Recognize What You Can and Cannot Control

One of the challenges we all have to learn to overcome is to realize there are some things we have no control over. Too often we allow things we can’t control to get us angry and frustrated. The sooner we come to grips with the reality that we don’t have control over them, the sooner we better manage or react to our circumstances.

For example, we allow the behavior, attitude or ways of thinking and speaking of others to bother us to the point of worry and anger. When we allow the way someone is behaving to affect us, we are giving energy to things over which we have no control.

You cannot control the way someone speaks, acts or thinks any more than they can control you in those areas.

Why then do we give so much of our time and energy to things over which we have no control?

I am not sure exactly what the answer is, but part of it is our need to be in control. We need to feel that we have the power to affect the desired result we want in any given situation or with a person. How is that working for you?

The reality is, we cannot and never will be able to control all things – even all things which impact our own lives. We must recognize that we have limited control which resides with our power to choose our attitude, and how we want to act, speak and think. Beyond this limited sphere of control, most things are out of our control.

We will accomplish more and life will be more fulfilling if we learn to focus our time and resources on what we can control. I think this is what Jesus was getting at in Matthew 6 when He admonished us to not worry. Worry is giving time and energy to things we have no control over.

Focus your energy on the things you can control. If you are involved in a conflict at the moment, rather than focusing your time and energy on how you want the other person to behave and think, why not instead focus on what you can do to resolve the conflict and stop trying to control the other person’s response?

It may not be a conflict but a relationship that is strained at the moment because of some misunderstanding. Rather than waiting for the other person(s) to respond in the way you want, why not take the initiative and do what is within your control to begin clearing up the misunderstanding and start bringing healing to the relationship?

It takes far more energy to live in conflict and misunderstanding than it does to live in healthy thriving relationships. And the rewards are so much better.

Take a few minutes and reflect on the things you have been giving your time and energy to:

  • Are they all within your control?
  • Are you wasting time and energy on things you cannot control?

Why not make a conscious decision starting today that you will devote your time and energy only to the things over which you have control and not worry about the things you cannot control? If you do, likely you will be amazed at how much lighter, more fulfilling and satisfying life will become.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.

Photo by Vera Arsic,