One of the main pathways to freedom in aspect of life is the ability to take complete control of your own destiny. This means waking up every day with the goal of taking conscious and decisive action in getting what you want from life, without fear, insecurity or limitation. Laying it all on the line, and taking complete responsibility for the successes and failures of your actions. You vs you. No one to save you, nothing to fall back upon. Just the solo pursuit of your own growth, one day at a time. This mindset is one of the most powerful forces for change and improvement, and has been the catalyst for the greatest human achievements to date. This is what separates those who achieve their dreams from those that don’t. These people live with a constant awareness of their own autonomy, and it liberates them to pursue their wants, desires and dreams from life.
This is taking control.
But is there a dark side to this world view? Is there a point in which these values become a detriment to ones happiness and fulfilment? Can the desire to take control grow so strong that we find ourselves attempting to control things we have no business, or capability controlling? I think there is a tipping point here. A point in which we can be so plagued by our need to control that we begin applying unnecessary pressure upon ourselves to control and manipulate things into the direction of the outcomes we want, when there was never really a chance of us being able to control these variables in the first place.
That girl that you desperately hope likes you. That competition you want to succeed in. That promotion that you seek.
There are undoubtedly many ways in which we can control the outcomes of these things, and many of you will have already started to think of ways in which you could. And you’re right. We absolutely should do everything in our power to control them. Want to impress that girl? Work on your social skills. Want to do well in that competition? Train hard and train intelligently. Want a promotion? Work your ass off and display leadership qualities. But simultaneously, we should also recognise that our power is limited. Once we have done all we can, energy spent on controlling the outcome of a given situation is wasted energy. Playing as if we are the god of the external world becomes nothing but debilitating.
In these situations, we must learn to let go of control.
Think about the prospect of not achieving the outcome you want? What lies beneath it? If solid foundations of acceptance are not in place, your life will turn into a rollercoaster ride of constant attempts to fill this void with positive outcomes, which in turn will lead to more misery. Ultimately, attempting to play the god of your existence will lead to your downfall.
There is one place that we can play the role of god, however. A place where we can bestow complete control. A place where we can be the master of our destiny. This place cannot be bought or sold. This place does not exist externally, but it exists within.
This place is our mind.
In the mind, we have complete autonomy. Complete freedom. And that is the only place we’ve ever needed it. The mind has the power to formulate perspective. A perspective of acceptance that we are doing everything we can to control our lives, and giving ourselves permission to find peace with this.
In many situations, our suffering undoubtedly arises from the knowledge that we could be pursuing more. However in many other situations, the root of our suffering lies in the constant pursuit of more, despite being incapable of it. Identify where your suffering originates, recognise it, and find peace with it.
Ultimately, like everything in life, balance is required. Knowing which way the pendulum is swinging, and pulling it back to equilibrium is a skill that requires constant self-awareness, honesty and vulnerability.
You have the courage to change what can be, and the strength to accept what cannot. But most of all, the wisdom to know the difference.
So…What is your wisdom telling you?