The Subtle Art
A book that really resonated with me in my younger years was Mark Manson’s Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F**k. Now despite the rather crude title, much of the content of the book was very profound and thought provoking. One of the key concepts was that we should only focus on factors that we can control and not waste our energy on those that we can’t.
I’ll give you an everyday life example (that has happened to me on more than one occasion). You’re on the way to the airport to catch a flight but you’re stuck in non-moving traffic and it’s looking more and more likely that you’re going to miss it. The idea is that there’s no point in stressing about the situation, as whether that traffic starts moving again is totally out of your control (even though yes missing a flight is REALLY annoying). So you should focus on what you can control and that may be putting your energy into finding alternative flight options.
We Only Have Limited Resources
And the concept of ‘focusing on what you can control and not what you can’t,’ remains one of the critical concepts of running a business, especially with the world being as it is at the moment. Because your time, mental energy and resilience are limited resources and we all have only a finite amount of each. So it’s by far best to apply them to factors you can control. Worrying about situations you can’t control or wishing things were different, ultimately doesn’t change anything except you lose that time and emotional energy.
So to help with this, I find listing all those factors down and sorting into the table above, and then doing your absolute best to let go of what you can’t control. Don’t get me wrong, this won’t solve all your problems (running your own business will always provide you with a certain amount of worry). But what it does help with is turning ‘negative worry’ into ‘positive worry,’ which is action orientated towards what you can control.
Prioritise The Low Hanging Fruit
The next step is to prioritise all of those ‘in my control’ factors, so that you focus your efforts on the most important and those that give the greatest impact for the least amount of effort. It’s always advisable to start off by targeting the ‘low hanging fruit’ as the saying goes.
None of us could have predicted how challenging the unprecedented times of 2020 and 2021 have been. They’ve been exceptionally tough for so many, with never seen before events outside of everyone’s control, having serious financial implications. But with 2022 just around the corner and the prospects of more prosperous times ahead, now is the time to ensure you’re focusing on the most impactful actions in your control and not waste energy on those that aren’t.