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Only Concern Yourself With What You Can Control

Posted by on Jun 8, 2011

I was on a roll last week. After reading a post on Ileane’s Basic Blog Tips I was inspired to write a post titled Is Your Work Worth Nothing. It seems that, for this person, just because he didn’t understand something he felt it prudent that the people doing SEO work for him should be paid based on results and not based on the fact that they did the work. Of course when I asked him if he wanted to be paid that way he said no, but that SEO work is different; no it’s not.

My comments on that post and then my post here got me an invite to write a guest post for Ileane, which I’ll do when asked, and I came up with one I called 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People. That post got a lot of responses, and I appreciate everyone who participated; it was a lot of fun. And I didn’t gripe about anything I haven’t griped about here every once in awhile, but it ended up being a pretty long post; I’m glad Ileane was okay with that.

I had been on a pattern of criticism, all of which started with how my grandmother was treated while a patient in the hospital. Oh, people were nice, but overall competence wasn’t up to standard; being a health care consultant, I know. I even wrote a small bit of that criticism here.

Funny thing about criticism; once you’ve opened up your eye and started looking for things that aren’t going well, you get really good at it, focused on it, and suddenly all it seems you’re seeing is incompetence everywhere. And man, it’s easy to find. It’s a place that’s easy to get into, but in the long run it might not be all that much fun.

Hence, the day after writing that post, being on Twitter and complaining about the weather. Yeah, the weather. lol In central New York, it’s like we jumped from winter to summer and totally skipped spring except for the rainy part. The temperature hit 92° (33C), and I’m sorry but that’s just way too hot for me. It was already over 80° around 9:30, and I was griping about that as well because I had hoped to cool the house off before it got really hot.

That’s when one of my online friends, Shirley George Frazier of Solo Business Marketing said: “Concentrate on the things you can control, and the rest will fall in line”. Goodness, what a thing to say to me at that moment. She hadn’t known what I’d been going through and what I’d been like, yet it was a very timely statement. I needed to see it and hear it; heck! Of course, being cool, I wrote back with “You mean I can’t control the weather?” She wrote back “Controlling the weather — something to add to your wish list!”

Funny lady, but the point was taken. It’s easy to complain about things, but harder to think about those things that we could actually do something about. There were a lot of things I was complaining about that I actually did something about, but others that I knew there wasn’t anything I could do. In an odd way I didn’t get all that depressed about any of it, but I also wasn’t as content and happy as I could have been, as I had been before my grandmother got hurt.

An important lesson for those of us who blog is to not get so into complaining about things that we don’t try to fix and resolve what we can. For all the complaints I wrote in the post on Ileane’s blog, I could control only what I do on my blog, and I don’t do any of the things I find irritating. For what happened to my grandmother I had a meeting with a representative at the hospital, and so far have also ended up talking to a couple of department directors on how things could have been improved. I feel good about that because I know that everything I say, if they fix it, will help the next patient that they encounter.

If you’re going to complain, do something about it as well; otherwise, maybe channel those thoughts towards something more positive. I think I can say that most of the time when I complain about something I’m also about to do something about it as well, or have done something about it, like when I talked about our smartphone issues. Are you making sure you’re doing something about those things that irritate you? Are some of those things on this tolerations list (it’s a pdf)?

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Very smart woman this Shirley George Frazier (the link to her site is not working though). People who concentrate on what they can control tend to be more content with their lives. I know in doing something about a problem is far more satisfying than griping about it and doing nothing.

It is so easy to spiral into the negative and stay there. Sometimes a simple gesture is all one needs to put us back on the right track.

June 8th, 2011 | 2:53 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Scott, I’ve linked to her website instead, since she told me she’s having problems with her blog right now.

And that negative thing is just so powerful, isn’t it? That’s why I’m glad to see the positive stuff you’re doing next weekend against cancer.

June 8th, 2011 | 4:53 PM

You are so right. We can either sink or we can soar (or at least stay on an even keel). We’re going to get better results and feel better if we stay positive and we help make the world a better place if we work to change things for the better.

Tossing It Out

June 8th, 2011 | 8:14 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Lee. As I said, I think it’s really easy to be negative, but none of us are afraid of a bit of hard work, right? 😉

June 8th, 2011 | 8:22 PM

I am in line with you, Mitch. Thinking in positive way is the only key. I will just stop complaining and get things done by putting my best effort on the work I do.

June 8th, 2011 | 9:54 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

At least you can do the best you can, Andrew; that’s all anyone can ever ask for.

June 9th, 2011 | 8:21 AM

You can’t control what others do or day, you can only control your reaction to them. Keep a cool head and try to understand where they’re coming from, but if you can’t just respect their opinions and move on. Don’t take on their negativity, drop it at your feet!

June 9th, 2011 | 2:57 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Good stuff Jenny; I like this.

June 9th, 2011 | 8:24 AM

I love this post so much because it’s very meaningful.Concern yourself with what you can control,it reminds me that I should only take care of what I can do and know who I am in this world.

June 9th, 2011 | 3:33 AM
Bryan S:

You’re right Haley. We have the same thoughts. If somebody ask me a question like above “Is your work worth nothing”. Maybe my answer is no because in my part I trying to work hard to make it worthy.

June 9th, 2011 | 5:22 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Haley; I hope people see it as something that’s possible for them to do.

June 9th, 2011 | 8:25 AM

I think that everybody can be controlled to some extends. Knowledge and personal abilities, also must not forget the we are humans and we get tired or we are not in mood. SEO is not different than any other work. If the work is done properly, results are there, so payment and the end of the month always come. However, I like this post, it is full of meaning.

June 9th, 2011 | 7:29 AM
Susane D:

This reminded me of the “7 Habits Of Highly Successful People” – Covey was preaching something similar there, to stay within the “circle of influence”….So true…

June 9th, 2011 | 4:42 PM

Nice one Mitch, inspiring and enlightening. It is like, we can’t control how people thinks about our action. What we can control is our own action.

June 9th, 2011 | 9:11 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Definitely Ron. Even control freaks like myself had big lessons to learn, and for the most part I got this one down… for the most part that is. lol

June 10th, 2011 | 6:42 AM

Hi Mitch, all too often people can fall into the trap of criticism (almost like tunnel vision) and lose site of the big picture. A step back sometimes is needed to evaluate what we can and cannot fix in order to make a situation better.

June 9th, 2011 | 11:07 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Exactly Casi, and sometimes it takes hearing from someone else to put you back into the proper mindset.

June 10th, 2011 | 6:43 AM

Hey Mitch! I hope that your Grand-Mom is doing better. She is a blessing.
And she is also very blessed to have someone like you stand up for her.
In my dealings with hospitals and other care facilities over the last 15 years I’ve learned a very important lesson. Many of the staff are over-worked and some can become irresponsible at times. You see, my Dad was bed-ridden for 10 years before he passed away and he was hospitalized many times during that time period. I’ve seen some of the worse nurses and doctors and I’ve seen some of the absolute best! Even the best will pay more attention to patients that have loved ones who care enough to visit and express concern.
Remember, doctors and nurses are only human, and they can make mistakes too – so ask questions! But if you really want to make sure your loved one is getting special attention – show up with that beautiful smile of yours. Ask the nurses if they need help, and show your appreciation (even when they suck) tell them what a great job they’re doing. Even make friends with the orderly that comes to clean the room and give him some praise too. If there was ever a time to “brown-nose” this is it. It can go a long way toward improving the overall level of patient care and attention she gets.

June 10th, 2011 | 2:01 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s not bad advice, Ileane. I can’t say that I went in being overly nice but I was never mean, even though I did kind of throw around my weight, in a nice way of course, when I felt it was needed. It’s just amazing what you start to see when you’re on the other side of things; I’m fairly appalled across the board. I’m not even sure the nursing home is all that much better yet; the jury is still out.

June 10th, 2011 | 4:38 PM

My husband says this to me all the time, well not in the same words but along the same lines. I stress about everything it’s just something I do. He on the other hand is the opposite, it drives me nuts. Makes sense though, you can’t control the weather so why be upset about it. Thanks for sharing 🙂

June 11th, 2011 | 10:47 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

No problem Lynda. I just can’t deal with stress like that all the time; I had to try to teach my mother to stop doing that as well.

June 12th, 2011 | 1:59 AM

Well, I agree that its easy to criticism but difficult to come out for a change or even stand out of the crowd.
We can’t stop criticism, we can’t make everyone doing things up to standard. But we can put our share in overall progress and well being of this Universe!

June 12th, 2011 | 12:56 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Exactly Maqsood; I think we at least should give it our best shot.

June 13th, 2011 | 1:35 AM

Hi Mitch, you’re so on point about the need to only mind the business that falls within one’s control. This is especially important for people that get overtly worked up at a thousand and one ways that things in their environments are not working.

That often leads them to depression that could have easily be avoided simply by practicing what you just blogged about here. It’s not easy to get in that habit but with constant practice, it’s possible.

Thanks for driving the point home with your own personal experiences.

June 13th, 2011 | 5:02 AM

I don’t worry too much about things that are out of my control Mitch, I used to but I learned after much angst that it just wasn’t worth while. Sure it bothers me sometime when I can’t do certain things or influence others but not for as long as it used to.

June 13th, 2011 | 9:39 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Sire, truth be told I was better at this type of thing when I was younger than I am these days, so I have to constantly remind myself of it. That’s a shame, but I guess it is what it is.

June 13th, 2011 | 11:51 PM

Just think…you may have prevented the next Grandma from having a similar incident in the future by bringing the hospital’s attention to the issues. Constructive criticism is always a great thing to get and the receiver shouldn’t take it the wrong way. Most of the time it is a blessing that someone is willing to go out of their way to steer you in a better direction.

Hope she’s doing well!

June 15th, 2011 | 11:15 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Melinda. Unfortunately she’s not doing all that well, so it’s just a matter of time.

June 15th, 2011 | 9:54 PM