But the truth is, even now, we are all in control.
I remember having sushi with my daughter during her last year of high school. For the first time, she was realizing that the decisions she was making would impact the rest of her life.
“I am just so out of control. I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said.
In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m a know-it-all for a dad. I give my children constant pep talks. I’m sure Kate knew she was in store for another enlightening talk from her old man.
“Let’s take a look around the sushi bar,” I told her. “You are probably in control of something here.”
Kate looked at me quizzically, and then she rolled her eyes. “Yeah Dad, I’m in control of what I order next.”
“You sure are,” I said. “And when you get home tonight, are you in control of anything?”
“I’m in control of whether I study or not,” she said.
We proceeded through a litany of seven or eight things she was in control of, and then I gave her my pep talk. It went something like this:
There will always be things inside and outside your control. The key is to focus on those thins you can control. The others will be what they will be, so there is no reason to focus on them.
Then Kate told me her real concern. “I don’t know if I will get into USC,” she said.
And to some extent, this is out of her control. She cannot control the pool of candidates who compete for a spot at USC. She cannot control the subjective factors the review panel will use to judge her application. But she can control how much she studies and how much community service she packs into her schedule.
And if she doesn’t get into USC, other opportunities will be open for her.
And with that thought, Kate ordered her next piece of sushi.
Today’s Challenge: Make a list of ten things you are in control of. When you are feeling like a thimble in the ocean, grab onto one of those things and take control.