Here Is What You Can Control

Before he decided to throw his name onto what would becoming a very popular brand of processed meat products, Jimmy Dean was a popular American country music singer and television host. In fact, it was on The Jimmy Dean Show on ABC in 1963 that Jim Henson got his first big nationwide break and we all know how big Sesame Street and the Muppets have become since then.

So, what does any of this have to do with professional blogging, Internet marketing, making money online or the dot com lifestyle? After all, Jimmy Dean made his fame and fortune well before the Internet was even a thing! Well, you have to realize that certain lessons in business (and in life) are timeless and you just have to know how to adapt them to your current circumstances. This is one of those times.

I make use of a Google Chrome extension called Momentum. Offered by a company called Momentum Dash, it’s free to download and generally well received. Basically, it replaces the generic “new tab” screen in your browser. You are treated to a new inspirational photo each day, as well as access to additional options like weather, setting your daily focus/intention, keeping a list of frequently used bookmarks, and so on. You can unlock more features with the paid “Plus” version, like integration with Trello, multiple to-do lists, and the ability to skip to new background photos.

One of the other main features is that you are presented with a new inspirational quote each day. And one day, I was presented a quote from Jimmy Dean. It went like this:

“You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails to always reach your destination.”

In life, you’ll find that everything tends to fall into one of two big buckets. On the one hand, you have the things that are utterly out of your control. You don’t get to decide if it is going to rain tomorrow. This is out of your control. On the other hand, you have the things that you can control. It is completely up to you if you want to have coffee or tea in the morning. You can even drink orange juice if you want. This, barring unforeseen circumstances, is in your control.

So, while there are things that you can’t control, you can leverage the things you can control to best deal with the situation. You can’t control if it is going to rain, but you can control if you’re going to pack an umbrella. You can also control, to some extent, where you live. Maybe John doesn’t like the rain of Vancouver and that’s why he moved to Orange County.

And this is just as applicable when it comes to making money online. You cannot control or change what Mark Zuckerberg and his team decide to do with the Facebook algorithm, but you can control what you choose to do about it. Maybe you double down your efforts to get as much exposure on Facebook as you can. Maybe you choose to play by the rules and budget for some boosts. Or maybe you decide to divert your efforts (and resources) in other areas, like article marketing or arbitrage.

Because the intricacies of networks like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter are outside of your control, you can choose not to build your Internet business on rented land. You can focus on the properties that you can control, like your website and your mailing list.

You cannot control which way the wind blows, but you can control how often you revisit your strategy so you can best adjust your sails. You can still choose which way you want to point your ship and you can still choose what destination you’d like to reach. These are all elements within your control and you just have to choose how you’re going to interact with the circumstances as they present themselves.

This is why it pays to have a versatile skill set, including both technical (“hard”) and soft skills, that you can use to adapt to virtually any situation. Because if YouTube decides to boot you from the partner program tomorrow, you can always pivot, adjust your sails, and keep sailing toward your island paradise. You’re the captain now.

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