"You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you." - Brian Tracy
Trying to control everything in your life, at once, is bloody draining. I know this because, you guessed it, I've been there. I am there!
As of right now, I'm currently wrapped up in my duvet with an array of magazines, notebooks, and laptop on my bed with a rising number of empty glasses to the left on my bedside table. I've been sick with tonsillitis since around Sunday now, and not being able to do anything but lie in bed feeling sorry for myself has been driving me crazy.
I wouldn't even say I'm one of those people with a hectic schedule. I don't have a job, at least not yet, but in my mind, I still have a million things to do. I guess you could say I'm one of those people that actually creates things for themselves to do, and that can be seen as either good or bad. Or, both.
The plus side to this productivity-obsessed little workaholic inside me (that I never even knew really existed until I one day, got off my ass and stopped being lazy) is that it gets things done. At least normally. It's the little nagging voice in my brain telling me that I need to do this and that, keeps me on top of my schedule (schedule for what exactly?) I hear you say - I'm getting to that, hang on! And, generally, is the driving force inside me that gives me bursts of ambition and motivation when I need it the most, throwing me into creative tasks and overflowing with brilliant ideas.
I guess what I'm really referring to with this, in particular, is my blog. My blog, since around February (which was when it was born, I think) has been the main thing in my life giving me purpose for several months. It's been hard work, being the owner of it and all. I'm the one in charge of whether a new post goes out that day or not, I do the work for those posts, I also laboured and lumbered over the design for a good while, not to mention the social networking aspect of it all and trying to get it out there. You can't exactly afford to be laid-back with a blog, of any kind. If you want to be successful, you have to be consistent.
So, what's the downside to all this then? Having a blog, despite it's ongoing, perhaps sometimes minor, difficulties seems to have brought great meaning to my life, and has enforced this drive and addiction to productivity within me. In a way, you're right (who exactly I'm addressing when I say this, I don't know.). Non the less, you're right.
But there are many setbacks to this 'need' for control, over-ambition, and constant busyness. For example, at this moment, I still don't have a set schedule for my blog. At first, when I really got going with it, I literally forced myself to blog everyday, excluding weekends. Whilst this pressure and demand I placed on myself was stressful, it got stuff done. A new post, most of the time, came out on the day I intended it to - hell, at one point, I was scheduling posts for the day or week ahead! (Talk about organised).
Then things kind of changed. Somewhere between trying to find the time to study and revise during my exam period and generally feeling a bit overwhelmed with the workload inclusive of my blog, I lost my motivation a bit. I mean, hell, I don't exactly regret it now. If I had still tried to post as frequently as I did during that crucial time of my education, then I may not have got the good grades I worked my damn ass off to receive. And who knows what that added stress would have done to me?
But, I have to admit, things haven't really been the same since. Okay yeah, it's the summer and I've been relaxing for as much of it as I can, but the idea of actually needing to update my blog, along with many other things, and the feeling that I'm not doing enough, can be really debilitating.
And this is where the need for control, over any and every circumstance in your life, gets overbearing. Not only do I get that urgency feeling over my blog or just my college work alone anymore, that feeling has also poured over into my personal life. Even over the most simplest and mundane things that lack any real importance in my daily activities.
This week, I've been stressing out because I have two possible job opportunities coming up over the next two weeks. In other words, I need to be available, and I need to deliver. I already have some tasks to care of as it is, places to be, things to do. And the onset of my illness has thrown me off-guard completely - it's messed up my system and how I've planned my life to be for the next fortnight.
And then, that's where the worry sets in - there's nothing I can do about it. I just have to wait 'til I get better. But, god, for whatever reason, that scares me!
Now, after looking at the bigger picture, I can obviously see that it's a lack of control, over almost anything, that I find most unpleasant to deal with. When I have no control over something, my whole body goes into panic mode. When you're so used to being in control of 99.9% of things within your life, and that 1% comes along to show you who's really boss, it can really mess with your overall happiness.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the whole point of this post. This need for control in our daily modern lives is ruining our chances of happiness. Now, I'm not saying don't take responsibility for anything any more. I'm not saying go live with the hippies, gamble all of your life savings on the chance of winning the lottery, and leave everything up to fate. Because that's not how it works.
I actually believe that we are in charge of most things in our life, especially our decisions. If we want something, we just have to go and get it, or earn it. This is even more true so for our moods. I've been a firm believer, for a while, that we are in control of our own happiness. We can change our mindsets for the better.
But, seeing as we are so responsible for our own happiness and life-fulfilment, this is why we need to take charge and actually relinquish control from time to time. Our control of others' emotional states, outcomes of experiences that are completely out of our reach, the way next week/month/year must go in terms of how we want it to go, or feel it should.
Why should you, from time-to-time, give up control over certain aspects of your life? Because when are we so focussed and determined to control every damn thing we can think of, we are...
A) Firstly, taking away the ability to genuinely feel content with our lives and ourselves. When we're not living up to our own expectations and doing the things we think we 'need' 'must' 'ought' 'should' do, we become critics and feel dissatisfied with ourselves as people.
B) When we fail to produce desired outcome/experience of said situation or event, we no doubt set ourselves up for a downfall and disappointment. Seems obvious but it's true, and something we (me included) often ignore!
So, the basic summary is this - by all means, take charge of your own life. Don't sit around always waiting for things to happen when you know damn well what you want and are ready to go after it. But, occasionally, just remind yourself that it can't and won't hurt to reel in your inner 'control freak' sometimes. Let go of those things you know you can't influence, and let life, and time, work it's magic.
Relinquishing this need to control, I'm sure, will be a liberating process, and will provide us all with a new sense of freedom. The freedom of sometimes not knowing what is going to happen, but being absolutely fine with that.
The best things that tend to happen are the ones we have no control over anyway. Or never saw coming!