Let’s face it. Most of us like to be in control. Control gives us freedom, power, and confidence that we can steer our course.
As kids head off to college, they’re about to be in the driver’s seat for the rest of their life. Ah, the sweet feeling of “control.” They can’t wait! But is it really that easy? The answer, of course, is “No.”
Soon college students and those heading out into the work force will be free from their parents’ oversight, but much will remain outside of their control. Are they prepared for it? Consider these potential real world examples:
- Their roommate is a disaster
- They just bombed their calculus final—so much for majoring in math!
- Just when they’re about to graduate and search for employment, the economy tanks
- They don’t land the job they desperately wanted
- They don’t care for their new supervisor
- It rains on their wedding day
- A boyfriend or girlfriend announces he or she wants to date other people
- Someone they love is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness
Control? Yeah, right! Although young adults are increasingly becoming more independent, they’ll quickly learn that not even they have control over their lives. Unexpected road bumps and potholes are the norm. When they occur, we all have to deal with each unique situation the best we can. Incidentally, most of the above happened to me!
Basically, we all have two choices. A common approach is to stew about the circumstances and be consumed with self-pity. The other approach is to accept the things you can’t control and make the best out of the situation. You may not like the circumstances, but you work the problem and focus on what you can control. For those who believe in God, it’s also a time of prayer, trust, and faith that things will work out okay. PERSEVERE!
It’s important for young people—for all of us, really—to understand that we have a choice in how to deal with matters beyond our control. For your own sake and for those around you, adopt the second approach. It’s not always easy but it’s far better than the alternative!
How do you handle things when life doesn’t go your way? Do you dwell on the things you can’t control, or can you let them go? How have you taught healthy strategies to the young people in your life … please share your ideas and comments below!