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This Superpower Changes Everything

What if you focused on only the things you can control?

A few months ago, I woke up to a new policy change: My research data had been moved to a secure location. Access to the data would now require a fee. How much was that fee? A few thousand dollars!!! My own data? Data my team painstakingly abstracted from the medical record? Yes, that data was now conveniently locked behind a paywall. What? I was good and mad! I stormed. I raged. I spoke choice words. Whenever anyone asked me, I was snarky and bitter. (In fact, writing about it now makes my blood boil). I felt so powerless, I didn't know what to do. I found myself stuck in a loop -- I was mad. But the angrier I became, the more I talked about it; and the more I talked about it, the angrier I became. I (and apparently many others) had experienced an injustice; and it was time to let "them" have it.

Fortunately, I calmed down long enough to remember advice from my father: He said that if someone came out of the blue and slapped me (yes, he said slap), instead of getting angry, I was to retrace my steps to understand how I came to be in that position. And then, I was to mark that position and do everything in my power to never be found there again. In essence, instead of blaming others for my misfortune, I was to find what I could control and take control of it. I still take his words to heart today -- What are the things that I control?

Now, there are many things in life we don't control (like a ridiculous policy change that costs me money). But there are many more things that we do. Unfortunately, our hyper focus on what we don't control keeps us feeling overwhelmed. It also robs us of the ability to do the things we actually control. It is like superman's kryptonite. The more time we spend on the things we don't control, the more we are robbed of our superpower. If we are to succeed, this kryptonite is to be avoided.

On the Clinician Researcher podcast, Season 2 Episode 16, we explore an untapped superpower -- your ability to focus on only what you control. In particular, we discuss the following: 

  1. You control your will: Distinguish between what you control (your will) vs. what you don't (other people's choices).

  2. You control your thoughts: Like mine, your thoughts may frequently spiral out of control into dark places. However, you can catch those runaway thoughts and bring them back to obey truth -- that you can and will succeed.

  3. You control how you spend your time: Unless you delegate it to someone else, you choose how you spend your daily 24.

  4. You control what time in the day you stop working. No one can make you work longer than you want to. You choose when your day starts and when it stops. 

  5. You control what gets put on your schedule. You decide whether your schedule is open or closed. You decide which meetings to accept and which to decline

I invite you to divide a piece of paper into two. On one side, list the things in your life that you control. On the other side, list the things you don't control. Then, tear off the side with the list of things you don't control and rip it to shreds. Decide this week to focus exclusively on only those things you control. 

What if, you were hyper focused on doing only the things you actually control? 

How much more productive might you be? 

How much more energy would you have for the things that actually matter to you?

Decide today to tap into your superpower of focusing on only what you control.

🎙️ News you can use:

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