It All Starts with Control

To do extraordinary things, you will encounter and need to manage stress – this is an inescapable reality of high-performance. One of (if not the best way) to help manage stress, is to understand what is inside and outside of our control. To me, there are 4 things that are always inside of our control:

Understanding and accepting what is inside and outside of our control is a consistent trait of high-performance. Studies show that people who focus on what is inside their control are more motivated and focused on their pursuits. This makes sense when we think about it – High Performers are masters at getting the most out of their seconds, minutes, and hours – so they don’t have time to focus on things that they can’t control.

The best news is that control is a skill, and we can train ourselves to become great at focusing on the inputs that actually make a difference. High Performers understand that life is 10% what happens to them and 90% how they respond to it. They realize that life can generally be broken down as:


We cannot control what happens to us, only our response to it. As athletes and people we often overestimate the impact bad events will have on us, when in fact the outcome is almost entirely influenced by our response.

While what we can control is limited … we should remember that there is also a ton of stuff we can influence. High Performers don’t shy away from things they cannot control, instead they focus on influencing them in ways they can control. For example, we cannot control whether or not we make the team, get drafted, or receive a scholarship, but we can influence those outcomes through elements within our control, like a great attitude and effort. Therefore, a great way to attack your pursuits is to focus on what you can control as a means for influencing what you cannot.


  • High Performers are notorious for focusing on what is inside their control.
  • What we can control boils down to our thoughts, actions, attitude, and effort.
  • We can train our control response by applying the E+R=O formula to any and all challenging situations in our lives.
  • A great approach for big goals is to focus on what we can control as a means for influencing what we cannot.

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