Have you ever met a person who worries about everything? No matter where they are or what they’re doing, they’re always worried, concerned, stressed or mad about something. Yet, there are also people who are just the opposite…people who never worry, get concerned, stress and rarely get mad no matter what the situation is. What is it about the people that stress that causes them to stress so often and so much? How can one person, surrounded by chaos, stay calm, content and optimistic while the another lose all control?
Do you all remember the last time you watched Zorro? The Zorro I am speaking of is “The Mask of Zorro” that came out in 1998 with Antonio Banderas, Antony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones. As the movie starts out, Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) is an out of control, drunken convict who is consumed by his hatred towards his brothers killer, Captain Harrison Love. As the current Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) observes Alejandro, he shows him how obsessed and reckless he truly is. Even though his passion for revenge fueled him, he had not learned control and would never succeed unless he learned how to control his anger and his surroundings.
He was later introduced to the “Training Circle.” In the words of Anthony Hopkins, “This is called a training circle, a master’s wheel. This circle will be your world, your whole life. Until I tell you otherwise, there is nothing outside of it.” Alejandro’s progress depended directly on how well he could learn to master only the things within his circle. At first, it was a large circle with obstacles, ropes and at times, Zorro in it. “As your skill with the sword improves, you will progress to a smaller circle. With each new circle, your world contracts, bringing you ………..that much closer to retribution.”
As Alejandro improved in his skills, that circle began to shrink and one might begin to think, shouldn’t the circle get bigger as his skill increased. The more skill the more he would be able to handle, right? Wrong! If you are thinking that way, you are missing the entire point. The more skill, the smaller the circle. The more you learn to control only that which is in the circle, the more control you truly have. The less you have in your circle, the better, because you know you have absolute control of whatever enters your circle. The larger the circle, the less control you have as you have more in it.
So you wonder why so many people walk around stressed out, angry and constantly worried?! It’s because they try too much to control things that are outside their circle of control. All we can do is control our little training circle. For some, that circle is still very large because of lack of skill. As their skill increases, they will learn to stick to their circle of control, and thus, increase in control overall.
Can I control how you react to this article? Can I control whether or not you send me spam comments, talk bad about my site or give me complete praise? No. But what I can control is all that is within my circle. I can control if that spam comment is approved and whether it will upset me or not. I can control how I receive things and whether or not I will allow it to enter into my circle. If I allow it, my circle increases in size and as a result, I loose a bit of control.
As we increase in skill, in mindset, we stop worrying about all the things you have no control over. And as we do, we start dominating the things we do have control over and get really good at maintaining the Godly trait of temperance.
Pick your own battles…better yet, pick the ones you know you can control and win. And the ones you can win are the ones within your own Zorro’s circle. This is the entire secret to self-mastery. Can you control everything within a foot of your being. And yes, this includes the space in between your own ears. If you’re looking to lose weight, can you resist that doughnut or soda and can you discipline, instead of just motivate yourself to take that jog? When it all comes down to it, you allow that doughnut to enter or not enter your circle of control. You allow those thoughts of laziness to enter or not enter your mind, which is the center of the circle.
Self mastery! We are all very good about disallowing annoying or stinky people from entering our so called “bubble.” Yet we allow so much more to enter that is even more damaging and more harmful to our progress and happiness. As we learn to control what we know we can control, we master our circle, and in doing so will find the secret to a long, happy and fulfilling life!