Each morning I get up, start a pot of coffee, let my dogs outside and think about my day. When my dogs are finished with their business, I head back inside my house and pour my first cup of coffee, all the while, considering my actions and the possibilities of the day.
With cup in hand, I turn on the TV to catch a little morning news and the first half hour of the “Today Show”. I listen to the weather report and half-listen to everything else. Much time is spent on our current presidential election debacle. Gratefully, I don’t really care very much about this. Not because I am indifferent, but because I understand, very clearly, that any political outcomes will have little bearing on my quality of life.
The thoughts and ideas I ponder as I watch my dogs circling the yard and the resultant actions following them will determine my outcomes. I have control over these things. We all have control over these things.
For the past several months, I have seen a lot of people get really wound up about politics, pop-culture, current events, etc…none of which has had any significant influence on whether or not a single day was a good one or a bad one.
Stephen R. Covey, author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, writes about “circles”: circle of control, circle of influence and circle of concern. The circle of control is small, but mighty. The circle of influence is larger, but less powerful. And the circle of concern is big, but has little correlation to meaningful outcomes in our lives. It’s mostly noise.
Shifting our focus from the noise to the things we can control is a powerful step in progressing ourselves and our lives. We waste plenty of time being outraged by stuff that really doesn’t matter much. This time would be much better spent considering the things that do matter and then doing them. Thinking, while important, is not the same as doing. Life requires action and we are built to move.
A couple of months ago, I told my daughter that I would re-do her bedroom with new flooring, trim, etc before the new school year. She is nearly a teenager and deserves a more polished, mature living space. She was pleased at this announcement. She was more pleased when she came home from vacation and it was done; illustrating the fact that ideas, philosophies, dreams and wishes are no substitute for action. This project was within my “circle of control” and so, I did it.
Our families, friends, thoughts, ideas and effort are all in our circle of control, or at least influence, and are where we should focus our attention. Noise does not move us. It merely distracts us. We are moved by the people and the work we love. These are what matters…and a happy pre-teen girl is a fine reward…
[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). He also runs the new Waterland Arcade, located at 22306 Marine View Drive South. Dave extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, Dave needs more friends – find him on Facebook here.