Happiness is understanding the illusion of control

Happiness is understanding the illusion of control

To begin with, we're happy to share with you an article written by one of our favourite bloggers, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits…

When you think you control something, you’re wrong.

It’s amazing how often we think we’re in control of something when really we aren’t.

Control is an illusion, as I’ve said many times before.

We constantly make plans that never actually turn out the way we envisioned. ‘If you want to make God laugh, make a plan,’ an old saying goes.

We have been trained to set goals, and then work on the actions that lead to those goals … and yet how often do those goals fail? How often are we trying to control a future that we cannot predict?

Did you know five years ago that the world would turn out as it has — that Obama would be president, that the stock markets would have crashed, that we’d be deep into a recession, that earthquakes and tsunamis would hit, that you’d be doing exactly what you’re doing today?

Of course not. We don’t know the future, much less control it. We like to think we do, but that never turns out to be true.

And yet we continue to believe in the illusion of control. We face a chaotic and complex world, and seek to control it however we can.

Our attempts to control the world can be seen through:

  • Trying to control how our children turn out, as if we can shape them like blocks of clay, as if humans aren’t more complex than we can possibly understand.

  • Tracking every little thing, from spending to exercise to what we eat to what tasks we do to how many visitors are on our site to how many steps we’ve taken today and how many miles we’ve run. As if our selective tracking can possibly include the many, complex factors that influence outcomes.

  • Trying to control employees — again, complex human beings with many motivations and whims and habits that we don’t understand.

  • Obsessively planning projects, trips, days, parties, as if the outcomes of events are things we can control with our powers of manipulation of the world.

If we can let go of this illusion, what are we left with? How can we live among this chaos?

Enjoying this? If so, CLICK HERE to read the full and original article.

Following that I posted this reminder of the Serenity Prayer…

Very relevant to this discussion of "control" is a philosophy that often goes by the name of the Serenity Prayer. It's at the heart of most of the 12 step programs (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous) but it's relevant, in my humble opinion, to almost any situation in life for pretty much every one of us. It goes something like this…

Control what you can control

Accept what you can't control

And be wise enough to know the difference

In short, if there's something in your life that you're not happy with and that you can change then…change it! But we all need to understand that although this possible much of the time there are also many situations we simply can't control. In these instances, we're better off practising acceptance (which is not another way of saying "giving in" but rather, an acknowledgement that we'd be better off, in these situations, facing up to reality).

The "trick" is being wise enough to know when to decide on which course of action!!!

And then I invited everyone to post their thoughts or comments on our Facebook Page HERE : )