I feel compelled by circumstances to write on this topic. In a short span I came across the following links that relate to the topic of control and our perception of our level of control:
So if I start out this post about control saying that I feel compelled to do something, then who has control? Well I do, because I didn’t have to pay attention to the forces that happened to bring these examples to me within minutes of each other. But I am also aware of the influence and how it affects my behavior. How many people live their lives with a high perception of a lack of control?
I learned early on that I operate better when I have structure, so I created structure when the situation didn’t provide it. I see this as a gift of my melancholy. I also learned that this awareness seems to be rare. There is an assumption that control is held by others in many instances.
If we assume that the control is held by others, then we abdicate any control that we might hold in a given situation. And it might be that the overall control is held by someone else – but there are almost always aspects of control that we might be able to hold if not wield.
The example that comes to mind is the jury that I sat on over 10 years ago. (Fascinating experience – I highly recommend it, but found it hard to balance my life for those 5 days.) The young man was on trial for murder because he drove the car in a drive by shooting. Had he exerted control that night and not taken his crew for that ride, instead followed his original plans to go on a date, there is a high potential that none of us would have been there those January days. Had his lawyers exerted some control and put up some sort of defense, he might not have been found guilty.
I could go on with that more extreme example. There are plenty of examples every day. Maybe someone regularly interrupts you at the office. You could find a firm and suitable response that lets that person know you will find them when you are available instead of letting the interruptions continue.
I thought it was interesting that most of the comments that I read through on the financial article didn’t address the points of the article at all, rather unconsciously reinforced the first point that many people have a perception of lack of control over their own financial solutions. Awareness of where you might take control, no matter how small, is a first step.
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