Money: What Can You Actually Control?

apples on the tree
It’s possible to set up good growing conditions, but you can’t actually control the fruit.

Money: What Can You Actually Control?

Part of the stress of money is that you can’t fully control it. Money will always be dependent on outside circumstances. But some things related to money can be controlled. Seeing which is which can be helpful.

What I Can and Can’t Control

I can’t control if someone actually buys or not. But I can control how I present what I am selling. I can control what I choose to sell. I can control how much market research I do. I can control how organized I am. I can control how many people I contact.

I can’t control if someone hires me for a job or not. But I can control how well I write my resume. I can control what jobs I apply for. I can control what skills I become proficient at. I can control how many jobs I apply for. I can control if I ask for help in my job search or not.

I can’t control if an investment goes up or down. But I can control who I choose to help me with investments. I can control how diversified my portfolio is. I can control how much I save. I can control whether choose conservative or high-risk investments.

I can’t control that I need food, clothing, and shelter. But I can control which types of food, clothing, or shelter I spend my money on. I can control how many people I share these expenses with. I can control whether I look for extra sources of income. I can control how I budget my money for these expenses.

Using This Information To Do The Work

If you like doing The Work of Byron Katie on any stressful subject, then doing The Work on money stress is natural. Looking at what I can control and what I can’t control around money can be helpful in finding stressful thoughts to question.

If I see something that I can’t control and I want to control it, I can question the want, or need, to control it. This is where I am arguing with reality, which always causes stress.

If on the other hand, I see something that I can control and I’m not doing it, I can question my reasons for not doing it. These are my resistance thoughts that keep me from even trying.

Here Are A Few Examples

  • Paying rent – Question your desire to control what you can’t control: “I don’t want to pay rent, is it true?” And question any resistance to doing what you can control: “I don’t want to move, is it true?” “I don’t have time to look for a better place, is it true?” “People will think less of me if I downgrade, is it true?”
  • Looking for a job – Question your desire to control the outcome; “I need them to hire me, is it true?” And question any resistance to doing what you can control: “I don’t feel like looking for ways to improve my skills, is it true?” “I don’t have time to apply to more than one job, is it true?” “I don’t want to ask for help finding a good job for me, is it true?”
  • Selling something – Question your desire to control the outcome: “I want them to buy it, is it true?” And question any resistance to doing what you can control: “I have studied the product enough, is it true?” “I don’t want to research the market, Is it true?” “I don’t want to rethink my presentation, is it true?” 

Just Seeing What You Can and Can’t Control May Be Enough

Awareness is everything. When I see that I’m trying to control something that I can’t control, I may stop trying to fight reality as soon as I see it. But if I persist, that’s what The Work is for. 

The Work can hold you when you’re attached and allow you to slowly look at it more objectively. The Work is a patient, gentle process that can give space for the mind to see new points of view.

Learn How to Question Any Thought

Join us for The Work 101 online course (Apr 11- Jun 12) to learn how to question even thoughts that the mind is deeply attached to. The registration deadline is Wednesday, so sign up today.

Have a great week,
Todd

“For some of us, life is controlled by our thoughts about work and money. But if our thinking is clear, how could work or money be the problem? Our thinking is all we need to change. It’s all we can change. This is very good news.” Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change The World

Further reading: Is There Any Shame in Losing Money?

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.