Controls, Constants, and Variables in Life
So, this is a good year; my worst was 2008. I won’t get into the specifics, but instead let’s look at the lessons I learned that year. The following are the three mechanisms that control our lives:
- Constants: Things you cannot change: e.g. genetics, age, physiology, birth, death, general appearance, I.Q., gender, etc.
- Controls: Circumstances or occurrences that are out of our control: e.g. freak accidents, illnesses, other people, the economy, etc.
- Variables: Things that you have control of: e.g. attitude, lifestyle, relationships, career, extracurricular activities, etc.
These three mechanisms dictate the ebb and flow of our lives. They affect one’s mind-set, attitude, success, and ultimately our fate. We can control some things, and are controlled by others.
What I want to focus on today is the greatest enemy of peace, and that is Controls. Controls come from the great unknown. It is the source of our greatest fears because your life can change in seconds and you never see it coming. It is the finger of God. It is fate.
Some argue that one’s attitude will eliminate fear and other negative effects of controls; that our happiness is strictly determined by our reaction to stressful events. This is the case when, say, your car breaks down or you catch a cold. But if your son gets flattened by a garbage truck or your house burns down, well, positive thinking will only take you so far. You are no longer in control; you are being controlled. Too much control can cause a breakdown.
So what can you do about it?
Nothing. You don’t have to like it; flee from it if you can. We are justified in fearing Controls. You can never control the Controller. But when crap happens, fight it where you can, embrace it if you can’t. Turn tragedy into action, not reaction, and know that given enough time you can get through anything, and maybe come out stronger for it.
You will always have controls. This is how we learn and grow; this is the purpose of life. There is no pleasure without pain. The knife is honed by friction.