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Brandon Schmidt

Control the 90%

By Courage, Curiosity No Comments

“Lately, the Charles R. Swindoll quote, ‘life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it,’ has really resonated with me.”


A few months ago, I received an internship offer from a company that I have loved for years and was going to be traveling across the country to a place I have always dreamed of living. Unfortunately, with everything surrounding COVID-19, they had to cancel their internship program due to budget cuts. When I got the news, to my surprise, I was relatively calm. Was I disappointed? Of course! This had been a dream of mine for the past few years and just like that, it was gone. However, I kept telling myself to keep things in perspective.

At this point, allowing my attention to gravitate towards everything beyond my control would do me no good. Instead of allowing negative thoughts to creep in, like “why does this have to happen to me”; “I don’t deserve this”; or “I wish I could catch a break”, I repositioned my thinking: what do I have direct influence over? From what I’ve learned in life so far from coaches and mentors of mine, I can only control two things: my attitude and my effort. With this mindset, everything was much simpler and I was able to think clearly.

As Mr. Swindoll was getting at, outside of these two things, I cannot control anything else. When unfavorable events occur, rather than centering your attention on the event itself and its negative impact, consider how you can move forward. This mentality has helped eliminate a lot of the stressors and negative thoughts I previously possessed. So many situations in life are out of our hands, but, at the same time, those in which we can control have a drastic influence on the way we see our world and the impact that we can make in it.

In the weeks and months ahead, my ask of you is to focus on what you can control. In simplest form, it’s your attitude and your effort. Inevitably, unfavorable and adverse times will occur in your life. Accepting that these events will happen and only focusing on things in which you have direct influence over is powerful. Control the 90%.


“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” – Charles R. Swindoll


Brandon Schmidt is a member of the Minneapolis Chapter of Scholars of Finance. Brandon is currently a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas and is majoring in Operations & Supply Chain Management with a minor in Data Analytics at the Opus College of Business.