Sheriff: Controlling one’s thoughts helps manage response to critical events
Each of us can look back on events which have changed the course of our lives. In some cases we have experienced joyous events which have propelled us forward in our personal or professional lives, while other events have been tragic, which have created struggle and stymied our growth as individuals.
Although we have little to no control over the many and varied events which we will undoubtedly face throughout our lives, we can control our response to them by managing the thoughts they generate.
Why is this important? Because by controlling our thoughts, we ultimately determine what emotions we will allow to surface, and subsequently what type of reaction we will exhibit. The ability to manage our thoughts and thus our reactions to events both good and bad can make the difference between success and failure in our personal and professional lives.
We have all witnessed situations where we witnessed individuals effectively manage a critical event while in other cases struggle or seemingly overreact to a not-so-significant event. In many cases this is due to the ability or inability to control their initial thoughts as the event was unfolding.
I have witnessed this behavior unfold in so many ways throughout my years in law enforcement. I have seen people become unhinged at the prospect of receiving a minimal citation for speeding, while others have responded to unbelievable tragedy with an amazing level of calm and composure.
I would submit that the difference has been the ability or inability to manage their thoughts and thus self-regulate their responses.
This skill is not inherent — it must be developed and maintained through practice. Each of us has the choice at any given moment in our lives to take the events which lie before us and do one of two things: use these events to make us stronger and grow our relationships; or use these events as a crutch and blame them for any and all shortcomings we perceive in our lives. I choose the former over the latter.
So, the next time an event occurs in your life, whether that be the realization that the red and blue lights behind you are in fact intended for you, or maybe that your teenager arrived after his or her curfew, please take a moment to think of the thoughts you are generating and whether those thoughts will ultimately lead to a positive or negative outcome.
In the world we live in, there are very few things we actually have control over, but what we can control is our response to the world. Having the ability to manage our thoughts and use those thoughts to improve the quality of our lives, and of our community, is another example of the power of resiliency.
Matt Joski is Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Sheriff: Controlling one's thoughts helps manage response to critical events