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Control is an Illusion

Some of us who like things a certain way and will step up to run a project (even if we’re not in charge), organize and clean up (even when it’s not our stuff), and plan our day a certain way (even when it involves other people’s plans). Why is that? Are we borderline OCD? Maybe. Or is that we can’t stand chaos and uncertainty? Or, is it that we live in a world where most things are out of our control and that bothers and frightens us?

I think it’s the aforementioned, and more. Control equals confidence and calm, while out of control is usually never good. Whoever heard of an out-of-control person being referred to in a positive way?

So what are we supposed to do? Do we just let go and let the other forces (and people) control our present circumstances and decide our future? Or, do we try (as futile as it may be) to control the things out of our control—including trying to control others? Both approaches seem like a recipe for frustration.

As trite as this will sound, I have found this to be true. Control what you can control. What does that mean? It means, if you don’t have goals for yourself then you may end up helping others reach their goals. Know what you want and make decisions based on making that happen.

Know what you’re good at and what makes you happy and choose opportunities to do more of those things. Say “No” (when possible) to the things you know you will make you are ill-suited for and will make you miserable. Lastly, when you do have control over something, no matter how small and insignificant it may be, don’t miss the opportunity to take charge and make it the way you want it.

* Pictured is our band, The Mission Hillzbilliz. I have had to learn to let go of a lot of things for the good of the group and in the end, it all turned out okay. (I'm on drums playing at a Covid-friendly block party.)

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