Keep Calm and Take Fucking Control
23 September 2020
So many sayings become diluted over time, usually from misuse, overuse and misunderstanding.
“Keep Calm and Carry On”, a phrase from a stylised second world war poster, was much used in the naughties. A powerful message with a lot of meaning – from a difficult time – was rediscovered and reduced down so that we could buy a beach towel, mouse mat and a mug saying “Keep Calm and Drink Tea”.
Fast forward to 2020, with a Coronavirus pandemic, and it’s a phrase that could mean so much right now. But in reality, it probably wouldn’t. People (and the media) are far too busy stirring up shit against each other so that they can sell our clicks and attention to advertisers.
At a time when we should be crying out for unity and communal support (and that doesn’t mean clapping the NHS for 2 minutes a week), so many people are looking for (impossible) concrete answers and someone to tell them what to do (with any degree of assurance).
There is confusion, division and uncertainty.
Talk about being “out of your comfort zone”,
whether you like it or not!
The thing is, all of these sayings are fundamentally meaningful, it’s just 100% up to you how to take them on board, who you listen to, who you ignore and how you frame the saying for yourself so that you own it.
It’s about the choices you make and the decisions you stick with. And that all starts in your head.
And that’s the key – you can NOT control everything in your life. But there are some things you can control.
Control the Controllable
Listen to elite sportspeople, and they will tell you that there is a hell of a lot you can not control. You can never train to win; you can only prepare yourself to be in optimum condition for a specific event at one particular moment in time.
For those of us who are somewhat ‘less elite’ than others, this translates as focusing on what is achievable and controlling our environments to maximise a positive outcome.
There is a great example on the Sporting Edge Podcast (Episode 1) about a guy looking to up his running regime. He started keeping his phone / alarm deep inside his running shoe, with all his kit laid out, at the other end of the bedroom. To turn it off in the morning, he has to come into contact with all his running gear. It sets a trigger to make it MORE possible he’ll run.
This approach requires the ability to set some goals but also for you to display a determined application. No-one can do that for you, so maybe stop waiting for the magic ‘day’ to start. Do it now.
Talking of goals, big ones are good, but you need to break them down.
You will need regular evidence that you are moving forward to remain motivated, because let’s face it, most goals seem a long, long way away.
We often forget when we see a person achieving something big in their life, whether it’s someone winning a world-class race or a person losing a certain amount of weight on our social media streams, that it’s not all been about the glory being reported. It’s just as much [for that person] about patience and attrition; including some hard, lonely days on the journey.
In the words of elite cycling coach, Sir Dave Brailsford, (on the same podcast) Motivation is not the same as commitment.
So, why not choose to take control?
Keep calm, carry on, and learn to dominate your comfort zone to choose where you push it.