Thoughts on Control

I’ll admit it, I’m a total control freak.

I like to be in charge of my day, have a plan for my week and my goals for my life. I am a list maker and target setter. I like to be the decision maker if I am in a group, and generally take the lead on any business project I get involved with.

A control freak is someone who doesn’t like to be living in the moment. They need a plan, a structure and some sort of result to attain. They eschew spontaneity and look for a direction.

While this is good for achieving goals, it also has a dark side: too much desire for control starts to make you feel miserable.

 I think this misery comes from missing out on one of the biggest parts of life: uncertainty.

I know this first hand. At times in my life, I have set so many goals for myself that there was no room left to simply live life.

An excessive desire for control I believe comes from a fear of the unknown.

Instead of accepting that life will always have an element of uncertainty, we try to micromanage. As Brene Brown says “Uncertainty makes us feel vulnerable, so we try to escape it any way we can.”

If I find myself trying to control a situation to avoid uncertainty, I know that I am missing out on one of the best parts of life.

Life is consistently variable. It is changing and fluid in ways we can never expect. If we are accepting of this, while still moving forward, we can experience life at the highest level.

I often think of the quote by Richard Branson “In any adventure, there are always uncertainties.”

The desire for control comes from a limited worldview. It is driven from fear and a desire to stay within your comfort zone.

But the true enjoyment of life is found in embracing the discomfort and uncertainty. This doesn’t mean you can’t have goals and plans you are working towards. However, when setting a new goal, it is good to ask yourself why you want it.

If the answer is to do with living a fully engaged life, then this is healthy. If it is about living up to an ideal, then you are bound for frustration and failure.

If you are willing to let go of control, to live in the discomfort, and embrace uncertainty, you will discover just how exciting life can become.


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