Jake’s Tough Day At College


A critical doer controls what is theirs to control


My youngest son Jake, a freshman in the School of Engineering at Auburn University, had a tough day.  He has a big exam tomorrow in pre-calculus, and in today’s class the professor introduced a brand new concept that is testable.  The professor did this previously and I’m told the new concept was roughly a third of the exam.

Needless to say, Jake and most of his classmates feel like storming the math department with pitchforks and lanterns.  I understand his point of view, his interest is scoring well on the test and the new material puts him at a disadvantage.  In spite of it all, this episode gives me yet another reason to be proud of my son because he did what a critical doer…would do!

A critical doer trait is controlling what is theirs to control.  He can’t control the policy of introducing new material the day before an exam or the proportion of new material that is tested.  What he can control (while he’s obviously grumbling) is committing to less sleep tonight and giving his best effort to learn the new material.  He also sought out some friends farther along in math to help him understand the new material.  Finally, he plans to utilize the professor’s office hours to go over the concept prior to tomorrow’s exam.  Indeed, he is controlling what is his to control.

Have you ever been in an organization that lost ground and lost faith with its people railing against the negative aspects of a challenge when there were many controllable aspects that actually provided outright solutions?  Failing to control all that is yours to control leads to a passive victim’s mentality; it’s hard to accomplish anything meaningful personally or professionally when outside influences consistently dictate terms and tempo to you.

My challenge to you is to learn from Jake’s example and ask yourself…are there opportunities at work or home where I’m not controlling what is mine to control?  Find those opportunities to take action and create positive outcomes.  After all, that’s what a critical doer would…do!

Updated: November 20, 2014 — 3:59 am