Many of the people who enter my therapy office with depression, anxiety, and stress-related issues often have one thing in common—they spend a lot of time focusing on things they can’t control. They worry about what other people think or they waste time imagining catastrophic outcomes, without taking any action.
In addition to wreaking havoc on your mental health, focusing on things you can’t control wastes time and energy; both of which are finite resources. Imagine how much you could accomplish if you devoted your resources to those things that you could control?
All of us waste energy on things we can’t control sometimes. But for some people, it becomes a way of life.
Here are 10 telltale signs you invest too much time, mental energy, and physical effort into things you have no control over:
1. You struggle with teamwork because you doubt the abilities of other people.
2. If you fail at something, you believe you are 100 percent responsible.
3. You invest a lot of time into wishing other people would change.
4. You aren’t comfortable asking for help.
5. You have trouble establishing meaningful relationships because you don’t trust anyone.
6. You spend a lot of energy trying to prevent bad things from happening.
7. You believe the outcome of any situation is entirely based on how much effort you exert.
8. You assume good luck has nothing to do with success. Instead, you’re convinced it’s completely up to you to determine your future.
9. Other people sometimes accuse you of being a “control freak.”
10. You struggle to delegate tasks to other people because you don’t think they’ll do the job “right.”
If any of those statements sound like you, there’s a good chance you’re focusing too much on things you can’t control. And that will rob you of mental strength.
But, like all bad mental habits, you can change it. You can learn how to give up some of that control that you try so hard to maintain.
As Maya Angelou once said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
If you want to learn more, join me on Thursday April 6 at Noon ET (9 AM PT) for the fourth installment of the 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do Audio Series. I’m one of the first people to test out Facebook Live Audio and so far, it’s a lot of fun. I’d love for you to join me.
- How to identify your locus of control
- The research that found letting go of things you can’t control will help you succeed
- Specific strategies for accepting things you can’t control
- How to identify where to devote your time and energy so you’ll see results
I’ll also be answering your questions about mental strength and my bestselling book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.
Want to learn how to give up the bad habits that will rob you of mental strength? Pick up a copy of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.