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It's What You CAN Control That Matters

Aug 17, 2007
Have you seen the movie "28 Days" starring Sandra Bullock and Viggo Mortenson?

It's no masterpiece, and probably wouldn't crack my top 100 films of all time...

But it does, in an entertaining way, offer some valuable lessons on life: how to overcome personal challenges (Sandra Bullock plays an alcoholic who's sentenced to 28 days in a rehab center after driving into someone's house!), the meaning of friendship, and how to achieve goals, to name a few.

One of these lessons is demonstrated when Viggo Mortenson, who plays a baseballer, is pitching
baseballs onto a mattress several feet away. When Sandra's character has a shot she misses completely.

Viggo's character asks, "What were you thinking when you threw the ball?"

Sandra answers that she was thinking about trying to hit the mattress.

This is, after all, the outcome she wants.

Viggo shakes his head and tells her that she's focusing on the wrong thing.

Instead of thinking about what she can't control -- the outcome -- she should be focusing on what she CAN control: her stance, how she grips the ball, how she swings her arm, etc.

Hmmm... is there something in that for you, too?

You see, in many cases, whatever goal you're trying to pursue, you can't control the outcome.

There are just too many variables that you have no influence over.

But you CAN control every single thing you do in order to achieve that outcome.

And you can perfect those things, just as a pro baseball player works to perfect his stance, grip, swing, etc.

But haven't you been told to visualize or imagine achieving your goal?

Well, I'm NOT saying that you shouldn't visualize or imagine. These are, in fact, two activities that may help you get what you want. In fact, in many -- if not most cases -- they are part of the processes involved in achieving your goal.

But a much more important activity is... ACTIVITY! Or ACTION!

I mean, sure, top athletes do "mental training" but they sure as heck don't rely on this alone -- the bulk of their training is PHYSICAL, right?

Same for you and I. We can daydream all we want, but it won't get us anywhere unless we TAKE ACTION towards achieving our goal.

Now, it has to be the right action. Continuing the example of athletes -- they must learn and perfect the right diet, training, mental conditioning, skills, and so on, in order to reach the top of their sport. So too, you must make an effort to discover the most effective way of achieving your goal. This will inevitably involve learning and applying specific strategies, tactics and daily tasks that are proven to work.

And, at the end of the day, if you focus on what you can control -- those strategies, tactics and daily tasks -- rather than worrying or dreaming about your desired outcome, you're much more likely to get that outcome.
About the Author
Anna Johnson is the creator of the inspiring 1 minute movie, A Bit Of Inspiration. Enjoy the movie and get inspired! Then claim your free A Bit Of Inspiration screensaver - your daily reminder of the power you have within.
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