Want To Be Happy And More Successful? Accept You Control Nothing
The past few days I’ve been putting out fires like a maniac.
I started conducting my new online course, helping new students, and keeping up with my own content schedule here on Medium.
It’s led to 12 hour days, massive burnout, and a headache the size of Montana.
The work itself isn’t destroying me, it’s just the worrying..
The constant worrying in the back of my mind that my course content isn’t up to par.
What if the students don’t get results?
What if they stop publishing content?
What if I’m missing something in this lesson?
The reality is a lot of my students are doing SO, SO WELL, but being an OCD INFJ means I constantly worry about things.
I finally came to a realization today that changed everything for me.
I control jack shit.
In an instant my shoulders lowered, my breathing settled, and my mind became more clear.
Chasing Perfection Causes Stress
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
Recently I’ve been obsessed with perfection. I want my course lessons to be perfect. I want the videos to be perfect. I want my responses in the Slack Channel to be perfect.
When they aren’t perfect, I kind of feel like it’s the end of the world.
Like I’m a bad instructor or I really don’t know what I’m talking about.
I’m chasing perfection.
The reality is perfectionism just means you’re trying to control absolutely everything.
When things fall out of line for me, I get stressed out — and when I get stressed out, I become unhappy.
Even now, as I write this article, I’m trying to get this done by a certain time.
The reality is nothing’s perfect.
And when you realize that it’s okay to not be perfect — stress fades into the background and happiness may take its place.
Real Life Is Messy As Hell
I used to hate watching the Ravens play back in the mid 2000’s (I’m from Baltimore, baby). Every time we’d eek out a win because of our defense, our head coach or quarterback would always get on a mic and say something like..
“A win’s a win.”
It used to really piss me off. Why not win with some dominance? Why not spank the other team by 40? How about that?
But looking back now I realize what they were saying.
Football games get messy. Game plans get ruined, players get hurt, adjustments get made.
There’s mud and bruises and wind interference on field goal attempts.
From the moment each team comes out of the tunnel, things go A LOT differently than they planned.
Most of the time, the team that comes out the other side is the one who has the most poise.
The one who was most prepared for resistance.
The same is true in life.
I can’t control when things will go wrong. I can’t control whether my students will decide to complete a lesson (or Module).
All I can do is listen to feedback and adjust the lessons accordingly. All I can do is LEARN for now. I have to accept this “game” is going to be messy.
Don’t Make Problems That Don’t Exist Yet
“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
The other thing that worrying does is create problems that aren’t there. I’m scared about a lot of things.
I’m waiting for a couple things to happen, actually— but none of my fears have materialized yet.
LET ME REPEAT: Literally none of what I’ve been worrying about has actually happened.
So why am I wasting energy on these thoughts?
It sounds like such an obvious thing, but a slight shift in perspective can change everything.
Focusing On What Actually Matters Will Make You More Successful
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie ten Boom
The most powerful part of accepting you have no control is the ability to now focus on all the right things.
Instead of diverting brain power towards problems that don’t exist, you’re now ready to go on offense and improve yourself/your work.
It feels like a small change, but the impact is astronomical.
When it gets bad, I spend literal hours checking and re-checking myself to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything when it comes to my courses/writing.
What if I spent those hours writing a new blog post or improving my course instead?
The answer is I’d be even more dominant/on top of everything.
I urge you to do the same.
Want to build an audience of your own on Medium? I have a free 5-day email course called “Your First 1,000 Medium Followers” that will teach you how I did it! Sign up for it right here.