Mens agitat molem

Years ago I worked in LA, in the airport area of Inglewood. Next door to the office was an Exxon station, run by an older Egyptian man. We’d often exchange a few words when I’d fill up the tank. I recall one day pulling in to the station in a foul mood, whatever had happened at the office had left me seething, and it must have shown. My friend looked at me and asked what the matter was. Brushing it aside, I said it was nothing, just the the weather that was making me feel that way (overcast and rainy–an atypical LA day..). He looked at me through his heavy black rimmed glasses, shook his head sadly, and said, “That’s the one thing you can’t control” and shuffled off.

I remember that brief exchange, long ago as it was–you never know when you’ll trip over a nugget of wisdom. Of course he was right. All your behaviour can be controlled, or modified. All within your control, not through the elements around you.

I’m asked consistently on how the “market” will be this year. I know no more than anyone else, but try to posit a thoughtful and measured response. But that is not the important stuff.

What counts is what you have control over; how you spend your time, with whom, where, doing what. Forget the doom and gloom about the economy, forget about the new Hampshire primary, forget about the Russian election and Iran’s sabre rattling. You can’t control them, and such things are not important to your day to day existence.

What can you control? Your behaviour and attitude; your work ethic and your words; your presentation and image; your manner and deportment; your mental and physical well-being; your negativity or optimism, your smile or frown. All within reach. Think bountiful, not threadbare. Think opportunity, not disaster.

As Cy Coleman once wrote:

The best is yet to come and won’t that be fine
You think you’ve seen the sun but you ain’t seen it shine

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