Many of us have daily rituals. Some folks check their horoscope, check facebook, or listen to the birthday greetings on the radio. I have my coffee; check my email, and read today’s quote from my book of Stephen Covey’s daily quotes.
Covey is famous for writing First Things First and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. What I’ve taken away from Covey’s philosophy is that to build a satisfying life, we need to think about what’s important to us and direct our attention toward those priorities.
When we have that clarity, we tend to spend more of our time on activities that will help us achieve what really matters. And, it reduces the amount of time we fritter away doing things that don’t lead us much of anywhere.
Because we’re now living in a pandemic-stricken world where some are feeling anxious and uncertain, this recent quote from Covey stood out for me:
“Much of our frustration and anxiety comes from the feeling of being unprepared. Many activities become urgent as a result of lack of proper preparation.”
What does it take to feel prepared?
It is impossible to prepare for every contingency. We cannot possibly guard against every negative event that might happen. With that being the case, how can we ever reach a feeling of being prepared?
In Choice Theory, Dr. Glasser suggests that we have more direct control over our actions and thinking behaviours than we have over our feelings and physiology. Thus, one way to change a feeling, for example, a feeling of unpreparedness, would be to take action toward preparation.
An old friend tells me the story of his Polish immigrant mother who felt satisfied every fall when she had her barrel of pork in place and her root cellar filled with potatoes. She prepared her family for the winter as best she could. It wasn’t perfect, but it was what she could do.
One way of looking is from the perspective of control. That is, “Is my uncomfortable feeling of unpreparedness coming from the knowledge that I haven’t dealt with the things that I can reasonably control? Or is it because I don’t want to accept that many things are out of my control?”
Ultimately, of course, we can only control what we can control! Many world events and actions of others are beyond our control. However, even though our individual spheres of control may be small, what we do within them still has a significant impact on our lives.
If you often feel anxious about being unprepared, ask yourself, “Do I feel unprepared unless I perceive that everything is perfect?” If that’s you, then sadly, it may be a long, hard road to any satisfying feeling of preparedness.
A helpful question could be, “Have I done what I can reasonably do?” It takes some thought to answer that. Ask yourself what you feel unprepared for. What could you do to prepare?
The Polish mom’s picture of preparedness included stocking up her winter food supply. I’m sure that she knew that having food didn’t protect the family from every bad possibility. However, it was reasonable preparedness. It was what she could do.
What’s your picture of preparedness?
Welcome to Reality Check:
articles and observations inspired by the work of Dr. William Glasser
- Choosing Behaviour
- Choosing Perspective
- Control and Choice
- Develop Understanding
- Doing, Thinking, Feeling, Physiology
- How it is sometimes
- Love & Belonging
- Perception & Reality
- Personal Freedom