How much of your life do you think you really control?
Control is a funny illusion. Most people spend much of their time trying to control things they will never be able to control. Most notably, they try to control how other people behave.
Unless you have a mind-control device, you cannot control how other people behave. Sure, your actions may influence them to a small degree, but trying to get someone else to do exactly what you want…good luck with that.
What happens when you try to control something you can’t? Well, you will become frustrated. Angry. And unhappy. You can see this clearly in other people who spend so much of their time trying to control something they can’t.
What would happen if you tried to make it rain?
First, you might spend a tremendous amount of time researching and strategizing ways to make it rain.
Second, you would spend a tremendous amount of time executing those strategies; Perhaps you might perform a rain dance, maybe you’ll build a giant cloud-making machine.
Third, you would most likely become frustrated that all the time you’ve spent trying to make it rain would not result in any rain. The frustration might increase. You might grow angry. You would be quite unhappy.
Now, if you’re spending all this time trying to control stuff you can’t control, imagine all the time you are wasting on what you can control. It’s a waste of time to try and control something you can’t.
So what can you control??
- Your actions
- Your thoughts
- Your communication
In short, you can control yourself. You can’t control whether someone else will be mad, but you can control your own emotions. You can’t control whether someone else wants to fight, but you can control your own role in a battle.
A common question I’m asked is, “Ben, how can I make this person like me?”
You can’t make anyone like you. What you can do is change the package you present to someone. You can control of your own strengths and weaknesses. You cannot control anyone else’s. All you can do is control things about yourself that might make them want to be with you. Ask yourself…
- Do you know what you want? If you don’t, take the time to figure it out.
- Do you take care of yourself physically?
- Do you listen well? If you don’t, practice improving it.
These are all things that are very much in your control.
People tend to complain about the things they can’t control, often under the illusion that they control them. You can’t prevent the Universe from dealing you some horribly bad piece of luck. You can’t control how other people will you treat you. You can control how prepared you are for those days.