This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.
Life can feel totally out of control sometimes. This year has been difficult for many reasons — political turmoil, economic chaos, a global pandemic — and I know that many people are feeling helpless and out of control.
I understand this feeling. It’s been a challenging year for me, too. But it’s so important that you remember that even when you don’t have control over the “big things” like our government or the spread of a virus, you do have control over your own decisions and actions.
You have the power to thrive, no matter what is happening in the world around you. Here are four tips to help you do it:
1. Stay focused on your “North Star.”
Last year I wrote an article encouraging you to find your North Star. This is your true calling in life, your vision for the future. Hundreds of years ago, sailors used the North Star to navigate. No matter how long it took, no matter how many storms they endured, the North Star kept them moving in the right direction.
Focus on your North Star. Remember what you’re working toward. There will be storms, but if you stay focused, you’ll get there.
2. Remember that happiness is a choice you get to make.
Happiness isn’t just a result of your circumstances. In fact, happiness is something you get to choose, regardless of your circumstances. I know that it’s not always easy. (If what you are facing is not a choice to be happy but rather depression, seek help and know you are not alone.)
If you’re having a tough time finding the good, here’s a simple exercise: Take 10 minutes to make a list of everything that makes you smile, warms your heart, or gives you a feeling of contentment in your life. I bet that you will be surprised by how long that list becomes. Make an effort to focus on the gifts and opportunities in your life, not the problems and obstacles. Choose happiness.
3. Tell fear to take a hike.
It’s so easy to be paralyzed by fear — especially in a time like this. Author Judy Blume is often credited with saying, “How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”
I love that! Are you going to experience adventure or are you going to be limited by your fears? Tell fear to take a hike and get on with the adventure.
4. Keep looking for opportunities.
Even in a difficult situation, there are opportunities all around us if we’re willing to look for them. The Great Recession in 2009 was an opportunity for me to rebuild my business into something that I truly love. Many of my clients have started or grown their businesses during challenging times. And many of the biggest companies in the world — like Microsoft, Netflix, and Airbnb — were launched during an economic recession. You can do it too if you can train your mind to look for opportunities instead of focusing on your fears.
These past two years have been challenging years for many of us, and as we look ahead, remember: We can’t control what happens, but we can control our response.