THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL...

in life •  3 years ago 

"The Master allows things to happen. She shapes events as they come. She steps out of the way and lets the Tao speak for itself." -- Laozi

control

Control Freaks

We humans like to think we are in control of everything.., but at any given moment the randomness of the universe can dispel that imaginary concept -- in the blink of an eye… And although we have a certain amount of control (I hesitate even writing that) -- it's more like influence, in the things in our life.., we certainly don't control the outcome of things -- no matter how much of a control freak you are…

Being in control.., or feeling in control (I should say) in certain situations is a good thing… It reflects responsibility and confidence, two admirable qualities. Feeling in control can push you to take chances when the odds might be stacked against you -- but it's all an illusion. Once we start thinking we are always in control, or even in control of our own lives -- disappointment and frustration is usually not very far behind.

Just to make this point clear -- you can work your whole life, done all the "right" things… Had a good job, saved tons of money, invested (have a very nice portfolio), all so you could retire happily.., and be in control. Sounds good, responsible -- but then, you wake up the next morning and see that the stock market collapsed, or that house you paid all that good money for, that was supposed to be just like "money in the bank," is now worth little more than what you paid for it. All that "control," right out the window.

We actually don't need to be in control,
as much as we need to feel that sense of control.

Maybe you're a health nut… Run marathons, eat like a bird, stay away from red meat, get all the vitamins, nutrients and veggies needed to live a long a healthy life -- only to leave the doctors office one day with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, or some other deadly disease -- something you have absolutely no control over…

Are We Delusional...

We exaggerate our own abilities to control the outcome of things that are completely out of our hands… Now, we are not completely delusional.., we know that we have no control over the sun rising every morning… Yet, we have no problem thinking that the Patriots won the Superbowl because.., you willed it to be so -- WTF! But at the same time, feeling this a sense of control is essential for our self esteem.., and mental health -- otherwise we might feel like we live in a constant state of chaos.

The concept of control is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts (as far as concepts go) out there… Yes, of course, you want to be in control when you take center stage to give a presentation to a room full of people -- and not wigging out. And that's where, composure comes in… Under stressful or dire circumstances, you want to keep your composure, "hold it together"-- but that is not controlling the outcome… You could give the best damn presentation of your life, the audience looks riveted -- only to find out the whole time they were watching the office clown make shadow animals right behind you…

We use this illusion of control, everyday… We might flatter someone, in an attempt to control their behavior.., or berate someone else, in an effort to ensure an desired outcome. And in more extreme cases, like the military or prison they will go to no ends, breaking any kind of moral code, to exhibit their "control" over you… We do these things because we have a perception of their desired effect -- control. But the more control we think we have, the more bogged down in the bullshit we get.., and guess what -- we have even less...

At best what we can control.., is how react to all these uncontrollable, unforeseen occurrences -- we can control our emotions. I know sometimes it doesn't feel that way -- but that's basically all we are able to control. Even our relationships are out of our control… I mean really, if we can't control our own lives, how are we supposed to control somebody else's -- you can't make people like you, you can't control how someone else feels about you -- period.

crap shoot

Rolling The Dice

So what, life is just one big crap shoot… Sort of -- but not really… We can influence all these things with our actions, our mindset, belief system -- give ourselves better odds, so to speak… But what's really wild, in situations that we do have control over -- we tend to shy away from it. We can be a total control freak when it comes to things out of our control.., but when something is in our control we choke…

When we try and control things, we usually have a predestined idea as to how we want things to turn out -- a result. And if we are thinking about a result, we cannot truly be -- in the moment. Experiencing life as it unfolds.., letting it come to you. Instead of running around trying to control everything and everybody, we have the confidence that we have prepared for this -- mentally, physically, spiritually, whatever -- but comfortable that the outcome is out of our control.

Control is a desire we all share, but none of us actually have… Not only do we want complete control over our own lives, but the lives of everyone around us -- which is absurd. And the more we try and assert this so-called control over everything, we are actually pushing our desired outcome further away… What we do have.., and what we can do is, influence certain situations to our behalf -- bend, shift, shape.

If you can't predict the future (and we can't) what makes you
think you can control it...

Showing up to that job interview in nice, pressed suit, close shave, shine on your shoes -- can influence your potential boss into actually giving you the job. Instead of seeking to be in control.., choosing to be challenged instead, is by far a more productive, life affirming choice -- that way even when things don't go as we hoped, we are not crushed, but just a little weathered -- and better off for having had the experience… You'll get 'em next time.

And while we can't control basically anything, we can influence just about everything… In almost every situation there is almost always something you can do to influence the outcome. Even if it is just a slight adjustment to your mindset, taking initiative, being appreciative for being in the situation in the first place (gratitude) -- there are so many things and so many ways to influence an outcome, once we stop trying to control everything!

Relinquishing control, letting go.., can provide us with the greatest gift of all -- just being. Even when all hell breaks loose and you wish you could just control the situation -- instead deal with it, experience it -- live in it. Soak up everything that moment of chaos has to offer -- that's living!


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awesome post! I'm currently struggling with letting go of the illusion of control. It causes so many problems! It's a strange addiction though! You make a ton of valid points here and you have definitely brought some reassurance to my struggle. Thank you!

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Thanks @amariespeaks -- Im glad it was a timely post for you... It can be a challenge to overcome, but if you can get there, you start to notice a lot more synchronicity in your life. CHEERS!

Great points! The need for us to feel like we're in control causes so many unnecessary problems and stress in life and, you're right, it's a difficult habit to kick. It's such a freeing feeling once you can accomplish it. The universe really opens up when you let go. I enjoyed this one!

No doubt @ericvancewalton, it can be a bitch to kick.., but so worth it. CHEERS!

[email protected]@@ing great post, i read it all ofc keep it up

''Control is a desire we all share, but none of us actually have… Not only do we want complete control over our own lives, but the lives of everyone around us -- which is absurd''

Although i completly agree with everything you mentioned and i mean it, in the above phrase i believe we can have control its not just a desire ( except if you want complete control that you refer below in that case i absolutely agree) we can control some scales of things like our emotions or other desires ( like what to eat, abusing self desires and other common ones)

Thanks @filotasriza3, I appreciate it :))
Sure we have a certain amount of control over our decisions -- but It's the illusion of complete control, where we do ourselves and the people around us a disservice.

yep exactly and if we let it on the side or dont pay so much attention to it like you mentioned too our lives as a total will be better

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