Self Management

By: BG Chaney, Deputy Adjutant General - Army

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus states that “we are responsible for some things, while there are others for which we cannot be held responsible.” This is to say that if you can find a way to differentiate between what is and what is not under your control, and then to act accordingly, you will be resilient to the psychological stress that can so often roadblock us on our path to achieving our goals. 

As a strategic leader, I frequently draw on this concept for strength and guidance when I begin to feel overwhelmed, or as though things are spinning too quickly out of my control.  Every day I work on improving my ability to differentiate between what is and what is not in my power to control. There are numerous external forces outside of our control, and so we must remember to hold onto our power of how we interact and react to them. Even if we cannot control something, we can choose what level of importance it can have to our lives. We always have the ability to stack and prioritize things by level of perceived significance. As leaders and individuals, we must constantly take stock of what is going on around us, create a hierarchy of priorities, and then take control of events as appropriate.  By learning to manage what you can, you will be more resilient to riding the wave of things that are out of your control.