Tag Archives: Assumptions

Perception of Control

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:

3 Reasons You Can’t Climb Out of Your Financial Hole

TheRealMikeRowe on Facebook – 4/19/14 Saturday Mail Call

 

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?

 

Too bad we can't have a time out spot like this nearby when we need it.

We can’t control the weather.

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.

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Different isn’t Deficient

When I was learning to drive, no one said that your foot had to always be on a pedal – either the gas or the brake.  Maybe my dad actually said coasting bought me some time to think about the right way to handle an oncoming situation and maybe I figured it out as I gained experience.  I don’t exactly recall.  But I did teach my boys that you can coast sometimes.

 

Similarly, somewhere along the line I realized that there are more categories than right and wrong.  I don’t have to put something or someone into a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ category when they are different from my own understanding of the world and I need time to think about how I think about them.  So things and people that I don’t readily understand go into the different area for further evaluation.

 

Different isn’t a good or a bad thing, it isn’t more than or lesser than what I do feel confident that I understand.  It isn’t deficient.  It is just different – different than what is familiar to me, sometimes just slightly so and sometimes radically so.

they all hold liquid to quench thirst...

they all hold liquid to quench thirst…

 

I can grow to understand different.  I can learn from it.  If I decided that it was wrong because I didn’t understand it, then I could never hope to understand it and learning from it would be a much more difficult proposition.

 

My son who loves to cook asked me to give onions, specially prepared by him, a try even though he knew that I’ve disliked onions all my life.  He just wanted me to move a category of onions, ones that he has prepared into the different area.  I resisted.  He persisted and now sometimes I eat onions.  They haven’t moved into the ‘right’ category exactly, but I eat them and even allow that they add to the overall flavor of a dish.

 

There are things that should not go into ‘different’ – people or situations that make you less than you should be, or make you feel uncomfortable, in danger.  Anything that really belongs in the ‘wrong’ space.  Different isn’t meant to remove this option.  Just to provide an option for an unknown that deserves an opportunity to prove it’s worth.

 

I think of times when I was quick to judge and came out wrong because I didn’t take some things into account.  I remember a story of a long road trip, a broken gas line and some questionable looking teens who made sure that my mom and sister got home safely despite my mom judging them initially on their appearance.

 

Do you have a ‘different’ category where you set things aside for further consideration?

 

© 2014 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

Mental Reset Via Road Trip

My parents were raised in the same medium sized Midwestern city, but moved away to follow my dad’s job early in their marriage.  This meant that from a small age, I was used to getting in the car for a drive to see extended family.  Being in the car meant dad driving, always.  Mom variously would start games with us, get us to sing rounds, read or sleep.  There came to be a rhythm of family interaction and personal introspection that I found pleasant.

776 turn

Ever since being on my own, I have sought out a road trip or two each year because of this thought rhythm.  New sights outside the car window can be triggers for new thoughts and ideas.  (And blog posts.)

 

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world.  Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”

~ Isaac Asimov

 

Just like the country in general, my life has been churning a lot of change in the past year or so and a road trip was just what I needed to think, adjust and let the light in.  I am back from a very quick trip to an area that I called home for several years.  It is a small town, county seat, in a rural setting.  It gave me a chance to think while on the road, and to get a bit of green therapy in places that we used to go hiking.

 

Even if your life has been same old same old, it is helpful to figure out a way to scrub off your assumptions and there is nothing like a change of scenery to do it.

 

I have this conversation with myself during almost every road trip – this is the time that I will make a point to not be so stuck on getting to my destination, but stop at some of the local places that post signs along the road.  I know that it is important to expand my perception once in a while.  On the way home I did just this, and reminded myself that it was fun as I was grumbling about pulling into my garage so late at the end of the trip.

 

How do you give yourself a mental reset once in awhile?

 

© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

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