Column: Control what you can 


If you feel like you’re in a slow-motion movie, join the crowd. It’s a good time to be reminded that the only thing you can control is yourself.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, there was a description of a man who wrote down everything frustrating him that he couldn’t control. Then he threw it away. He posted the things that he could control where he would see it daily. Then he focused on improving those relationships, what he eats and how much money he spends. It’s not surprising that he began to feel better about himself and the spinning world around him.

Remember when we used to talk about someone having will power? Victorians called it character building. Look around and identify people you admire and who exhibit the values you cherish. Put them in the front of your mind when you’re feeling low. How do you think they manage to persevere?

Different jobs call for different adjustments to our behavior. I recall counseling a young lady who aspired to be in broadcasting that it was time for her to lose her “baby voice” and to sound like a seasoned broadcaster by emulating that voice until she had mastered it. Sometimes, surrounding ourselves with the right tools leads to satisfaction.

A friend passed along an article about the key to Iceland residents’ long, improbable survival. They credit books. This is a country with a 100 percent literacy rate and that publishes the most books per capita of any nation. They believe that you don’t feel starving or in pain if you have a book. That’s why the topic of our retirement community’s next Conversation Club meeting is to share your favorite book while you were in quarantine.

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