Control the Controllables

Suppose that each day you wake up you are given a matchbook with 20 matches inside. Together, they represent all of your energy for the day. Every time you want to focus on something, you burn a match and are now left with one less than you had before. Once your matches are out, you can’t get any energy back. If you focus on things that are outside your control, you have less energy for things you can control -- Things that can actually move the needle on your performance. - Idea from Chasing Excellence

Matchbook demonstrating our energy

Each of us has 20 matches per day, how we use those matches determines the outcomes in our lives

What Are Uncontrollables?

Uncontrollables are events that you don’t have a direct effect on. Right now there isn’t much of a better example than Covid-19. So many of us spend way too much time stressing over what’s happening in the news that we forget all about what we can actually control to better ourselves and keep ourselves safe.

Trust me, I agree that it is important to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world, but all you have control over is what you do to help the cause. There’s no sense burning valuable matches getting worked up over the increasing cases of the virus.

In sports, uncontrollables could be anything from a ref blowing a call, how other athletes are performing, change in weather, equipment malfunctions, shark attacks, or even getting heckled by a fan in the middle of your backswing (MASHED POTATOES!). There are a limited number of things athletes can truly control, so it is important to establish these early on and work to cut everything else out and make these your focus.

Control What You Can Control

What do I have Control Over?

Athletes have control of their performance by utilizing these 5 factors: Training, sleep, mindset, nutrition, and recovery. That’s it. Everything else can be cut out of the picture. When we talk about health in general, we swap out recovery with relationships because social and mental health are just as crucial, but these are the factors I have found athletes need to maximize to increase performance results, all the while, not having a worry in the world about the things they cannot change.

Inside each controllable, there are habits that you have complete control over. Take recovery for example. You could speed up your recovery by foam rolling before and after a workout/practice or you could have a scheduled bodywork or muscle stim session. Mindset might include things like meditation, visualization, reading, or other character-development exercises. Each facet of control has specific actions that can be taken to improve the specific area. Our job is to maximize each factor in order to move the needle on our performance. Remember the Theory of Marginal Gains talked about in the Power List Blog. It’s the exact same idea, just put into action.

Control the Controllables Performance Graph

Factors of Performance

Control the Controllables Health Graph

Factors of Health

Not Everything’s About Athletes

Start with your ultimate goals in mind and move backwards from there and dig deep to find out the things you should be doing on a micro level that will add up to crush all your goals and find your ideal self. If your life goal is to be the best radio host in your city and build your own high selling brand, your factors of performance should look a little different than an NFL football player. What are the high achievers in that field doing to get to the level they have gotten to? A radio host might have to focus on things like marketing, networking, knowledge of current events, and public speaking. They might go out to charity events within their community to network or read a newspaper every morning to catch all the important events they may need to talk about later in the day. All they can control is the specific things that go into mastering their craft. Of course, success isn’t guaranteed, but maximizing each of these variables sure gives you a better chance against somebody who didn’t have the drive to do it.

Whatever the things that you can control in the aspects of life that are important to you are, it’s super important to grab them and squeeze the living hell out of them while ignoring all of the uncontrollables trying to sway you off your path to success.

Tying Up Loose Ends

It’s important to remember that we only have control over how we prepare-for and respond-to a particular event. We have no control over what that event may be, the officials, the equipment, the weather and everything else that may make conditions less than ideal, but knowing that we have done everything we can do to prepare for it gives peace of mind in and of itself. There’s no point in stressing over uncontrollables.

Our goal at Sled Dog Development is to get our community to understand that we can only control certain things in our lives and everything else has to get cut out to reach our full potential. Once we find the particular things we have control over, we’ve gotta find ways to maximize each factor to be our best self. Thank you all for sharing in our belief and buying into this important reality. Look to take these lessons and start applying them right away.

Random Dude at a Fancy Computer

This particular gentleman seems like he has some sort of control over something. This is just a stock photo though so I could easily be wrong.

Own The Week With Ozzy

Talk doesn’t mean much to me if there is nothing you can actually do about it, so I’m going to lay out some actions that you can take this week to find AND maximize the controllables that will help you find success. First off, I want you to think about or write out 5 skill sets or performance metrics that super-high achievers in your field share (For athletes these are training, sleep, nutrition, mindset, and recovery). Then, write out specific things you can and can’t control in each area. Make a conscious effort this week to ignore any uncontrollables that continue to come into your life, and at the same time, complete the tasks that you have control over and know will contribute to future success.

If you need ideas for what actions you could take to maximize your gains in any particular performance metric or just want to bounce some thoughts back and forth, connect with me on Instagram @OzzyStrength where I am most active and readily available to help you out. Also, scroll down and join our Sled Dog Sunday email squad, a tool used by high-achievers in tons of different areas all wanting to better themselves. Weekly blog reminders and tips to stay on top of your goals as well as updates from our team sharing exclusive deals and content not offered on our website.