. Furthermore, we didn’t know anything about this rare defect, and its symptoms. The first thing we did was to search the internet for information, and learn about it as much as possible. It wasn’t just curiosity, it was necessary for us to prepare ourselves for what’s coming.
It turns out that this brain defect, agenesis of the corpus callosum, has many possible symptoms. And yet, not all of them are present in every child with this condition. There is a relatively wide range of cases, from very light to very severe. Furthermore, you can’t know in advance, which of these symptoms will occur with your child.
So, the doctors recommended to that we talk with other parents of children with agenesis of the corpus callosum. They thought that it would be good for us to know what to expect in several years down the road. We chose to take a different approach.
We decided to just focus on the present, on the symptoms we can see today. Not to worry about what will happen in five or ten years from now, not even a year from now. It wasn’t a denial mechanism. It was a survival mechanism.
Dealing with the current situation was hard enough. It requires every bit of energy, mental resilience, and patience that we have. We can’t afford to waste any of it on things that are not productive, nor help us deal with the present challenges. Wasting time and energy on things we can’t control is a huge distraction. It can lead to further delays in our daughter’s development, and risk her future.
The same applies for anyone, both in their personal life, and at work.
Since it’s impossible to predict the future, nor to know for sure what challenges you may face, there is no point of worrying about it. You can’t control it, nor change it. You can only influence what is in front of you now, in present time.
It’s not to say that you should not have a long-term goal or vision in life. Quite the opposite. And yet, as you work towards achieving your long-term goals, focus on what you need to do today to advance these goals, and in particular on actions and decisions that you can directly affect. Things you can control.
For example, you can control your actions, choices, behavior, and response to events. On the other hand, you cannot control how others will feel, think, or respond to your actions.
In our case, we could control how we responded to the information we received about our daughter’s condition. We can focus on dealing with her current symptoms, giving her all the treatments she needs to help her develop. And yet, we can’t fully control the pace of her development (as much as we would like to), or how other people choose to treat her, accept and include her.
Therefore, the best approach is to assess your current situation, and identify what you can control. What you can and should do now that would affect your present objectives, and can have a positive impact on your longer-term goals. Your focus should be on that. Worrying about anything that’s outside of your control is simply a waste of valuable energy. Also, it can be an unwanted distraction from the important job in front of you now.
Lastly, you should only be concerned with doing the best that you can do now. Be the best that you can be today. Doing so will give you a sense of greater control over your life. Because you are focused on things that you can do something about. And having a sense of control over our life is an important factor to our overall happiness.