Focusing on the Things You Can Control

It goes without saying that these are very tough times that we are living in. The whole situation seems so overwhelming that it can be extremely difficult to cope. I, like many others, have been riddled with anxiety and depression. 

“Why won’t people just wear damn masks?!”

“When will I be able to hug my friends and family again?”

“What if I get sick?”

It’s hard not fall into that bottomless pit of hopelessness and despair.

But I’ve been desperately seeking out resources to help calm my mind and bolster my mental state.

One of the biggest tips I found: focus on the things you can control.

I set out to find some project that I could throw myself into and completely control. And so for the last five weeks, I’ve focused on healthy eating and fitness.

I’ve made almost all of my meals from scratch. I’ve avoided added sugar. I’ve cut out sweets and alcohol altogether, I completed a 28-day strength-training challenge and just started a new one. I started hiking again and taking Artie on regular walks.

Not only do I feel the physical benefits of these changes, but from a mental standpoint it feels comforting to have something in my life that I have complete control over. I control whether or not I stay within my daily calorie limit. I control whether or not I get that workout done.

And moreover, I actually get to see the positive results of this hard work, as I witness the numbers on the scale and measuring tape go down.

I realized I can use this same mentality for my career exploration, where I’ve been plagued with worries: 

“Success in a lot of these fields I’m considering is so out of my control.”

“Is anybody actually hiring right now?”

“You can’t guarantee you’ll make money from that.”

So I have to focus on what I can control.

Can I completely control any monetary success from YouTubing? No. But I can still move forward with developing and maintaining a channel. And along the way, I’ll develop useful skills in video production, editing, and community management.

Can I guarantee that I’ll become a working actor? Of course not. But I can continue to find opportunities to improve my craft. I can build my website, create my reel and get new headshots to improve my professional presence.

So instead of obsessing over the end goal that may or may not be attainable — securing that dream job — I’ll focus on those stepping stones that I can control.

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