It’s a crazy world out there. Explosions, riots, and heated political battles pave the way for a lot of stress and discomfort. No matter how crazy the world gets, there’s always one thing you can do to make yourself happier: stop worrying about people, and focus on what you can control.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”Rumi
Our World Today
We are in the midst of peak human existence. Instead of hunting buffalo for days on end, we can order food to be delivered directly to our door. We can hire people to be our personal drivers when we’ve had too many glasses of scotch. This is the most peaceful time in Earth’s history, but we still have the mindset that we are under attack.
Let’s look at an example of this modern day “attack.” One man, wearing a Nike shirt posts a picture of himself on Instagram. While scrolling through your feed, you come across this picture and become instantly enraged. You start thinking, “How could anyone support Nike?”, and you decide to start a battle in the comments section. This, in turn, offends the other person, and all hopes of a meaningful discussion are thrown out the window.
This is how much of our society (social media in particular) operates. Every disagreement turns into a heated screaming match. It’s a never-ending cycle of chaos and anger. Luckily, there is a better way.
A Better Way to Live
When you live in a world with protests, political divisiveness, and #CancelCulture on Twitter, the world can feel like a very angry place. The magic formula to making that anger go away is to turn that focus inward. Don’t say, “They shouldn’t do that.” Instead ask yourself what YOU should do. Instead of telling them they are wrong, think about how YOU could do better.
Let’s take the same example from above. You’re scrolling along, and this man’s selfie comes up on your feed. Instead of thinking about what he is doing, start thinking about yourself. If you feel that passionate about the issue, do something about it. Something more than just posting about it on Facebook. If you aren’t willing to do something about the issue, just let it go. Either way, stop worrying about what that person is doing. He’s not important in your life anyway. What is important is your own mental health.
Let go of your concept of controlling the outside world. Control yourself and adapt to reality. If you learn how to control yourself, no one can ever hurt or offend you. Improving on this part of yourself is critical to a better, more prosperous life.
Learn How to Live Better
I’m not the only one that holds this belief. Many great thinkers and happiness experts–as I like to call them– have the same views. Forget everything you can’t control, and dial in on what you can. Below are a few examples of resources to learn more.
‘Loving What Is’ by Byron Katie
In perhaps the single most impactful book on the subject, Byron Katie drills this down to a four step process which she calls “The Work.” In her book, she describes herself as a “lover of reality.” This is the true key to happiness. Regardless of what happens, find peace in it. Control what you can control, and pay no mind to the rest.
‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson
If you didn’t guess by the title, Mark Manson is brutally honest. He is also extremely insightful on the subject of living a good life. This book is designed to be in-your-face and jarring to make a point, and that point still rings true. If you want to learn how to accept reality and be happy, this book is a great place to go.
‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ by Dale Carnegie
For those who hear the words “stop worrying” and don’t know how to do that, I have your answer. In this best seller, Dale Carnegie dives into the dangers of worry, how it can affect your health, and how to conquer worry for good. Using several methods of squashing worries, this book has helped millions of people for over 60 years!
There are three certainties in this world: death, taxes, and disagreement. No matter how much we may disagree, we cannot control other people. You can, however, control yourself. Learn how do to this, and you will have a happier life.