“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt
The biggest tool we have at our disposal is our mindset. In any given situation, there can be many things completely outside of our control. However, the things we can always have control over are our mind and how we choose to respond to said situations.
I have struggled with being a pessimist for a lot of my life. Some may even say I'm a professional, with a high propensity for negativity. It's something I have to work on daily, as it always finds a way to creep up on me. Recently I was faced with this decision at a performance. There were things going wrong with the sound and we were definitely not on par with where our sound has been in recent performances. It was embarrassing, and I don't handle embarrassment very well. I was angry and it showed.
What good was it going to do me being angry on stage in front of a bunch of people? Was it going to make the band sound better? Was it going to tell the audience "hey, hang in there, we're figuring this out"? Or was it just going to look like I was some angry, brooding guitar player with an attitude? I wasn't mixing the sound. I wasn't running any of the equipment. The only thing I was doing was standing on stage with a guitar in my hands in front of a crowd. That's where I'm usually happy, isn't it? So why in the world was I letting something completely out of my control come between that happiness and me?
I looked back at Robert. I then looked at Jordan, Peter, and Mark. They were all doing their thing, having a good time. All despite this sound thing which was getting figured out as we played. It hit me that not only was I doing myself a disservice by not making the best of it and enjoying that moment on stage, I was doing the crowd and my bandmates the same disservice by not laying it all out there. It was at least a million degrees on that stage but I decided it was time to do what I do best and just rock it out.
After a song or two, everything dialed in and we were back in business. Guess what? That was going to happen whether or not I had changed my crappy attitude. That's the point. Whatever will be, will be. The only thing we can do is control the way we react to a situation and how we choose to let it affect us. Life is going to throw its curve balls our way and it's hard not to let them dictate our emotional response. It's a lot easier, though, if you do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Be present and make the most of every moment, and all those little things will dissolve. This will leave more room for you to work with the big tasks and your ability to handle them with your head clear and your war face on.
When you're confronted by moments like this it's important to remember that very seldom is somebody or something trying to cause you grief on purpose. People don't just wake up and decide they're going to do their worst or try to make your day harder. Inanimate objects aren't out to get you, no matter how much it seems like it. We are all human and we're all here to help each other. I'll expand on that another time, but it really helps put things into perspective.
Go to war with fear.