You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

–Marcus Aurelius

 

I’m often reminded of the wisdom we all possess when talking with kids, including my daughter. She was troubled by how often another girl in her class was awarded “Outstanding Owl” by her teacher. It’s the highest honor a student can achieve in a given day and, let me tell you, they covet each and every “O-O” bestowed upon them.

 

But Ella didn’t think the other girl deserved all the recognition. And she thought the teacher was overlooking her. It wasn’t fair. It made her angry with the other student, even her teacher.

 

Until she realized that it didn’t matter if the other girl was recognized more than her or not. It didn’t matter whether the teacher noticed her own behavior or not. What truly mattered was whether she felt like she was trying her best. All she could control was her own attitude and effort.

 

Focus on the inputs, not the outputs. That includes your self-talk, your judging of others and your emotional attachment to what did or didn’t happen, and what may come next. Take a deep breath and stop with the mind games. You don’t control 99% of all the things you worry about, and that worry is limiting your power to do good in the world.

 

Just ask Ella. She chose to stop seeing slights against her and they disappeared.