When we threw the first ever Nomading Film Festival last year, we had spent the better part of eight months preparing for it. Calls, meetings, confirmations, reservations, bookings, re-confirmations, checklists, planning, and promises ad nauseam.

However, forty-eight 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
  • We still had fifty unclaimed tickets
  • The banner had yet to be delivered
  • We had no props for the photo booth
  • The shirts we were selling had yet to be delivered

Twenty-four 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

Four 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

One 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

Thirty minutes before the event:

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

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 okay! It is just the way things go.

The only thing you can really control is how you react to things out of your control.

Focus on the things you have a say in, trust that your instincts are correct, place your faith in those around you, and only judge the effort you put forth.

Life is a river you ride in a direction you did not decide.
You don’t control the rapids, the bends, or the flow.
You only choose what forks to take, how hard to paddle,
and whether you run aground or stay afloat.

How did the festival turn out? It was a complete success. We relinquished control of the river, and concentrated on where our boat was oriented instead.

Control what you can control. The rest? Control how you react to it. It’s what defines you as a person.

Bassam Tarazi is the creator of a motivational framework, Colipera, which utilizes the notion: collective inspiration + personal accountability; Together, be better. Bassam is also the author of The Accountability Effect, a free e-book that has been downloaded over 5,000 times. Bassam conducts goal setting classes, corporate & group Colipera sessions and 1-on-1 coaching for those with 9-to-5’s through his “Maximize Your 5-to-9” program. Bassam can also be followed on Twitter.

*Photo by fatbwoy