You Can't Control the Wind

Mr. Tim Connor
January 21, 2013 — 947 views  

As a sailor for many years I had to learn very early that my task was not to try and influence the wind in my sails, but to do the best I could to take advantage of its direction, force and speed so I could ensure a safe and successful journey regardless of my destination goal.

Whether it was off the coast of Rhode Island fighting the currents and strong winds in Narragansett Bay, or slowly moving from one island in the Caribbean to the next as the trade winds blessed my journey, the story is always the same – you can’t push or control the wind- all you can do is use your skills, instincts and experience to maneuver safely through it keeping your destination in mind.

Kind of like life sometimes wouldn’t you agree?

How often in the past several days have you tried to push or control the wind (your life circumstances)? I’ll bet if you stopped to think about it for a minute you would be surprised.  Waiting in line or a traffic backup, waiting on hold on your telephone, waiting for someone for lunch, waiting for a boring meeting to end or waiting for someone to return your call or respond to a request.  I could go on and on, but if you will stop for a minute and ask yourself – “I wonder how many times I have tried to push and control life’s passage today with my desire to have things my way - now?”  Well, if it’s at least ten to twenty times a day consider yourself normal as most people get upset, stressed, anxious or even angry when things don’t go their way or on their schedule. Why is this?  Too many reasons for this article but consider the following five;

Ego needs – The ego says – I am better, smarter, more important and more successful than you.  It believes that no matter who is in front of you in line that you should be able to cut in front of them.  It believes that everyone should drop everything when you have made a request or a call.  It acts like no matter who else is on the planet with you, you deserve to be first. 

I can’t tell you how many people I have observed over the years who have worked themselves into a twit because their flight was going to be late.  You know, when you fly at 30,000 feet at 600 miles an hour for several hours the important thing is to just land safely – late or on time – doesn’t matter.  But, you’d be amazed how many people believe that the meeting they will miss because their flight is going to be late seems to be more important than landing in one piece.

Chill – there are only two ways you are going down – land or crash – which would you prefer? So, the line in front of you goes on seems like miles.  Relax.  I recall several years ago leaving Las Vegas from a speaking engagement and the security line took four hours to get through.  Wanna bet there were also lots of stressed out people in that line?

Discomfort with uncertainty – You can’t change circumstances or challenges if you don’t confront them, however life often demands that we accept what is uncertain or lies ahead with a sense of faith, hope and trust.  I know, not always easy, believe me. But, think about it – can you really control what waits around the corner when you don’t know what it is? Change is relentless and constant.  Uncertainty is a normal part of every life regardless of your age, gender, race or any other circumstances.

The number one contributor to all illness is successfully unmanaged stress. A major cause of all stress is our lack of acceptance of the worries that plague us and we amplify with continued attention and focus.

Self-absorbed mindsets – The world doesn’t revolve around you – I know - you think it should and believe it often does.  Well – HELLO – it doesn’t and a major cause of anxiety and frustration in life is when you must confront the truth that you are not the center of the Universe. I have met my share of self-absorbed people during my life and global travels and I have to tell you most of them live with a great deal of fear, doubt, resentment and often regrets.

Until you can learn to accept that you are a part of the human family and as such, regardless of your success, wisdom, experience or station in life, you are no better than any others.  Yes, there are a lot of bad, stupid, angry, evil and just crazy people out there in the world, but I will tell you that most of these folks have varying degrees of self-absorption that they just demonstrate in stupid or bad ways.  I’m not implying that you if you have an issue with self-absorption or are one of them, but often some of your selfish or self-seeking actions may hurt others in some way subtle or even obvious.

Impatience in general – Impatience is the need for life to happen on your schedule and in ways you require.  Got news for you – this seldom is reality.  Stuff happens that we can’t predict, expect, control or even manage given our resources, experience or knowledge or wisdom.  A lack of patience indicates challenges you may face in other areas of your personality (see the above plus many others I won’t cover here).   Everyone sooner or later suffers from a lack of patience in some area of their life.  From weddings to funerals; From travel to health issues; From careers to children.  Sooner or later your patience will be tested.  The question is not the source, but your reaction and response to these issues.  Do you let them control you and your actions, behaviors and decisions or choices or do you maintain emotional control so you don’t have to look back with guilt, regret or a request for forgiveness.

A dysfunctional need for control – Let me keep this one short.  You either let life happen and do the best you can with what it gives you or you fight every step of the way in most circumstances.  Guess which approach or attitude will contribute to good mental health and a happy and peaceful life?

So, if you had to rate yourself on a 1-10 scale – One is you taking things as they come and just enjoying the process, journey or circumstances or 10 you fly into a rage when things don’t go your way--or somewhere in between.  Be honest now – this is just between you and you!

‎"The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly

gets all the publicity."

 George Carlin

 

Please feel free to forward this article to anyone you feel might benefit from it. 

Mr. Tim Connor

Connor Resource Group

Global renowned sales and management speaker and trainer and best selling author of over 80 books including several international best sellers.