Monday, October 5, 2009

5 Ways to Step Out of the Control Freak Mentality (Read time: 3 min.)

Ever feel like you have to be in control of everything
or else you aren’t in control of anything?

The fear that comes with losing self-control, for many, spurs the creation of a control freak mentality. Control freaks need to know what they’re doing, where they’re going, how they’re getting there and with whom… or they need their enter lives planned out… and everyone else’s life who directly affects theirs’.

The control freak mentality is tension-ridden, anxiety-filled and, at the end of the day, does little more than stress a person out. The truth is that life is not about force; it’s about flow and the only way to flow with life is to be okay with the outcomes, no matter how much you’ve invested in the inputs.

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Our reactions to the uncontrollable experiences of life are where character, integrity and success are determined. The most important things in life are not 100% in your control but your reaction to what happens in your life is.

To take on a false sense of omniscience is to believe that you control everything and nothing is beyond your careful planning. This sets you up for HUGE failures.

What happens when you get laid off after years of stellar performance appraisals?
What happens when the 20 year marriage you invested heart and soul in ends because he or she is now in love with someone else?
What happens when the child you did everything to protect from 0-18 gets in a fatal car accident at 25?
What happens when the body you so lovingly nourished and exercised comes down with cancer?

While it’s important to dismiss the idea that every good thing is followed by a bad one, it’s time to come to grips with the reality of life: shit happens. We all go through dark times and they always serve a divine purpose. The control freak, in wanting to decide and choose everything, will lose sight of the blessing of ANYTHING he or she did not plan for… and that will erode extraordinary success.

In addition, it takes a lot of work to be a control freak. It’s time consuming, headache producing, and when you do the control freak thing in relationships, it kills the mood.

So how do you go from control freak to proactively spontaneous?

Here are five ways to step out of the control freak mentality:
1) Trust the process of life.
It sounds foo foo and metaphysical but this is the most important thing you can do to break the control freak tendency. At some point, you’ve got to decide whether you live in a friendly world where things work out for you or whether you live in a hostile world where things are just waiting to go wrong for you. Whatever you decide, that’s EXACTLY what you will get. Trusting the process of life is not about having guarantees; it’s about being secure enough in yourself and the Divine to know that you are guided, protected, and made successful in EVERY life experience, especially the bad ones. Yes, there will be crappy things that happen. Yes, people will do things you’ll absolutely hate but there’s a gift in that and when you trust the process of life, you’re able to let it go because you know that you know that you know that your future is bright and joyous and secure… NO MATTER WHAT.

2) Master your time.
So many control freaks walk around trying to do the work of 10 people over 2 weeks as one person in one day. That’s a set-up for absolute failure. Extraordinary success comes from putting whole mind in present action. To do that well consistently, you have to be a master of your own time. You have to know how much time you truly have and what is feasible for you to do in that timeframe. There’s no need to berate yourself, to deprive yourself of necessary sleep or to deliver on 10 things at 80% when you could deliver on 3 at 100%. Until you have mastered your own daily schedule, control freak tendencies will lead you to behaviors that, in the long run, are self destructive. Whether you call it overworked, underpaid, overburdened or simply burnt out, until you master your time, you will forever feel the burden of trying to control and overcompensate for the lack of mastery.

3) Ask for and receive help.
No man is an island. Ask for help. More importantly, when someone offers you help, say ‘Yes’ to it. Say ‘yes’ to it and let that person do what they said they would do WITHOUT you fearing that they’ll screw things up or won’t do as good a job as you will. Maybe they won’t but their assistance will help you focus whole mind on present action and that is the key.

4) Stop criticizing yourself.

Control freaks tend to COMPLAIN A LOT. They also tend to criticize themselves and others A LOT. Take a moment and look at where you are in your life. Your criticism of yourself and others has got you here. If this place is where you’re happy staying, then keep criticizing. But, if, by some chance, you aren’t as far along as you’d like to be, if you would like to experience extraordinary success in a way you’ve never known, you’ve got to do what you’ve never done. Start with this: no more criticism of yourself or others for anything at any time. Love and approve of yourself and watch the circumstances change magically.

5) Embrace and be OK with who you are.
Certain aspects of control freak can be moderated. Many of them can blossom into a deeper, intuitive, freeing way of life. However, there are certain things about control freak nature that might never go away. It’s time to be okay with that. So what if you like to hog the remote control? Give it away for a day or two but if you hog it five days a week, who’s counting? So what if you like to take your wallet or purse with you everywhere you go, no matter where you are? Is that hurting anyone? No, keep doing it. There’s a part of reducing control freak behavior that comes, in large part, by you not criticizing yourself for being this way and, instead, embracing all of who you are. You might like napkins folded in a certain way and it drives you nuts when anybody else does it another way. Learn how to accept other napkins and, when dinner is over, and the other person leaves, take a de-stress moment and re-fold the napkins. That person will feel loved and you’ll feel better.

What’s the point? Embrace ALL of who you are.

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