The Only Thing You Control

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I waited, impatiently for my computer to turn on.

It was 11 pm and I had no story written.

But my laptop didn’t care, sitting there lifeless.

I was laying on my mattress, thumb-typing words together on my cell phone.

Trying to write my way to an idea.

In hindsight, writing in a notebook would’ve been easier.

But that’s beside the point, I guess.

Nonetheless, dead-tired, I kept tapping.

Midnight struck and I was still struggling to piece together a coherent sentence.

I glared at my computer.

It had surpassed critical condition.

It was dead.

Gone.

No more.

(Later, I’d discover, my hard drive had crashed (and I was at the risk of losing all my pictures from Costa Rica and the places I’d traveled. And worse, all my writing. All book drafts and ideas and all 200,000 words I’d typed this year!)).

I could’ve cried.

I was not even halfway into my 56 MORNINGS project — a project that I was supposed to deliver on, every day for 56 days straight.

With a defunct Macbook, my only means for submitting writing would be through my phone.

And on this particular night, under these conditions, I did not want to write.

Complaining about it felt like a better idea.

Calling Apple and having a word with them – a few four-letter ones, felt like a better idea.

But instead of losing myself in the panic, I calmed.

I thought to myself, “What if I did have the power to make the best of this situation?”

I made a decision. To write, regardless.

Chomping at a chocolate bar, I gathered what energy I could and I wrote. I wrote, (got some long, effective blinks in) and I wrote, and around 2ish in the morning, I published the story and collapsed.

This was how badly I wanted it.

Or rather, this was how much I wanted to avoid failure.

Therein this moment, I learned something very valuable.

No matter where we are, what we’re going through, or how we’re interpreting a moment, we still possess the power to change.

No, we might not control our circumstances but we always control our reaction to those circumstances.

You only control what you do, how you react, and what story you tell yourself about it.

The rain will always come.

Whether we are high or low.

Yes, it might be less than favorable. And your waves of doubt may feel ten feet high. But we all must recognize what we have inside is bigger than what threatens our peace.

We have the power to overcome, over and over, and over again.

The next morning, I awoke to a career-high in typos. It absolutely horrendous.

But what I had endured the previous night overrode any shame or feeling of defeat.

The entire conundrum was a blessing though.

It reminded me of what I’m capable of.

Of what we’re capable of, against the odds.

It also reminded me to backup and save everything to the cloud.

My laptop self-destructing; I had no control over that.

Effectively, all I could control was myself.

As in, I could control my reaction to the setback and how I would move forward.

This was a prime motive behind my 56 MORNINGS project.

To live with more intention.

To not be swayed by the ups and downs of the day-to-day.

To gain and garner more control over what we control.

Some of us are just existing, powerless, passengers of life.

Others — those of us who seek out life with intention — are living.

Be amongst the living.

Be in control of what you can control.


Photo by Favour Omoruyi on Unsplash

 

I am an author, traveler, and lover of all plantains.