You versus my dog

you my dog and being in control of your life

A few key differences between you and my dog:

  • You wear pants.

  • You can open your own doors.

  • No one carefully picks up your excrement in a plastic grocery bag.

  • You don’t delight in scraps thrown on the floor for you, however delicious they may be.

  • When company comes over, you don’t sit in the living room and lick your own genitals.

(Some of these are assumptions, obviously.)

And the biggest difference:

  • You’re in control of your own life.

That includes not only what you do, but how you respond to the things around you.

My dog has to do exactly what we tell him, when we tell him to do it. He can be happy about it, or he can get put to sleep.

You? Have options.

Consider this quote from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey:

“Between stimulus and response is our greatest power—the freedom to choose.”

What Stephen is saying here is that when something happens (stimulus), before we react (response), we can control what that reaction will be, i.e. we are in charge of how we act and what we choose to do.

So how about these choices:

  • If things aren’t going your way, do you throw up your hands in frustration? Or do you figure out how to change things up?

  • When you hear about how someone else made change in their life, do you think well that would never work for me! Or do you wonder about what parts of their method might work for you?

  • When a person you know acts like a total dope, do you act like a dope right back? Or take the non-dopey high road?

Here’s the thing. People who understand they’re in control of their thoughts, reactions, and actions are more content. They are more productive and more successful.

[This is a common psychological research theme that I’m not even making up - for fun, Google “Locus of Control,” or “Dweck’s Growth Mindset” if you’re not already familiar with these examples of how a sense of control benefits us.]

Today (and maybe all the days that follow), become aware of how you’re responding to the stimuli in your life, and examine whether you could make more productive choices.

Don’t be like my dog.

[FWIW we would almost certainly never get him put to sleep, despite his complete inability to control his emotions and actions.]

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