There is a sign on Michael’s daughter’s office wall that reads, “I’m in charge of how I feel and I feel like having a snack.” The idea of taking charge of or owning your emotions and ultimately your life is not a terribly new concept, although the self-help experts have seem to be capitalizing on it more frequently of late. One who we will not identify here recently wrote “You must be present in every moment to have any effect on your life.” Another says, “In order to take charge of your life you must say no to help.”
There is good reason to be present in the moment, but you can’t be 100% of the time. You will have down moments, insecure thoughts, and may deliberate the what ifs of some actions or decisions. You shouldn’t feel bad about that. You can be in charge of your life and still recognize you are not the smartest one in the room and take advantage of the one who is and ask questions for help in understanding what you are still learning, and that is healthy.
Recently Michael was asked during a presentation would he rather be the funniest guy in the room or the smartest guy in the room. His answer was, “Nether. The person who strives to be the funniest person, the relief valve, the one always on, is rarely taken seriously and eventually just gets on everyone’s nerves. The one who is always the smartest in the room usually just goes straight to getting on everyone’s nerves. No, I don’t want to be either of those people. I want to be the one who is smart enough to know that in any given room, there will always be someone smarter than me. I want to look to that person to learn something about what is going on there, about life in general, or maybe even about me.”
That is not giving up responsibility for your actions or allowing others to control you. That is controlling the situation to your best advantage to make the most of that situation, the most of those with you, the most of life in general, or maybe even to make the most of you yourself.
He added to his answer, “I can also see times where it wouldn’t hurt to be a little bit of the funny guy. Sometimes the mood needs lightened and someone act as the icebreaker. It is not appropriate all the time in all occasions, but neither is maintaining a consistent serious tone. It’s good to be in charge of yourself but sometimes being in charge means being the ringleader at the circus."
We recently wrote about making time to rest, recover, and reflect as a natural course of daily life. Even the shortest breaks offer recovery time. The process of rest, recovery, and reflection provides rejuvenation for the body and the mind. Our emotional well-being also needs a break. Just as amid the “You can do it!” “Make every moment count,” and “Don’t stop!” exhortations, there comes a time when really, you just need to stop, so too will there be a time when you cannot be present in every moment. And that’s okay. Balance has always been the key to a well-structured life. Asking for help is the healthy thing to do when the alternative is setting off blindly into the unknown. The best thing you can do for yourself is to be in charge of how you feel. And to know that if you feel like having a snack, you’re still doing okay.