“We are in control or we are out of control. There is no in between.”
This is a popular mindset I cannot get behind. “Why?” one may ask. For the simple reason we have no control over life’s changes. Many people are taught to be in control. Yet, we have no control over the weather, automotive accidents or emergencies. Sure we can eat right and exercise. But, these are precautionary measures taken to avoid complications.
“Manage” is a proper word for replacing “control.” We manage our time, health, and budget. We manage life. When something out of the ordinary occurs, we circumvent it with proper planning. It is this preparation that allows us to have a feeling of control.
To be in control means we control everything. We know this is not possible. We have our limitations. But, we do have control over how we act and react. Knowing what to do before an emergency hits is how we manage life’s unexpected surprises. From losing a shirt button before a presentation to weathering a hurricane, we need to know what to do. This is how we reduce stress in a stressful situation.
To say one is in control of their lives is to point out their ability to mitigate problems. They have a plan for everything and appear to be happy and content. Life can’t knock them down. The truth is this is a disciplined chap. They understand it takes foresight to navigate around obstacles. Perhaps it took them saving $100 per month for a little over eight years to have that ten grand in the bank. Emergencies do happen, and there will always be a reason not to save money.
In my youth, I was always told, “We are poor. We can’t afford that.” I grew up thinking I would never be able to afford “that.” It was my grandfather, who later became my father, who taught me the power of budgeting. His retirement check was small, but that didn’t stop him from getting what he wanted. Planning made all the difference.
With this in mind we can now see that an out of control person has no plan, no budget, and may find themselves losing hope. This is not the ideal place for us to be. Stress builds easy in an unmanaged life. Depression and despair can consume the soul. Crying and bellowing the “Woe Is Me” song fixes nothing. It may get us attention, but the problem still arises. No one likes a drama-fanatic. (Reminds me of a person I once knew who caused self-problems to get attention. Turns out, they were lonely and didn’t know how to find friends.)
I could have reduced this blog to five words, “Life happens. Prepare for it.”, but where’s the fun in that. Our happiness resides within our ability to manage stress. It takes structure and discipline to stick to a plan. All too often I ran off with friends to have fun, when I should have saved. When times were tough, my friends weren’t there. Nope, I paid for my prodigal ways. Oh the lessons I learned in my youth. I was the guy who worked all the time and had nothing to show for it. I was not “in control.” So, take it from someone who has been there. Set down and make a plan. Save for a rainy day. Stop spending your hard earned dollar on nic-nacs and fast food. Your credit card is not an income. Don’t confuse want over needs. Yeah, these are the things my father harped about. I only listened after I fell on my face, and realized he was right.
Until the next blog, Stay off the grass, slow down; this isn’t a race, and for Pete’s sake pick up your feet when you walk 🙂
2 thoughts on “Control Through Management”
Your post reminds me of some lyrics by Bob Dylan: “You always got to be prepared but you never know for what” (from “Sugar Baby”).
There is only so much we can foresee and prepare for. I think instead of the word “control” we might use the words “allow” and “flow.” But these things are hard for people who are judgmental control freaks. We are often afraid of the new and unknown, and we often try to make the future like the past so we can predict the future and prepare for it.
However, although the future may rhyme with the past, it continues to evolve in new and unexpected ways. For this reason, I personally don’t make many predictions or fixed plans or schedules. I try to let my inner guide, with my intuition, show me what to do in each moment. Many people reject the idea that there are spiritual powers that can guide us, but I would be lost without my faith in spiritual guidance. I simply do not have enough knowledge and wisdom on my own to make good decisions.
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Great advice! Basicalliy what I taught my millennial kids who were smart enough to listen.
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