What do I mean by that? Well, I just finished watching another of Donald Miller‘s really informative Business Made Simple Daily Videos on How To Control Your Emotions (I’ve included the YouTube video below) – and he makes a lot of really helpful comments. If you’re focused on arguing your point, “winning” the smaller battle, you lose sight of the WAR. And by that, I mean the BIGGER PICTURE.
Now, I’m a generally peaceful person, and I really don’t like talking about war in general, to be honest … but as I mentioned in a previous blog, pushing past my comfort zone helps me grow. So I will say that in this day and age of high emotions and polar opposites, of people finding it difficult to meet in the middle, there’s a temptation to be angry. All the time. I get it. But there’s another way to think about this.
You have an ultimate goal – whatever that goal is. It’s a big, lofty goal. It’s may even be something that would help a lot of people and not just your inner circle. If you get distracted by the small battles happening around you so that you lose sight of that goal … you’ll never reach it. Not only that, but you might cost *other* people the war.
Mr. Miller equates this to a football game where a veteran player is being harangued by a younger player, wanting that veteran to get into an altercation with him so that he can be distracted. But the veteran won’t let himself be distracted. He knows that if he gets a penalty here and now, he might cost his team the game. So he doesn’t give that small battle any attention. He focuses on the bigger picture. He keeps his goal firmly in mind, and he concentrates on that. That concentration – that visualization – keeps him on point.
Now, I’ve certainly been guilty of this distraction myself.
I’ve been Keto for almost three years now. In the beginning of my journey, when I found that this way of eating was the only thing that worked for me, I would talk about it everywhere. I would try to tell people that every ailment under the sun might be cured, if they’d just give this way of life a chance. I imagine it’s similar for people who newly find and adore a particular religion or a particular political candidate. And I understand the compulsion. I HAD it, after all. And nutrition can be a really contentious topic – ESPECIALLY now. But after a couple of years, that need to “spread the word” simply became less and less of a compulsion. Not because I stopped caring. Mostly because I got caught up in some of the little “battles” of trying to explain my position and present logical arguments … that others weren’t really interested in hearing. The drama was simply distracting me. My WAR was actually a pretty personal one. Ultimately, I’m after improving my own overall health. That’s it. Others can do whatever works for them. My larger goal of personal health wasn’t being served by being distracted.
I’m not saying that engaging in respectful discussion of a topic between people who hear one another, isn’t warranted. Not everyone is going to agree and that doesn’t make them bad people. It’s educational to hear other perspectives and have respectful conversations. But when there’s drama involved (name calling, finger pointing, personal attacks… that sort of thing), it’s really not doing your blood pressure any good to engage. And it just might be time to take a step back and look at the “discussion” objectively. Is this serving a purpose of some kind? Is it getting you to your end goal? If not, disengage. You truly do have better things to focus on.
Controlling your emotions doesn’t mean not feeling them. It just means that you don’t let them rule you.
Know what your overarching goal is and keep it in mind as you go through life. And don’t think your overarching goal can’t change. No plan survives contact with the enemy, after all. But if you control your emotions so you can control your focus – it might just help you win your own personal war.