There are times in our lives when we are confronted with the reality that we are not in control of the world around us.
As hard as we try, and as much as we’d like to think we’re in control, the reality is, we are not. And there are seasons and circumstances that remind us of that fact.
A natural disaster, a terminal diagnosis, a wayward son, an unexpected layoff… each of those come to mind as examples.
At this current moment in time, almost everyone in the world, simultaneously, is being confronted with the reality of lost control through the spread of a virus. A tiny virus, invisible to the naked eye, has brought the world to a screeching halt, disrupting everything in its path—even life as normal.
Our control has been upended. No doubt about it.
We, of course, never had as much control over our lives and the world as we thought we did, but still, it is hard to lose the little that we had. The world, it feels, has spun into chaos.
So how do we respond when the world is in chaos? How do we begin to move forward?
For one, we take back control of what we can control—even in the smallest of ways.
We’ve all been reminded that we are not in ultimate control of the universe. But that doesn’t mean we’ve lost all ability to maintain control over our lives. Even if our usual day-to-day opportunities have been taken from us by another, there is still much we can control.
We can still control what time we wake up in the morning.
We can still choose to get ready in the morning for the day ahead.
We can eat healthy. We can remain physically active.
We can make our bed in the morning, we can choose to reset our home in the evening.
We can choose what we watch and listen to, and we can control what time we turn off the television at night.
We can always control our attitude and our response to the people and events around us.
We can love our family.
We can choose kind words in conversations.
If you are a man or woman of faith, you can choose to rely upon it during this time.
We can still decide to make the most of each day in front of us.
Controlling what you can might not seem like much, but it’s something.
Actually, it’s a lot more than something. It is an essential strategy for each of us going forward.
It is the first step in moving from a reactive life to a proactive one. And it is the first step in making the most of our current circumstances.
So, focus your energy there, even if it seems like very little. When the world is in chaos, control what you can.
Stay healthy, stay well, and stay focused. We’ll get through this together.
C Phoenix says
Thanks for a thoughtful article.
One small point; why not just say ‘a *person of faith’? ‘Man or woman’ excludes (unintentionally, I’m sure) people who are non-binary. Thanks for considering this. :)
Peggy Behnke says
Thank you, Josh. As people of faith, we have been relying on that faith more every day. This was an encouragement and a lovely reminder that we can control our attitudes and behavior.
INDRA DOOKHOO says
Thank you Joshua?
Thank you. It’s amazing what you wrote!
Thank you Joshua, I normally WFH quite a few days a week and enjoy the peace and quiet. This is the 3rd week I have been working from home with everyone else in the family. I felt a bit down this morning. I am so glad I opened your email after getting the urgent work done. As a control and clean freak, I felt so much better now after reading your mail.
I really enjoy all your mails, YouTube videos and TED talk, really appreciate your great work. Best wishes to you and your family.
The Joyful Quilter says
What a wonderful set of reminders, Joshua! Thank you.
I completely agree with your thoughts!
It feels like 2020 has just been cancelled all of a sudden.. I’m trying to stay positive and spend this time reprioritising and reflecting on my life and my dreams, do the things I’ve been putting off while I was busy, and live in the present moment.
Bev Jenklns says
Thanks Joshua, Good words to ground ourselves by!
I live in Durban, South Africa. I have a small business that is closed. Just come to the realization this morning that our lives will never be the same again and it may be totally unnecessary.
Thank you for this ?
This was a great blog and something we all needed to hear.
Sandra Richardson says
Actually, because of living a minimalist (and frugal) life, our family is not in chaos right now. My husband and I both grew up in families that faced financial difficulties, so when we got married, we vowed to live differently. We both worked 2 jobs each after University, learned the difference between a need and a want, and saved every penny we could before having kids. 22 years and 3 kids later, our house is paid off, we have no debt, and we have a sizable emergency fund. I am out of work because of Covid, but my husband isn’t, and we have more than enough to ride out this storm.
We knew that saving for a rainy day was the best insurance against a financial disaster, but we had no idea it would come in the form of a virus.
Thank you for all your advice over the years, Joshua, and best wishes to you and yours.
I started my working day from home by opening your email and I agree with your comments about what you can and can’t control. It’s refreshing!!
Laurie Moore says
Thank you so much for this reminder! I’m a person who has to stay busy and go looking for things to do, but it seems they are never the things I truly need to get done!! I have ADD but still have trouble focusing. I truly appreciate your kind words today and will focus on the positive!!!
Thank you for this. I’m a major Type A control freak and this whole situation has me spiraling mentally. I’m finding that I feel better when I do choose to delete social media from my phone and choose to watch a nature show instead of the news, choose to clean my house instead of laying on the couch feeling worthless. Happiness has always been, and will always be, a choice.
Kandi Johnson says
After over 25 years of a consistent work schedule, in 2013, I found myself “taking a break” and choosing to work freelance (as a writer, bookkeeper and real estate agent). This was a switch for me to be able to “order my own day” after my day had “ordered” me for so many years.
The keys that you point out in this post are very REAL and important in this time of challenge and change. Getting up at the same time, exercise, eat a healthy breakfast and move into your day with thoughtfulness.
One of the things that is very important to me is my daily “to do” list. I use a legal pad and write it down!! The tasks might be simple – like call Sally or thaw meat for dinner; or the tasks could be large in scope – finish taxes or start working on the next book.
At the end of the day, rather than beat myself up over what I didn’t get done, I just transfer the “undone” tasks to tomorrow. Because, as Scarlett O’Hara said – “tomorrow is another day”.
Jill Stocking says
Thank you for this great article. I do love to read and practice this everyday, I have followed you for 2-3 yrs now, and you have changed my out look on life! Such good words to live by here, I wish all of the world knew you.
Thank you, Joshua. This is great advice and a needed reminder. This blog is a lifeline for me… :)
Thank you! We appreciate your positivity and perspective.
Glenda Fitzgerald says
Thank you so much for this email & the encouraging & uplifting content. You have impacted my life in many ways, from resetting a room at the end of the day, to a much cleaner, organized kitchen to reducing the number of waste in my home by not renewing magazines because your Simplify mag is the best. Then, there are your books, I have them all. The biggest impact though is on my checking account balance that has just enough to pay bills with a comfortable cushion for the unexpected. My husband & I have a joint savings account that has quadrupled since I started saving instead of spending. All of this AND I will be a part of the May class. I want to see what else I can learn from you. Thank you, Joshua!
I watched a story about a holocaust survivor on Sunday night. He spent two years alone in an attic. It makes me angry to see people who can’t stay home and aren’t treating this virus situation seriously.
DIXIE JORDAN says
I keep trying to unsubscribe but I still get messages! He never tells how the best way to dispose of the stuff. It is a waste of my time and space on email!
joshua becker says
There is an unsubscribe link clearly marked on the bottom of every email. You can click it any time to stop receiving these blog posts via email.
Love this. I’ve been doing a lot of this already and you just confirmed to me that I’m doing the right thing. Thank you, Joshua!
Thanks, Mr. Becker! God is using you to encourage others….keep on being available! ?
For sure!!! ??
We took early retirement many years ago.There is so much volunteer work I usually do but I miss it.
Thanks, Mr. Becker! God is using you to encourage others. Keep on being available to Him! God bless you and your family. Praying for you now. ?
This was exactly what I needed to hear during week 3 of working remote and staying at home. There is much we can control. Our decisions impact our life and others. Thank you.
A. Mills says
Thank you for this! Great reminders in this unsettling time!
This is the most enlightening
Words I’ve read! Thank you for making ppl more calm aware and take a one day at a time
Tell your family I will be praying for y’all and the world also
Deborah Ferris says
I really like this message! We have so many things we can control in a positive way. I continue to pursue a meaningful life even in isolation. I am busy all day. I maintain my schedule for sleeping and getting up. When I feel stressed or can’t sleep, I meditate. One of my goals is to provide delicious, healthy comfort food every evening so we have something to look forward to.
Stay safe and healthy.
Jhodie King says
Great article!! I only realised the impact and importance of this yesterday.
I’m finding that cleaning with a bleachy cloth (squirt of bleach in hot water) is helping me to feel more in control. I’ve never given this any thought before, but as you say, it’s taking control where we can, and it feels very reassuring!
Thankyou for your fab articles x
Thank you for being a positive messager. (as a writer/editor, I’m allowed to make words up, and as a rebel, to break the ending a word with ‘up’ rule. and introducing me to who I am, a minimalizer.