Focus On What You Can Control

October 18, 2017 John Barrows

There are many things we can’t control in our lives: what people think of us, the internal politics of a customer, and the most notable all the recent crazy stuff that is happening in the news with politics, international issues and the climate. I know I get caught up in all the outside chaos sometimes but what really made me stop and think was the negative impact I saw some of it had on my 7-year-old daughter. So I decided to come up with an acronym to help us both stay focused on what we actually could control: EAT – Effort, Attitude and how we Treat People.


I know I can control my effort. I can decide if I want to get up and make things happen or lay back and let things happen to me. I’d much rather make things happen. I can run the extra mile, make the extra cold call, read the extra blog post, stay the extra hour at work. This extra effort almost always translates to positive results.


I know I can control my attitude. When I wake up in the morning I can decide what type of day I want to have and I can focus on all the positive things around me. If you don’t believe me or think this is easier said than done, I have a simple exercise for you to try. Tomorrow, walk around with a pen and paper and write down every little positive thing that happens to you no matter how small it might seem: someone opened the door for you, a good friend reached out to you that you haven’t heard from in a while, you got that parking spot close to the office, you hit a few green lights on the way to work, a baby smiled at you on the subway, it’s sunny out. Once you focus on the positive you’ll be amazed at how much good you see around you.

It’s about changing your perspective.

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I know I can control the way I treat people. This is a choice we all make every day and with every interaction we have. We can decide to treat people with respect and be a positive influence or we can treat people like crap and add to the negativity. There is too much negativity in the world today, which is why I try to be a positive influence on everyone I interact with. Make someone smile today, buy someone in line a cup of coffee, text someone you haven’t talked to in a while and let them know you’re thinking about them, call a customer just to thank them for their business. You never know what will happen when you make a positive impact on someone’s life.

Now, every morning when I drop my daughter off at school I ask her what can we control today and she proudly says “EAT Daddy! Effort, Attitude, and how we Treat people!” and then she gives me a kiss and we both start the day off right.

Make It Happen!

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