Published on March 16, 2021

How to Control the Uncontrollable In Life

How to Control the Uncontrollable In Life

A lot can change in a year, can’t it?

Could we have guessed how out of control life could feel?

Looking back, do you wish you’d appreciated your life more or wish you’d taken a different path?

The pandemic has attacked every part of what it means to be human. A WHO study showed that the pandemic has disrupted or stopped critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for support increases.[1]

With a long road ahead, we need to fill our heads with good stuff to support us (not the endless bad news and devastation that stand to monopolise our lives).

On top of the global deaths, financial stress and isolation, the coronavirus has caused a surge of divorces in the United States, China, Britain and Sweden.[2]

Even before the pandemic, mental health issues were a massive drain on the world economy costing $1 trillion each year in lost productivity.[3]

So, when you face something that’s out of your control, what can you do?

1. Understand that you could be suffering from a lack of control and not knowing what it’s doing to you.

If you experience any of the following, a lack of control could be impacting your personal and professional life, your happiness and even your success.

  • A need to gossip and find out what everyone else is thinking.
  • Reduced productivity at work or at home (or both.)
  • Unable to drop a subject or walk away from a discussion/argument.
  • Overworking and burnout.
  • Micromanagement.
  • Illness – physical and mental.
  • Exhaustion.
  • A feeling of Them and Us mentality – “People don’t get it!”
  • Defeatism.
  • Lack of creativity.
  • A lack of interest in hobbies and chores.
  • Feeling angry and resentful.
  • Stress.

These are just some of the things that a lack of control can do to you.

2. Ask yourself: Is it really true?

Start with you and what you think. It’s not an easy thesis to appreciate or accept, however, the way you see the world, shapes your world. So if you feel like you’ve no control, then that is the way the world will be.

Look around you, everything you can see started as a thought in a human’s head. That screen you look at, the shape, color, design were conscious decisions people made.


It’s hard to see the connection between what we think and what we get. If you’ve read my books, you will have read about negative spirals (and positive ones).

Take a moment to think about something that upsets you, that feels totally uncontrollable. Use the pandemic as your example – or something personal to you)

Now create a spiral like this one:

    For each bubble, write a feeling, an emotion, an action, or result. There is no set pattern to this. Write what feels natural to you.

    Notice how there is an arrow after the last bubble?

    That’s because unchecked a negative spiral can spiral out of control, keeping you trapped, feeling bad and getting poor results.

    We can’t magically make the issue disappear, but we can control how we feel about it.

    You don’t need to know how you will do this, but acknowledging how you see the world and what it does to you physically, emotionally and mentally, you can then decide “I’d like something better than this!”

    3. Create a mental health tool kit.

    I recommend people create a mental health tool kit.[4]

    For me, I like learning, so to boost my own, I’ve learned a new practice: Dialectical behavior therapy.[5] In DBT, you learn the first thing to do when things are too much for you is to R.E.S.T – relax, evaluate, set an intention and take action.
    Work out something that makes you stop in your tracks. Maybe it’s a song, playing hide and seek with the dog, mediation or something else. What might it be? Something where you stop thinking.

    It’s difficult to alter what you do if you are entrenched in what life looks like, so take a moment for you. You don’t need to sit on a mountain cross legged saying “Om” to find a minute of inner peace.


    4. Challenge what you know to be true.

    Working from home has featured in many coaching sessions often with clients stating there’s “Nothing I can do about this” or (my pet hate) “It is the way it is.” When I hear this statement, I know that this is often the root cause of why people are experiencing issues and suffering.

    You need to challenge what you believe to be true. Statements like:

    • I must work that many hours to get it all done.
    • Everyone is stressed out, there’s nothing that we can do about it.
    • It will be better when the pandemic is over – we’ve just got to put up with it.

    These are signs that you need to challenge what you believe.

    You don’t try to stop the sun from rising, why? Because you know it to be out of your control.

    Do you try to get out of the way of a stampeding bull? Yes, but why? Because you believe you have control.

    These are obvious examples but it’s not always obvious. In life, the statements that take away your control are likely to be more subtle and are the statements that no one pays attention to. So, learn to!

    5. Remind yourself there’s another way.

    To change what you get, you must change what you think. So before you get to the next strategy, what do you need to be true What do you need to believe?

    This is called reframing. The ability to find potential in the harshest of situations. It takes practice but if you persevere, you can find something good in anything and it will help you have more control of your thoughts. More control of your thoughts leads to better thoughts and better actions and results.

    For instance:

    • I miss going out – becomes – I’ve saved so much money.
    • I miss working in the office – becomes – I don’t miss that commute and I adore having hugs from the children/partner/dog/cat in between meetings.
    • I feel isolated – becomes – I am learning to appreciate my own company and the person I am.

    At this stage, you don’t need to believe it is true, you just need to be able to reword your thoughts.

    6. Let’s go on holiday!

    This is a strategy that is a powerful way to honor the person you are and not try and make changes in life by copying others. That approach doesn’t always work because you are unique.

    Imagine I was taking you on holiday in 5 hours time. All paid, anywhere in the world you like, no pandemic, just fun, relaxation, excitement, adventure; whatever defines your perfect holiday we leave in 5 hours time. What do you do now?


      For some, they tell me they’d panic “I can’t be ready in 5 hours time!” others would say “I’ve got my credit card and passport let’s go!”

      What is your natural response?

      Honor that.

      Whether you’re a list writer – go for it and worry about it later, or get everyone involved and plan kind of person. Think what process you would use.

      Use this information to help you understand what you need to do to be able to make a difference to how you feel.

      When you get stuck as often happens when an issue is too close to us, consider something you excel at, and how you migrate those skills. This is a strategy I teach, because the more you can understand about your natural way of handling life, the better the results you can achieve.[6]

      7. Turn your brain around.

      Remember that as you create solutions to the way you think and what actions you will take, your brain is going to prove you right regardless. If you say 1 + 1, your brain proudly jumps in with 2!

      The disadvantage of this is that it stops you from finding new better ways of working since your brain wants to keep you safe – believing you’ve done all you can and there’s nothing more that can be done.

      Imagine you had a magic wand that can fix the uncontrollable in any way with no restriction on cost, time and skill, what would you do?

      Ask yourself questions like:

      • “And what would that give you?”
      • “And why would you benefit from that?”
      • “And what would that lead to?”

      A great example of this in action was someone struggling with working from home. Working longer hours, they were exhausted and felt like quitting. Eating poorly and helping the children with their homework was the final straw.


      They felt like they had no life and couldn’t see it changing. They held on firmly to the belief that they had to wait for the pandemic to go to have “their life back”. This took all their control away and ensured they would be stuck for an exceedingly long time.

      Using this process, they joked they’d have a housekeeper, a nanny, a therapist on hand for massages and a chef. Their bank balance wasn’t suddenly the size of the rich and famous so this wasn’t an option. However, it enabled them to see that in their life they were making all the sacrifices and no one else’s life had altered!

      What madness to assume you have to do it all? They started asking for help and getting the family involved. And now they work a lot less hours and even manage to stay awake in the evenings to watch a film or read a book, which leads us onto the next point.

      8. Share your goals.

      If you’ve had enough of a situation, trying to fix it on your own will always be harder. We’ve all heard the saying a problem shared is a problem halved. The process of talking about something helps bring it to the front of our mind and work out what we want instead.

      So tell people what you need and ask for help.

      By now, you can see that control is not always about control but your perception of it. When you bring everyone together to a common goal that they feel invested in, they are more likely to persevere and keep going for each other. So don’t be shy to say:

      • On Thursdays, I need 2 hours to myself to work on yoga/gardening/me time.
      • I need everyone to choose a night when they will cook.
      • I need you to help me with this once a week so that I don’t end up doing too much and exhausted, unable to find the time to recharge before the working week.

      These aren’t always comfortable conversations, but they help restore a sense of control if boundaries are respected and enforced. Enforced sounds like a harsh word, however, to restore a sense of control in any environment, everyone needs to create the rules and lives by them.

      A team of researchers from the University of Illinois studied occupational stress and well-being, those who have greater “boundary control” over their work and personal lives were better at creating a stress buffer that helped protect them from falling into a negative-rumination trap.[7]

      After a few weeks of questioning if the boundaries are working, don’t be frightened to go through the process again and see what’s working and what needs to alter.

      Bottom Line

      Lastly, remember nothing stays the same.

      This golden nugget is essential knowledge we all need when we lack control. Good or bad, everything changes.

      More Tips on Taking Charge of Life

      Featured photo credit: Riccardo Mion via



      More by this author

      Mandie Holgate

      International Coach, Best Selling Author & Speaker inspiring people around the world to success.

      50 Words of Encouragement for Moving Forward 7 Types Of Emotional Baggage And How To Deal With Them How to Control the Uncontrollable In Life 6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them) Self Awareness Is Underrated: Why the Conscious Mind Leads to Happiness

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      Last Updated on September 16, 2021

      How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

      How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

      Doesn’t matter whether it’s a 9 to 5 job or you work in shifts; is it a satisfactory job?

      Ain’t you tired of the monotony or should I ask:

      Did you ever feel like quitting your unfulfilling job or changing your unfulfilling career?

      Realizing your materialistic needs is important but do you love your means to earn bread?

      Too many questions… I’m sure you want to answer none.

      But don’t worry, most people are on the same leaky boat!

      Wondering what’s wrong?

      As a teenager, you dream; you aspire. You are exuberant enough to chase those crazy dreams.

      But as you grow older, the zeal seems to fade away. That drop-down in intensity level sets a foundation for a compromise.

      You don’t persist with even one dream.

      What’s worse, you give different names to your choice to back out. You blame people and situations as per your convenience.

      Alas! those vivid dreams lose to your sub-conscious mind.

      But before you get disheartened, here’s an interesting fact:

      The real Col. Sanders was an entrepreneur who didn’t become a professional chef until he was 40, didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62, and didn’t become an icon until after he sold his company at 75.[1]

      So yes, though it’s tough to quit your tiring job; it’s easier than you think.

      And when you have realized your existing job is not leading to happiness, it’s time to change!

      Desperate for super easy solutions?

      Here’s a list of 19 simple actionable steps to quit your unfulfilling job and follow your aspiring career:

      1. Step out of Your Comfort Zone

      One big reason you are compromising today is your repulsion to challenge the boundaries of your comfort zone. You don’t want to raise the bar.

      You move on subconsciously making emotional adjustments and self-harming sacrifices.

      Not anymore; it’s time to challenge it!

      The clock is ticking and you need to flow with time. That is how you welcome the new. It is one of the major steps in breaking the monotony of an unsatisfactory job.

      Not sure about stepping out of your comfort zone still? Read this article: Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

      2. Get Rid of the Memories from Your Existing Job

      Most of the times, it is your past which doesn’t allow you to liberate yourself in the present. Your memories from the current job are dominant over your memories you want to create.

      Come on! You are stronger than you think. You need to detach yourself from those sweet-sour memories. Only then, you could take a big leap towards self-realization.


      Here’s the deal:

      A beautiful future awaits you where every moment is so blissful you’ll not recall the past to trigger a memory.

      Learn how to let go of the past: 7 Ways To Let Go Of The Past And Live A Happy Life

      3. Listen to Your Gut

      The problem is everyone has access to the locker of your right-wrong beliefs, but not you. You listen to everyone and lose your conscious decision.

      Why don’t you back yourself?

      If you don’t love what you are doing and you want to quit your unfulfilling job, QUIT.

      Why do you restrict yourself?

      Only you have the answers to your uncertainties. Stop seeking answers from others. Ask yourself receptively. You’ll unlock all the mysteries about yourself.

      Here’s some advice for you: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice

      4. Get Excited to Fail

      Sounds silly? It’s not:

      Success is an elusive mask covering many lifeless faces of failures.

      In case you don’t know, if Thomas Edison hadn’t failed, he might not have become America’s most well-known and prolific innovator.[2] And there are even more examples like this: 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

      The pursuit of your dream career is full of struggles and failures. And unless you are ready to fail many times, you are ineligible to succeed.

      Only if you settle with your current job which is unsatisfying will you be a real failure. The excitement to fail on the other side is unmatched. Worth a shot!

      5. Disallow Social Environment to Control You

      If there were no cameras, every soul would tell an interesting story.[3]

      I’m sorry but your social environment is bullying you. You have become a puppet to people.

      People define your journeys and destinations, and you are losing big time.

      Wake up call!

      Cut the chord with your social environment which is not only polluting your personal but also your professional environment: Managing Your Social Network Addiction

      6. Do Not over Analyze, Execute

      Intelligent people are particularly prone to the overthinking that can cause analysis paralysis and lead to a failure to make decisions or take action.[4]

      Yes, you are intelligent but you need to be smarter! Never allow your intelligence to become a hindrance in quitting your unfulfilling job.

      Thinking and planning are important aspects of a visionary, but never allow overthinking to take a toll on the execution.

      Take small steps rather than thinking about giant leaps. Divide your goal into small targets; make sure you achieve them.

      Here’s how: Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today

      7. Make Your Family a Part of Your Dream

      If you are fortunate enough to live with your family, you owe responsibilities towards them. After all, they are your father, mother, siblings, life-partner.

      Maybe your dream career is something they haven’t heard about, but relax. Don’t expect magic overnight!

      Be courageous enough to make them understand why you want to quit your unsatisfactory job.

      You may fail big time but don’t lose hope. This is the absolute test of your endurance.

      When you convince them, you don’t have to search for a support system in your failures. And a few applauds from them in your small wins keep you up and running.

      8. Spend Time with Like-Minded People

      To challenge the now and dive into the new, I’m afraid you’ll not find many people standing by your side.

      But that’s fine!

      Keep a close watch on people with whom you spend your precious time.

      What you need to ask yourself:

      Are these people your motivators or the ones who constantly try to put you down?

      When you get an answer, trust it and go with the flow. You may lose people but you’ll discover yourself.

      9. Prioritize Inner Happiness over Monetary Happiness

      Possibly, there’s a big fat cheque between your unsatisfactory job and your aspiration. The choice is difficult!

      You’ll agree money is not everything but the first thing to be happy. But if your job is not reviving and is killing your happiness, what are you waiting for?

      Maybe your dream career isn’t as materialistically rich as your current job, but assuredly, it’ll make you spiritually content.

      You have found out what will make you happy, so just go out there and get it: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

      10. Learn to Say No

      ‘No’ is just a two-letter word, ever measured its intensity?

      It is loud enough to make you a warrior. However, we don’t use it often.

      Being on the receiving end of a no can be brutal, but saying yes to everything isn’t going to make up for that.[5]

      Learn this art to quit your unfulfilling job! Not only with others but use it often with yourself. Any denial or a small sacrifice for your own good is a gateway to self-love. It boosts your self-esteem to disallow the negative influences to entice you. You find reasons to listen to yourself.

      Leo Babauta has some suggestions on this: The Gentle Art of Saying No

      11. Accompany Yourself in Your Alone Time

      You encounter many moments in your daily life when there is no one around. What do you do in that alone time?

      Either you retreat to the past or you drive to the future. What you don’t realize is your present requires an introspection.


      This ignorance is making you incomplete. Neither you are self-aware nor there is a clarity in your thought process.

      The secret is when you spend alone time with yourself, your dream becomes your mission, and the inroads make way for beautiful roads. Your journey doesn’t need a navigator. And your questions have answers.

      Use your alone time to do some self reflection: How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

      12. Feel Fortunate for the Blessing

      When most of us are fighting for the necessities of survival; you discovered your dream.

      Where most of the people don’t get solitude time, you know what makes you blissful.

      Yes… you are fortunate! How could you dump this wonderful opportunity?

      There are many people who might replace you in your unfulfilling job. But make sure no one replaces you in the work you do the best.

      13. Never Lie to Yourself

      Confidence is imperative but if there is no transparency in your thought process, only confidence is a big disaster.

      Self-acceptance is supreme in pursuance of your dream career.

      You need to acknowledge your current standing and future goals.

      You need to be brutally honest to yourself. Only then, there’s a clarity in your thought process.

      Don’t blindly run towards your dream’s realization; walk on your aspiration-driven path consciously.

      14. Become an Inspiration for Others

      Amidst your uncertainties, someone is closely watching your actions and reactions.

      Maybe your close friend or your younger sibling, there’s someone relating to you. They are curious about your next move.

      But what do they seek from you? They silently urge you to take one brave move to open the floodgate.

      Only you can break the shackles of their boring monotony. Because when you execute, they feel happy and liberated like you.

      You become their unsung hero!

      15. Realize Your Current Job Is Saturating You

      Your current job is unsatisfactory. It cannot get worse. It is tiring and boring, it doesn’t release serotonin anymore.

      And you know it!

      You even know your exploration begins only when you quit your current job. What else can motivate?

      Always remember:

      You may do well in your existing job but you will create wonders on the other side. Go all in!

      16. Segregate Your Dream into a Passionate Movement

      You have a dream career in mind. But to follow it, you are not resilient to do what it takes to reach there.

      You lose hope quickly!



      Neither dreaming is enough nor quitting your existing job is easy.

      Only your passionate will is powerful enough to withstand the test of time. Let that fire burn inside you until your dream coincides with reality.

      17. Pen down the Possible Positives

      It’s super easy! But you are probably wondering:

      How could such a small step be beneficial in quitting my unsatisfactory job?

      Yes, it’s a small step but immensely powerful.

      When you list down how quitting your unfulfilling job is a boon, trusting your decision becomes easier.

      Any apprehensions at any point flush out when you recall those jotted positives of leading a dream career.

      18. Break the Rules

      There is no thumb rule or a particular mantra for success. It’s good to have idols. There’s no harm in following them. But what’s wrong is you compare your journey with them.

      What you don’t realize is that you may share the same goal but the approach has to be different.

      Never kill your originality trying to become like them.

      Define your own journey. Never set a rule or a predefined path for success. Break-free!

      19. Presume the Worst-Case Situation

      Try to question yourself:

      What will happen if you quit your unfulfilling job to lead to your dream career?

      Is it your financial stability or an emotional dependency you are losing on? Whatever it is, imagining the worst-case scenario enables you to loosen up.

      It provokes a nothing-to-lose attitude where there is no fear of anyone and anything. You move forward wholeheartedly with authority and devotion.

      Your self-motivation is at cloud nine; you don’t fear the consequences anymore.

      I hope any of these actionable techniques revive the feel you were about to lose.

      Final Thoughts

      You are a blessed soul who knows a couple of things more than most of the people:

      Your current job is unfulfilling, and that you have a career-oriented dream.

      But knowing about these isn’t enough!

      Set yourself free as an individual and dive into the competition where your only competitor is you.

      Life is too short to regret! Now when you have tasted the feeling of your chips being down, you deserve the magical feel to be on the other side of the table.

      Always remember:

      You are wrong only till the time you are struggling. But if you keep moving and taking those hard punches, one day you’ll realize your dream. With you, people realize everything about you were (and are) right!

      More Useful Career Advice

      Featured photo credit: Leonardo Yip via



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