By Andrew D. Wittman, PhD
“The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control.” John Wooden
Worry is paralyzing. It’s an insidious and treacherous malady. Worry can be defined as focusing on the things we have no control over. Focus is possibly the single most important factor in achieving Peak Performance, and it can only be attained through Mental Toughness. Wasting energy, physical, mental or emotional, on anything outside the scope of our control, is one the biggest issues clients need help to overcome. It’s a self-perpetuating downward spiraling cycle, and it takes an enormous effort to shut off, once it starts.
As a trainer, for high-threat diplomatic security contractors and agents, teaching students that focusing on what you can control is paramount. This is the only way to mitigate and manage the risks the protective team takes, not to mention the safety of the principal. Do everything you can do, double and triple check it, and then do the mission. Is every mission a success? Nope, but if the team has focused their efforts on everything that they can control, then they can sleep well, knowing there was nothing left undone.
Spend your time, energy, and resources on those things in life you can control. One of my favorite quotes is from Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” I like to take it a step farther, chance favors the prepared, and being prepared means focusing on the things you can control, not worrying about the stuff you can’t. The rest is up to “Chance”, which favors those who took the time to prepare, not worry.