A lot of us get stuck because we focus on things that are outside of our control. The more we do this, the more disempowered we are, and the more frustrated or disappointed or angry or anxious we feel.

In contrast, the more we focus on what’s in our control, the more empowered we are; we can actually do something useful.

So here are some ideas to help you get clearer about what definitely is not in our control, and what isn’t, in our control, and what potentially is:

Outside My Control

  • Vast majority of my emotions & feelings
  • Vast majority of my thoughts
  • Vast majority of my sensations
  • My memories
  • Whether or not I achieve my goals
  • How good I feel when doing what I do
  • What other people say and do
  • How others perceive my motivations
  • How others judge or perceive me
  • What happens in the future
  • What happened in the past
  • Inevitable painful losses in life
  • Whether or not life gives me what I want
  • The inevitability of ageing, illness and injury

Within My Control (Potentially)

  • How I respond to my emotions & feelings
  • How I respond to my thoughts
  • How I respond to my sensations
  • How I respond to my memories
  • How much action I take towards my goals
  • How much I focus on & engage in what I do
  • What I say and do to influence other people
  • How much I use my values for motivation
  • Whether or not I act like the sort of person I want to be
  • What I say and do to influence the future
  • How I respond to thoughts about the past
  • Being self-compassionate when losses occur
  • The values I live by, whether or not life gives me what I want
  • How I take care of and look after myself

Note the very important word “potentially.”

If we’re on auto-pilot, being jerked around by our thoughts and feelings, we’re not likely to be able to exert control in these areas. 

But if we are mindful – that is self-aware, present, engaged in what we are doing, able to let our thoughts and feelings flow through us without getting hooked by them – then we can exert control in these areas.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list; I’m sure you can think of other things to add on both sides. However, it’s a good start. So if you want to empower yourself, then get mindful and focus on the stuff within your control.

Good luck!

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