All Control Is Damage Control


(The title quote is courtesy of Hugh MacLeod.)

When we threw the Nomading Film Festival this past June, we had spent the better part of 7.5 months preparing for it. Calls, meetings, confirmations, reservations, bookings, re-confirmations, checklists, planning, and promises ad nauseam. However, 48 hours before the event:

  • We were still not confirmed from our beer sponsor as to how much beer we would be getting
  • The wine sponsor asked to change the delivery time
  • Some volunteers that we had confirmed had to back out unfortunately
  • We still had 50 unclaimed tickets
  • The banner had yet to be delivered
  • We had no props for the photobooth
  • The shirts we were selling had yet to be delivered

24 hours before the event:

  • The wine had not been delivered
  • The band needed a place to stay in the city
  • The shirt delivery was incomplete, and the colors of the shirts we did get were way off

4 hours before the event:

  • Ice hadn’t been delivered and we ordered half of what we would eventually need
  • The outdoor setup at the venue was just starting
  • We didn’t know where the Taco Truck was

1 hour before the event:

  • Some people had already started showing up and entering the grounds
  • Our volunteers had just shown up
  • Bars were not set up
  • Some of the filmmakers had started to arrive
  • None of the founders had showered

30 minutes before the event:

  • The final DVD that was going to be shown at the screenings had not completely finished burning onto the DVD yet

The point is, the only thing you can really control in life is how you react to things out of your control. (Well, that and how you treat yourself/your body, and how you treat other people.) Be prepared for that! You can have the greatest plan in the world but life will fittingly turn it upside down, tear off the top third of it, set fire to the bottom third and then kick you in the shins when you’re not looking. But that’s ok! It is just the way things go. There is no why.

So, adapt.

Simply, focus on the things you have a say in, trust that your instincts are correct, place your faith in those around you and only self judge your effort. Paddling upstream ishard.

Lastly in your pursuit to relinquish some control, remember that Parkinson’s Lawalways holds true: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

I wish that weren’t true but we humans are a funny bunch.

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