One of the most effective ways to live a simple life is to understand what’s in your control, and what is not.
Knowing what you can control allows you to use your finite energy in the best way possible. The time you spend thinking about, acting on, and attempting to change situations is often a large part of your life. When you spend that energy on things you DO have control over, then you make progress. However, by spending our energy on situations outside of our control, we waste away precious resources.
Spectrum of Control
What makes understanding your control in your life difficult, is that it’s often a spectrum. There are some things that you have almost complete control over, like what you choose to eat. There are other things, like if the sun keeps burning, that you have no control over. It’s the things in the middle of the spectrum that get tricky, and require you to acknowledge to what degree you can productively make a change.
Looking at your situations in life through the lens of how much control you have allows you to prioritize your energy. The more energy you put into things under your control, the more powerful the outcome.
How many people do you know that will spend half of their day worried about the current big political scandal, while at the same time neglecting to eat well? Or do you know somebody that hates their job, but refuses to change it or try to work out an issue with their company? “Work will always suck” they say.
Our quality of life is highly dependent on us knowing the amount of control we have. By blaming external powers for things that are under our control, we lose personal self-worth. Conversely, by trying to change things we have little control over, we make no progress.
Simplify Through Understanding
If you want to lead a simple, happy life, understand your spectrum of control. As issues come up, actually think about how much control you have.
“Can I do something about this?”
If the answer is yes, then take action if it’s important to you.
If the answer is no, then you need to learn to accept the situation as it is.