I have been working out at the local forest since my gym closed as a measure to conform to the COVID-19 safety regulations. The forest is beautiful with a challenging running trail and I love the fresh air.
I am a creature of habit and one of my core ones is to park at the same spot anytime I visit. Today, I drive in and park at my favorite spot. As I get ready to get out of the car, I see the forest warden approaching. He then proceeds to ask me to move to another parking spot. I ask why and he responds that for today he wants us to park at a particular spot.
Now, this is where the story begins……
I am really tempted to start arguing with the warden… I mean, why he has waited for me to get out of my car to share this information. He should have guided me as I drove in as he was standing right there! I am livid!!! I glance at the area I am being directed to park and it has trees that are shedding lots of leaves and dropping acorns. All I can think about is how my car will look like when I get back from my run.
It is very cold this early morning- 6.45am to be precise. I decide not to get into an altercation because I do not want to mess up my mood for the rest of my day. I get back into the car and move it.
As I make my way to the entrance of the forest the warden approaches me and starts to explain why he made me move my car. Apparently the day before he noticed some strangers walking around the car park suspiciously peeping into cars and trying to open the doors. He made me move my car so that it can be in an area where he can watch over it! Wow….that took me a back!
I had control over how to react over that situation. It was my decisive moment. The old me would have taken the altercation route and would have probably refused to move the car. The new me, who is learning to take control of what I can, chooses to control how the rest of my day would go and moved the car- albeit having an internal battle with myself.
I am in direct control of my thoughts, words and how I treat my environment. This COVID-19 season has taught me to focus on what I can control and let go of what I cannot. Many of us spend a lot of time worrying about things that you have no control over like locusts, Narrow Bee fly, stock market or what is happening in the news. This makes us feel helpless, fearful and anxious.
Turn this around and focus on what is within your control. Be present in the moment. If you start spending your time, energy and effort working on the things directly inside of your circle of influence and control you can redirect your energy and make a positive difference, no matter how small.
James Clear, in his great book, Atomic Habits, talks about the “decisive moment” concept:
“Every day, there are a handful of moments that deliver an outsized impact”.
These moments or “little choices”, are the decisions that will shape our future selves. It is the moment I decide between starting an altercation or just moving my car as asked. Decisive moments can shape our habits and therefore our outcomes.
I had a hearty conversation with the warden after I finished my run and my day turned out great. The control I took earned me a new acquaintance.
What do you focus your energy on?