Our flight finally landed, an hour and a half late. Everyone was eager to get off, especially the family ahead of me, parents with three young sons who looked to be between 5 and 9 years old. As they gathered their belongings, the middle boy was becoming increasingly anxious. The father said, very calmly, “Control what you can, and ignore the rest. Just control what you can.” I don’t know if it helped his son, but it resonated with me. I would tweak it just a bit so it becomes: Control what you can, plan for the unexpected and move on. What a great way to navigate everyday stresses.
We’ve all had those days, or weeks, or months. Yet, generally, we can embrace the challenge, figure out what we can control, create workarounds, and move forward – a duck paddling madly underwater while, seemingly serenely, progressing upstream against the current. There are days when we may get uncomfortably close to reasoned panic. Panic breeds chaos. Knowing what you can control and owning that responsibility fosters order and accomplishment. As the father on the plane told his son, control what you can and move on.