Dec. 27, 2017

Focus on What You Can Control

Spend our energy focusing on things which we can change.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.jpg

One of the secrets to a happier life is clearly understanding what we can and can’t control (see 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey). That way, we can spend our energy focusing on the things which we can change rather than the ones we can’t change.

List of Things you can’t control / change

  • Your genetics
  • Your past
  • Other people’s belief systems, reactions, and emotion
  • Weather
  • Flights being delayed

List of Things you can control / change

  • Your emotion
  • Your attitude
  • What you eat which will contribute to your health
  • Being informed and advocate for change
  • How we communicate
  • Habits
  • Being prepared

So in a nutshell…

“You can’t change the world, but you can change how you act”

For example:

#1 I believe that although subtle, there is racism in Australia and in many occasions, I feel as if I’ve been discrimination due to my race. Instead of focusing all our energy in the event which occurred and wallowing in self-pity, we can choose to focus our energy on our emotional health, being informed on this issue and being advocates for change through my behaviour.

#2 As I am writing this, my flight from Sydney to Malaysia was delayed for more than an hour. Instead of focusing all my energy on the delay (something which is clearly out of my control), I am focusing on being excited for my next destination and I am using this opportunity to be productive.

#3 Sometimes, I say things to people which sometimes offends people. Instead of denying all responsibility of how a person feels because I said something, I can definitely change the way I communicate the same message.

#4 Instead of blaming my health on my genetics (which, in a lot of cases, has very little impact as outlined in the book How Not to Die), I can choose to focus on eating healthy whole foods, avoiding crap food, and exercising more.


  • Draw a circle on a piece of paper.
  • Write down what you can’t control outside the circle and what you can control within the circle.
  • Once you’re done, question whether this is true.
  • Write down actions for the things that you can control and influence

## The photo was taken on my recent trip to Japan. On my last day, I visited Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden at sunset and it was a beautiful way to finish the trip.

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