We only have so much time, energy, and attention. So how do we decide where to place our focus?
To figure out the answer to that question, I like to ask myself two additional questions: Does it matter? And can I control it?
Unless the answer is yes on both counts, I know I can stop thinking about it. Because if it doesn’t matter, then who cares, and if you can’t control it, then why worry about it?
For me, that means I can stop focusing on:
- Whether my future children get into college or not (because I can’t control it).
- Whether I could have saved $5 on groceries by going to a different store (because it doesn’t matter).
- Whether the stock market is in flux right now (because I can’t control it).
- That guy who cut me off in traffic (because it doesn’t matter).
Not thinking about any of those things allows me to put more energy and attention into things that I can control and that do matter. For example:
- How I treat my future children, regardless of whether college is a good fit for them or not.
- Aligning my spending with my values.
- How I behave when stock markets fluctuate.
- Learning to count to 10, taking a deep breath, and letting go when other drivers act like jerks.
Just imagine what might happen if you quit worrying about things you have no control over and quit obsessing over things that don’t matter.
Where else might you be able to invest that extra time, energy, and attention?