Being in Control

Weiss Advice Issue: 217, August, 2021

One of our primal needs is for control. Gradually, humankind has been able to seize more control, as we’ve learned about the world around us, invented, and innovated. We can better control health, safety, protection against the elements, security, and so forth.

However, many of us are refugees from large businesses where we had little control, marching lemming-like from home to work to lunch to work to home. Right from grammar school we were instructed not to talk and stay within the boundaries. Have we really broken free of that harsh culture?

You may think things are different today, but the media assails us with stories (true and false) of natural disaster, raging illnesses, local wars, political corruption, climate change, and criminality. Some people seek refuge in gaining control that is superficial and even dangerous: walking across hot coals or sitting in sweat tents.

We have more control than we think. What we do often lack is the courage, conviction, incentive, and inventiveness to seize it. And that applies to our clients, as well.

You can gain more and more control through education, skills mastery, language mastery, and resilience. You can’t fight a hurricane but you can prepare for it or get out of town. You can’t demand a prospect purchase your services but you can create a compelling case and a strong brand.

When flights are delayed I read or write, controlling my time. Or I’ll find another flight. I don’t surrender my time by bitching and moaning about the airline.

I don’t wander through a day bemoaning my fate. I seize it. I don’t run from disruption, I create it.

I think gaining more and more control over your life is a key ingredient in happiness.