No, You Can’t Do That!

As the author of many self-help articles, I’m writing this piece with one intention only: to help you understand that “no, you can’t always do that” and “no, you can’t control everything in your life.”

This article isn’t meant to be pessimistic or negative-thinking. I wrote it to share this (very positive) truth with you: although there are times when you can’t do that, it’s still possible to feel good about yourself.

You’ll soon understand how not doing that can sometimes be the key to achieving a calm and peaceful life. This isn’t about “going for it” versus “not going for it.” It’s about how to make your life happier, more successful, and achievable. It’s all about how to use—and not waste—your energy.

Here’s my don’t do that list:

Don’t try to control everything in your life. As long as you do, you’ll suffer. Why? Put simply, life is unpredictable. It comes with no certainty, no guarantee, and more importantly, it’s full of uncontrollable events. As someone once beautifully said, “The only certainty in life is uncertainty.” There are some situations in life that you just can’t control or change.

Don’t try to change another person’s attitude. It’s an illusion that you can change others against their will. People will change only when and if they want to—not when you want them to. Changing another’s behaviour is simply a waste of your time and energy. Behaviour and attitudes are rooted in programs within our subconscious mind, and “deleting” these programs (that is, changing a person’s behaviour) isn’t possible merely by asking, or pushing, someone to change.

Don’t live in the past by dwelling on memories of past mistakes. For many of us, this is a real problem: how do I live in the present time and let go of my past mistakes? You need to accept the reality: the only time in which you can take action about something is the present. You can’t undo the past, and you definitely can’t predict the future.

Don’t tolerate an intolerable situation. The ‘situation’ could be a relationship with your partner, family member, or colleague. It could be a job-related problem, or simply your own feelings of jealousy, greed, or selfishness. Whatever the situation is, try to make up your mind before you react. Whether or not to tolerate an intolerable problem is a big decision to make. Whatever your decision, your life, and your health (literally) are in the game, and you you’ll have to live with.

Don’t fall into the “what if” trap. It’s a destructive force, and, once it takes hold, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate. I know…it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, but if you want real change, you’ll have to develop more positivism than negativism. Don’t just read one self-help book after another in an effort to try to change yourself—that won’t accomplish much real change. Find your own way to stop your “what-if thinking.”

Finally, it’s important to remember that when you’re no longer able to change a situation, you can always change yourself. Now that’s something you definitely can do!