The only things in life that you can control are your words, actions, and feelings, but you can also influence a lot of outcomes with your ability or inability to think critically about what you do and don’t do in certain situations.
Sometimes a choice isn’t within your own control, ask a large majority of the population working in careers they despise if you don’t believe me. A lot of the time, we may have to act in a situation where the choice has been made for us and this can lead you to a situation of attempted influence or actioned ignorance.
That’s a very technical term to describe a simple concept. How you choose to react, deal with, and respond to a situation where the choice isn’t always just in your hands, as you’d prefer, can often reflect whether you’re prepared to rise to, or have settled to accept and ignore.
The truth is, you can do both, but the latter will leave a far more negative taste in the mouth of those around you, particularly the ones you will have to answer to.
Being Clear, Concise, And Patient
Like you, I find myself in situations that challenge my thoughts and decisions multiple times every day. Perhaps that’s a reflection on me because I haven’t worked out the powers of command and control as yet.
But that raises the question, would I really want to live in that sort of world?
As much as challenging situations can be stressful and lead to all sorts of emotional responses, it’s important to do two things during that. One, be analytical about how you handled that situation when reflecting, and two, realize that you were probably a big part of the reason that situation occurred.
For example, last week I texted one of my support workers with a very vague message that led her to believe I wanted immediate action. If I had been more specific about what I was actually asking and saying, then she wouldn’t have thought I was demanding for a response right there and then, and thus, she wouldn’t have felt annoyed and that I had suddenly changed my plans at the last second, with the direct implication being that I required more work out of her.
That’s just one example of many lessons I’ve learnt recently involving how my own direct action, inaction, or lack of clarity can lead to confusing and annoying situations.
I’d have saved myself, and her, a lot of anxiety by simply being more clear, and perhaps a little more patient.
Focusing On How I Contribute To The Wider We
The events in Christchurch recently sparked a lot of conversation about the acceptance of different cultures and religions.
I’d like to see the same conversations happening around how we interact with one another, the things we say or not say, and how we deal with conflicting viewpoints because it’s not too dissimilar from the current unity being shown on that front. Like this example, we shouldn’t have to wait and experience such tragedy for the glass ceiling on these other important conversations to finally be blown off.
Some may say that leaning on the notion that accepting so much is beyond our control may be of defeatist thinking.
That’s where the power of conversation comes in. As an entire society and especially in the online spaces, we need to slow down, think, evaluate, and encourage ourselves to not let frustrated or bitter emotions get in the way of simply having a conversation about the issue/issues at hand. The same goes for non-issues, those positive points in our lives where we think everything is great and not in need of any further evaluation.
Everything needs evaluation, ongoing clarity, and systematic acknowledgement that we ourselves are always half of everything. We aren’t the whole 100%, our virtues and beliefs may be right and working for us, but that doesn’t mean they are correct and to be followed by all.
It’s a simple concept, but it can often take a lifetime to understand. For me, it’s taking 27-years and counting.
Michael Pulman is a wheelchair-bound journalist, blogger, video producer, and public speaker based in Hamilton, New Zealand.