Being able to face uncertainty without complaint or sorrow sounds like a stoic concept. And even though stoicism is a lot more comprehensive, you can make the argument that letting go of the things you can’t control is one of the overarching themes of stoic literature.
There are so many things in life you have no control over, many of which only bring you down. However, you have control over your own mind. Embracing the list of things you can’t control in life is the most freeing experience in the world.
List Of Things You Can’t Control in Life
If you’ve ever seen the old Disney movie “Ratatouille,” you may remember one of its most famous dialogues — “change is nature.” It’s unnatural for things not to change.
Stop to think about how much has changed from the time you’ve been little to the way you are today. The people you’ve known, the places you’ve visited, society at large, everything has been subject to change.
Technology is replacing humans at work, and the climate might be planning an unpleasant surprise for humanity in the distant future. Nobody’s future can ever be certain in the world we occupy.
You cannot overcome change or let it overcome you. Learning to adapt and improvise as time passes by is the only way ahead.
#2. The Weather
Speaking of change, it’s hard to ignore the weather. Bad weather can throw a wrench in all of your plans, big or small.
Imagine working a 9-5 job for 5 or 6 days a week and making plans for a rejuvenating outing on your day off, only to find yourself facing a rainstorm. Sounds frustrating, right? Now imagine working 10 hours every day, barely making ends meet, and just when you thought your situation was dire enough, a drought strikes and your crops fail.
Both these situations show how different people are affected differently by weather in terms of their means of living and personal desires. The weather is in nobody’s favor. Crying only makes a rainy-day wetter. Screaming only makes a torrid throat dryer.
Traffic is one of those out-of-control variables you face every day. Now there are two ways to deal with traffic. You could lose your temper, break a traffic light, speed, overtake, or yell at people on the street. On some days, these rash reactions might get you where you need to go on time. But it’s not a tenable solution.
A better way is to plan ahead. Your likelihood of making it to appointments on time without hassle or haste consistently increases when you get organized. You can get more organized by setting out early, opting for faster modes of transport like subways and trains, using shortcuts, and discovering new routes.
Note the difference between the two ways of dealing with traffic. One involves reckless self-endangerment while the other involves calmly embracing the situation and preparing for all the worst outcomes.
#4. The Past
Dwelling on past regrets or bad memories is an act of futility that too many people tend to get stuck in. The one thing humans may never be able to tame is time. You cannot reverse it; you cannot go back or change things once they’re done.
If your past is filled with bad memories and regrets, you need to first accept that the past doesn’t change, and you probably won’t forget it either. Wallowing in self-pity can do you no good.
The best way forward is to achieve balance by building better memories and working on your latest goals.
#5. The Future
The future is filled with the unknown. But the best part about the future is that it’s constantly changing and evolving based on your present.
Your decisions today can help you achieve a better tomorrow. In times of stress, you need to stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. The present is the only moment that matters because it’s the one you’re constantly experiencing, and what you have control over.
#6. Other People’s Minds
Do you often worry about what others think about you? Worrying about people’s impressions of you and seeking approval is perfectly normal. Just don’t overdo or overthink it.
While you do need validation to live a normal life as a part of society, this too, like the weather, is far from your control.
People’s impressions and opinions about you can change with their moods. You may not be at your best on a particular day. There will always be people who like you or don’t like you, or go from liking to hating, or hating to liking you. And none of it is remotely within your control when you think about it.
Instead of counting your losses every time you don’t meet someone’s expectations, try to move forward and only count your wins instead. Be yourself and draw people who will like you for you.
#7. Other People’s Happiness
Happiness is quite a vague term if you think about it. We all want our friends, loved ones, and others we know to be happy, but human beings still haven’t fully understood the concept of happiness. The schools of philosophy that broach the subject only grow more and more compartmentalized and varied by the day.
And if that’s not enough, people often don’t have a clear idea of what’s going to make them happy. And you may never be able to make someone as happy as you would like to see them.
#8. Natural Disasters
Nature can be cruel. Sometimes it doesn’t see the difference between weak and strong, good and bad, or important and unimportant. An earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, or plague comes after everyone.
Remember to live life to the fullest each day and count your blessings, which also brings us to the next and final item on this listicle.
#9. Time of Your Death
You never know which breath or which moment will be your last one. The very notion of control ceases to exist once you approach death. At that moment, you can only let go.
And when that time comes, you may still be wishing you did things better. But Having regrets doesn’t make you unsuccessful; it just makes you human.