How To Handle A Situation You Cannot Control

open_armsSometimes in life, you cannot control a situation. You will try everything you can think of and the situation still does not work out. It is in these moments that we are truly tested in life for we are utterly helpless. We are like a baby laying down in a crib. What do you do? Do you wallow in despair? I have a few things to say about it :).


The first and most important thing to do when you are in a situation you cannot control is to surrender to it. Accept the situation for exactly what it is – something you cannot control. You are now an observer of this situation, but your ability to influence it is gone – maybe never to return – and you must learn to accept that.

It’s not easy to surrender to a situation. Like a battle with quick sand, you want to struggle and do everything you can to make the situation what you would like. And the harder you try, the more you create distance and coldness in the situation for yourself. It can be maddening :).

Luckily, you have the knowledge of surrendering yourself to the situation now. Surrendering means you accept that the situation is now what it is and that as smart and intelligent and charismatic as you are, you cannot do anything more to influence the situation. You must step back and let events unfold outside of your influence.

Let Time Do Its Thing

The next step is to let time do its thing. Perhaps you are in a situation that you screwed up. It happens to the best of us. The best thing you can do is recognize anything you’ve done wrong, apologize if necessary, and then slip back into the shadows and let the silent passage of time work its magic.

Time is magic. It heals wounds, removes old scars, and creates distance from events that you’d rather forget. It is the slow passage of time that makes things right far more than our ability to try and force our hand into things right now. Give time the respect it deserves.

Like a game of chess, the passage of time and seeing far down the road is like seeing many moves ahead in the chess game. When you can see far down the road of the passage of time, you will be like a Wizard – knowing what others do not and not being surprised at what happens as you exercise patience.

Focus on Yourself

It sounds counter intuitive to focus on yourself when you are in a situation you cannot control. After all, the instinct is to try and FIX or REPAIR the situation you are in to make it something you can control. But you can’t. There is, however, something you can do. And that’s put in time and effort for yourself.

Read the best books. Gain insights. Workout like you never have before. Get a dream body that gives you energy and vibrancy. Go out and meet new people. Learn a new skill. Build a new website. Smile and learn to laugh at yourself. All these things you can do no matter what is going on around you.

Let It Go

My daughters like to sing the song from Disney’s Frozen, “Let It Go”. In it, the queen Elsa, sings about letting her inhibitions go and being who she truly is and not caring what others think.

I think this applies to situations we cannot control. We must learn to let it go and relinquish all desire for control of the situation and succumb to what is happening and our true selves, even if it is something we don’t like or is very painful.

Letting go is difficult in practice, but possible with enough work on yourself and the passage of time.

Strength To You

When you cannot control a situation, it can be hard. I send my strength to you who might be struggling in a situation you cannot control. It’s part of life – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Learn to accept either outcome. But don’t give up on yourself. Get out there and continue to make something great of your life.

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