Controlling the control freak


Here at The Hill of Beans, I endeavor to highlight that which matters and that which doesn’t.  Those  items that matter for one individual may be different from another, but the concepts of analyzing our lives and clearing out that which is superfluous are common.

One of my inspirations is a popular blog, The Minimalists, authored by Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.  They provide a wealth of information and perspective on how to live a meaningful and deliberate life.

Ryan recently had this to say about ‘mental clutter’, which I believe very important for each of us:

To stop being so hard on myself, I had to learn how to discern the things that mattered and didn’t matter, and the above questions helped. I also had to learn what things were in and out of my control. If something was out of my control, I had to accept this fact so I could focus on the things I could control—the things I could change. — Ryan Nicodemus

I too am frequently hard on myself.  I over analyze each decision.  I foster regrets.  I fixate on mistakes and other trivial matters.  I take on too much responsibility.  I try to control all the aspects of my life, my environment, my sphere of influence.

However, I can’t control everything.  Actually, I am not that good at controlling a whole lot.

I don’t need to be in control of that which doesn’t matter, and neither do you.  I can simplify my life, relax, and enjoy those things that matter most.

Here are a few things I’ve learned to when I am frustrated by myself and my controlling tendencies:

Breathe.  This is a Zen concept, but useful for us all.  Pause for a moment.  Take a few deep breaths.  Focus only on your breathing.  Relax your body.  Clear your mind.  Then re-engage in your current challenge.

Learn to let go.  Be forgiving of yourself and the past.  Let go and move on.

I don’t have all the answers.  I never will.  Learn from others, but make your own decisions but on the best information you have.

Look at the big picture.  What will make sense 30 years from now?  What is the end state of this activity/project/relationship/endeavor?

Take small incremental stepsDon’t get greedy.  With the big picture in mind, do what you can today to slowly make progress toward that goal.

Involve the people in your life with your challenges.  No man or woman is an island.  We are made for relationships.  We are to share our burdens with one another.  We are to look out for the interests of each other.  This is why we are here on the planet – to work together for a common good.  It takes a village.

What do you think?  What can you do today to release control and focus on that which matters?

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About John Forrest