We live in a complex world. The very fact that we can remember the past and think about the future greatly impacts how we live in the present. Yet sometimes we make life too complicated. Sometimes we get so caught up in the things that we can’t control. Sometimes we go through life trying to make the most complicated designs and patterns for our lives that we sometimes forget the important things. Sometimes we get caught focusing on the future or living in the past that we lose track of living in the moment.
At the end of the day there are very few things we can actually control. One of the lessons I learned early on playing soccer was that you can’t control other people. You might be fouled, but that doesn’t mean the referee will call it. You might be open but that doesn’t mean your teammate will pass it to you. You might make a great play but that doesn’t mean the other team doesn’t make a better play. Yet it is in this moment of realization that the game becomes easier. Instead of needing to worry and focus about all the other players on the field, you only need to worry about one. What are YOU doing? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? These are the things that matter, because they’re the things you can control.
The same thing happens with the rest of life too. Whether it’s friends, family, co-workers, or complete strangers, you can’t control them. You probably want to, but you can’t. Instead you can look at how you respond to situations. You can look at whether it’s your actions that need to be improved. Whether you’re feeling bad even though you shouldn’t. Maybe you’re thinking thoughts that aren’t helpful in that situation. When we change the game from being some complicated mess into something simple, the game starts becoming winnable. We can start controlling our outcomes. We might struggle, fail, hurt, but when were in control we have the ability to flip the script. We can go from pain and loss to learning and being motivated. We can go from anger to having the ability to show love and forgiveness. We can go from thinking the world hates us to knowing that we are loved. But it’s all on us. We just need to keep it simple.