If you like to be in control, be prepared for disappointment
25th October, 20140 Comments
“The bird of paradise alights only on the hand that does not grasp” - John Berry.
A common source of frustration, worry and anxiety is when people feel they are not in control. How often do we hear (or even utter ourselves) the words: "I like to be in control", or "I hate it when I'm not in control", and even 'I know I'm a control freak"?
The illusion of control
We may often be under the impression that we are in control; especially when people are doing what we want, but that’s only ever temporary. The truth is, we are never in control of events, what people think or what people do …. ever. To believe so is to live in an illusion and if we base our happiness on whether or not we are in control, we are going to have to get used to disappointment. In fact, people who like to be in control are often frustrated and unhappy when their world does not cooperate. We spend our time chasing something that we can never have.
The damage of control
If we desire control, we are hankering after something we can never have, therefore we are wasting our mental energy chasing the impossible. This often leads to frustration and a general sense of unease and even unhappiness.
The quest for control generally leads to pressurising (or even bullying in extreme cases) our partners, friends or colleagues. Their compliance should not be mistaken for control as it never endures. It's simply negative influence, backed by force and fear, masquerading as control.
We must ask ourselves whether such pressurising will be more or less productive in our relationships*? Such an approach will create and perpetuate stresses – is that really what we want?
The good news
There is only ever one thing that we have complete control of (if and when we choose to exercise it) and that is what we are thinking. In this our control can be complete and our responsibility is absolute. No one can tell us what to think, whatever they may believe. But it’s ironic that the one thing in our lives that we can actually claim full control of is so often neglected either in part or, in some cases, completely abdicated. What we think governs our decisions and our decisions determine our lives – so the sooner we claim back control the better.
Life Coaching can help clients break the habit of allowing the mind to function in auto-pilot. Through sessions designed to develop mindful awareness, people can develop greater focus, presence, and improved memory.
The greater our control of our thoughts - and therefore our actions - the more we exude strength and positive energy. It is this that gives us INFLUENCE on events and those around us. The positive reality of influence as opposed to the negative illusion of control can only fuel our success at work or at home.
"Self-disciplined begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don't control what you think, you can't control what you do." - Napolean Hill
*When referring to relationship, it is in it’s broadest sense. The same dynamics apply in any relationships be they at work or in our private lives.
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Caroline Wellingham - Accredited Career and Life Coach, NLP PractitionerJuly 12th, 2017