Howard Stern is one of the last people that I would have expected to hear something from that I would immediately want to write down so I would not forget it. However, in an interview with David Letterman he made reference to, “being in control in an out of control world.” While I never have liked the work or personality of either Stern or Letterman, the phrase captivated me.
Even after going through my childhood during the Cold War with frequent nightmares about World War III and the nuclear destruction of the planet, I have never felt that the world was more crazy than it is today. I find myself witnessing almost everything fracturing a little bit everyday. I find myself with more frustration, more negative thoughts and more ill feelings than I ever have before. I find myself at times being in envy of the teapot that gets to let of steam and declare only success as the result of doing so.
No this is not a warning that I am ready to blow my top. It’s more so an explanation of why I don’t have to, because of the concept that Stern pontificated about with Letterman.
By no means would I declare that I have found Zen. I still let out my share of steam, but it’s not a prolonged session that leads to exhaustion and even more frustration. Yes, I’ve had those moments and don’t feel immune to them in the future.
What I have ultimately found is that the context of control is what has allowed me to be much more in control than I ever have been. The moment of realization that I need to put more focus on the things I can influence and less focus on those things that I can’t influence was the start. The penultimate lesson being that the only thing I truly have control over is how I react to and feel about things. Everything else beyond my own emotions is subject to manipulation.
Some might assume that I have chosen to ignore or accept ignorance in order to achieve control. However, it is the exact opposite. My choice to become more in control is a decision to learn, understand and accept things that I can’t influence will persist as they are. And instead focus more on the things I can influence. As a result my emotions toward everything and everyone have changed.
Anger and fear have been replaced by acceptance. Acceptance that is based on based on the knowledge gained through seeking a greater understanding. Understanding of how I can impact, limited or unlimited as it may be.
As a result, my emotions are spent more focused on those things that I know, appreciate and provide me with greater joy.