Make Effort, Not Outcomes, Your Focus
by Gregg Krech

Whenever we’re facing a challenging situation, one of the wisest things we can do is take a few minutes to distinguish between what’s controllable and what isn’t controllable. This is one of the key elements of psychiatrist Shoma Morita’s work and it’s an example of how something very simple can also be very helpful. I suggest you use a pencil and paper. Simply divide the piece of paper into two columns and, as you reflect on the situation, place each element into the proper column. What you end up with is a “map” that shows you what you can work on (actions which are controllable by you) and what you can’t control. This empowers you to move forward and do what you can do.

This exercise is also helpful when considering our dreams and aspirations. We live in a goal-oriented culture and we receive encouragement to identify goals, write them down, and work towards them. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, except that we c...

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