Do you enjoy planning each one of your days ahead? Are you one of those who always wants to be in control of everything? Losing control and letting go of the need to control everything are different. In this post, we will go through some basic steps on how to stop the need to control everything.
These last few days I spend them on the beautiful island of Ikaria. Ikaria became internationally noted through an ongoing health project called Blue Zones run by Dan Buettner. According to this project, the island is one of the few locations in the entire world where people live such long, balanced lives. The main reason behind it is mostly the lifestyle of its people, as well as owning rather than being owned by time.
During my short staying here, I have met people from all over the world who left their jobs and their whole life and moved here to live a totally different life. The rhythms everything is moving on this island are totally different compared to how people live in the big cities.
All of them confessed that the biggest lesson they learnt and still learning here is how to let go of their tendency to control everything. I can understand how tough this is since their previous lifestyle trained them otherwise.
One thing you can do to stop this need to control everything is to quit everything and move to Ikaria. But don’t do that. It will get too crowded. After all, you can always visit for a short seminar.
So, what can you do to stop the need to control everything?
How to Stop The Need to Control Everything
1. Identify Your Fear Behind Your Need for Control
The human need for control is deeply connected with fear. People feel the need to plan and prepare because they are afraid of what might happen if they don’t. And although setting goals and planning your way forward is a good thing, extensive planning is not.
You might want to prepare yourself so that you can overcome every single obstacle that might appear in your way. You are afraid that if something remains unplanned, there is a huge probability that things will mess up and you will look weak, less capable, not trustworthy, whatever.
Most of the things that we are afraid of are not even real. Most of them are just stupid ideas living inside our minds only. Identify your fears and choose to overcome them.
2. Identify Whether Something is Within Your Control
Not everything you try to control is within your control. A big example of this is the weather. People have this tendency to get mad when the weather changes their plans, while what they can only do is adjust their plans based on how the weather is.
Trying to control things that are out of control is pointless. We can only do our best and control ourselves and our actions, responses, and emotions. We can control neither the weather nor circumstances or other people. Identify whether what you are trying to control is actually out of your control.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”Steve Maraboli
Read Also: This is How Slow Living Benefits Your Life
3. Understand Whether Your Need to Control Controls You
The need to control everything takes so much energy and demands great effort and mental engagement. Over-planning can become an obsession that can only harm you instead of benefit you. When you try to control things that are out of your control, you become a slave to your obsession. Instead of having control, you are being controlled by it.
4. Question What You Think Might Happen if You Lose Control Over Something.
I used to have this stupid way of thinking that there were certain things I used to handle that if I wouldn’t plan them and expect them to happen in a specific way, I would disappoint certain people, they would blame me, and nobody else could do them, etc. However, If I had to recall similar moments in the past, nothing really terrible ever happened.
The same stands for most of us who over plan things. We worry too much about a terrible “what if” scenario that might never really happen. Truth is that in most cases nothing terrible will happen if we just let a few things escape our control.
5. Understand That You Assume a Specific Outcome is the Best Outcome
Most of us plan and try to take control of our lives and what is happening because we believe we are sure about what the final outcome will be. We are sure that if we work hard for three years, we will get a promotion, that we know what is right for us.
Truth is that whatever we aim to accomplish, we hardly ever know the outcome or whether it will end up as everything we thought. How could we ever be sure about something we have never experienced yet?
6. Sometimes Let Go Of Control is What Can Accomplish the Most.
Have you ever tried to swing against the water flow? It exhausts you and you hardly move a few meters. It is amazing though how far you can go when you do the right opposite. There are things in life that are out of your control.
All you can do is accept that they exist and there is nothing you can do to prevent them. In these cases, do not get obsessed with trying to control them. Just let go of control and go with the flow.
7. Stop Living in The Future
When you try to control everything you are in a constant status of thinking what you will do and what the outcome will be, Constantly being a control freak and trying to control everything that might happen means that you spend most of your life living in the future.
Yes, planning is important for your personal growth and human progress. But life happens now. Do not spend all your time living in the future and just stop trying to control everything.
8. Show Some Trust
I believe you can recall moments of your life when things got out of control. When you wanted something totally different from what eventually happened, but yet for some “magical” reason, things turned out to be even better than what you originally planned.
It may seem like I believe in luck or something like that, but quite the contrary. I do not think that it has anything to do with luck. Sometimes just because the things do not turn out the way we wanted them to does not mean that they did not turn out as they were supposed to.
Final Thoughts on How to Stop The Need to Control Everything
We all feel this need to control ourselves and the future. However, for things that are out of control, all we can do is to accept them. The world will not collapse if we allow things to happen which are out of our control. And guess what? They will happen either way.
Control only what is within your control and learn to accept all the rest.
“Have big dreams but focus only on what you can control: your own thoughts, words, and actions. This was Gandhi’s way … in the words of Buddhist poet Gary Snyder, our job is to move the world a millionth of an inch.”Eboo Patel
What about you? Are you a control freak, or do you already know how to stop yourself from the need to control everything?
I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.
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