Control What You Can, And Let The Rest Go

Control What You Can, And Let The Rest Go

We all have things in our life that we desire to change or maybe we wish we would have said or done something different that would change the outcome of a situation. Well, the hard truth is that unless you have direct control over the situation, it likely is out of your control.

As business owners this is a struggle, we want to control every aspect of not only our business but our lives as well. The hardest part of this is that we don’t even realize that’s what we are attempting to do. It’s a natural trait most business owners possess. The trait serves us well in some ways but is also detrimental to our overall success and mental health.

Shakita Ga Nai

I want to talk to you about a Japanese concept, Shakita Ga Nai, translated means “it cannot be helped”. Employing this simple concept in your life may help you find some relief in both your business and your day-to-day.

The concept of Shakita Ga Nai is simple. It means to let go of things you cannot control. The concept is also embodied in the Serenity Prayer.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Letting go is not giving up, or quitting, and if you think that you need to change your mindset. Letting go is really about trust. Trust that the situation is playing out the way it is supposed to; even if that’s not the way YOU want. Trust that God has a plan for you and this situation.

Don’t Accept Things You Can Change

I think I can speak for most business owners, accepting things we cannot change is terribly difficult. I know it is for me. If something isn’t going the way I want personally or professionally, I tend to hyperfocus on a way I can change things to get the outcome I desire.

In many practical ways, not accepting things as they are is beneficial for business owners. We see an issue and we focus on the way to fix it, maybe cutting back expenses or hiring a new employee to fill a void. In this way, we use our ability to problem-solve and make things happen around us that benefit us and drive our lives and business forward.

This is part of what makes a great leader and business owner. Always looking for ways to improve their life, business, and relationships. However, you must learn how to recognize what you can change and what you cannot.

Let Go of What You Can’t Control

Letting go is a hard thing to do. Not just for business owners but for most people. Letting go of an old love, of a conversation that ended terribly, a mistake you made and wish to right. I could keep going on and on. If you don’t let go of these things they live rent-free in your head and will drive you insane.

Let me ask you a few questions. Can you control the speed of the earth’s rotation? No, it’s out of your control. Do you focus on it? Unless you are a scientist, probably not.

So why do we focus on other things we can’t control? Like other people’s values, emotions, or reactions to things. We literally have absolutely ZERO control over these things. I can tell a woman I love her, but if she doesn’t love me back I can’t control that. I can try as hard as I want but I cannot control her feelings toward me. Not all the roses and chocolates in the world can make her love me. So why focus on it? It will only bring pain and hurt to our lives.

An example in the business realm is your best employee quitting. You tried to bargain to keep them but they made up their mind to leave. Do you focus on the fact they left? Do you focus on that you couldn’t keep them? Do you focus on how badly the company will suffer without them? Do you focus on what the business was like when they were here?

Focusing on what you can’t control generally breeds negativity. It is out of your control and try-and-try as you might, you can’t control it. Which may lead you down a rabbit hole of sadness, desperation, guilt, anger, and just general unhappiness.

We hold onto the past and it is inherently negative. We either want to go back there or we want to change something. Well, the past has come and gone and you can’t change it. So how do you practice letting go? First, identify if the situation is even within your control.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to identify if it is.

  1. Who is in direct control of the outcome of this situation? If the answer is “you”, then you can focus your energy on this, and letting go may not be the best idea but don’t go all in just yet. If it is “not you” then this may lead you to begin the thought process of letting go.
  2. Is the decision maker of the outcome willing to work with/compromise with me? If you’re not in direct control, someone else is, if they are unwilling to compromise or work with you on a solution, then you already have your answer, and it’s probably best to let it go.
  3. How truly important is this in my life/business? This is where you need to take a step back and be objective, unemotional, and detached to get a clear picture of the impact this situation has on your life/business. Be really honest with yourself. Is this truly important or is this a molehill you’re making into a mountain?
  4. Have I already poured a lot of my time and effort into changing this outcome? Has it made a difference in the outcome? If you have poured in time and effort and the outcome is changing, then something you’re doing is right, and it may work out for you. If you have poured in and nothing is changing, chances are it’s not going to and you should let this thing go.
  5. What happens if this outcome doesn’t change? Chances are your life will go on. Looking at the reality of this situation not changing, instead of holding onto the hope of the situation changing will bring a sense of relief. Even if it is brief that moment of looking into the future, will give you some insight and you’ll take a bit of the weight off your shoulders.

The Benefits of Letting Go

When you begin to identify things in your life that you are holding onto and come to terms with the hard fact that you can’t change everything, your life will get easier. I promise. You will have these burdens lifted from your shoulders, your mind will be more clear, you will be in a better mood and you will be looking at the future more positively.

So I urge you to simply take a look at your life and identify one small thing that you’ve been holding onto. And ask yourself the above questions. See if you can start to let it go. Envision your life without that thing holding your mind back. Even envisioning that life will bring a sense of relief to some degree. Now start figuring out how to let it go. I can’t give you advice on what you need to do to truly let it go, we’re all different in that regard. Start thinking about ways to let that thing go. Once you start making an effort to let that go, it will slowly start too. You will get the aforementioned benefits one by one.

Make it a goal to identify when you are holding onto something that you cannot change a little quicker and more thoroughly. Before it begins to live rent-free in your head for weeks on end. You’ll find that letting go and having a bit of trust in the divine path of life is much more enjoyable, in all aspects of life, than it is to hold onto something you have no control over. Let go and live more!


Chris Pelle |  CEO of Complete Canine Training  |  LinkedIn