Michelle Obama gave a speech in Hartford, Connecticut back in 2017 where she addressed some issues that have made their way into the news recently, including the flurry of high profile sexual harassment accusations of prominent men in Hollywood, and how we can cope during turbulent times.
As eloquently as you'd expect, the former first lady highlighted the little ways we can help make the world a better, more fair place for everyone. As it turns out, her golden rule for happiness and success isn't terribly hard to follow: "Focus on what you can control.”
Michelle went on to say: “Be a good person every day. Vote. Read. Treat one another kindly. Follow the law. Don’t tweet nasty stuff."
Pretty sage advice, right?
Focus on What You can Control
The reason these words are so important is because when you direct your attention to things you can't control, you're wasting your energy and increasing your chances of developing anxiety. However, when you focus on what you can control, you're moving closer to your goals.
According to Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education and chair of the American Psychotherapy Association, looking at everything that is out of your hands can cause anxiety. Focusing on what you can do, however, helps, Reidenberg told HuffPost. That includes limiting your exposure to the news cycle and participating in activities that bring you joy.
And being good to yourself and to others “will increase your self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence and your sense of pride,” Reidenberg said. These are essential qualities for achieving true success.
When you're building a business, you can control how you use your time and resources but you can't control your customers. You can't force them to buy; if you try, you will be increasing your stress levels. All you can do is provide great products and services, and pray things work out.
Similarly, beyond deciding how to adapt to whatever the future might bring, it's mostly pointless to worry about politics or the economy, says Inc.com columnist Geoffrey James. “Vote, by all means. Call your senator or congressman, sure. But getting upset and angry ... not useful.”
Check out some more words of wisdom the 44th First Lady has given over the years. She is known for her pithy and inspirational comments. These are some of Michelle Obama’s most inspirational words yet:
15 Michelle Obama Inspirational Quotes
- "Choose people who lift you up."
- "Find people who will make you better."
- “People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.”
- "Remember who you always were, where you came from, who your parents were, how they raised you."
- “Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals.”
- "Success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square."
- "Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own."
- "Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude."
- "When I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don't invest any energy in them, because I know who I am."
- “When they go low, we go high.”
- "We learned about dignity and decency - that how hard you work matters more than how much you make... that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself."
- "Success isn't about how much money you make. It's about the difference you make in people's lives."
- “The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.”
- “Do not die in the history of your past hurts and past experiences, but live in the now and future of your destiny.”
- “No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful.”