Positivity on Fire

The Illusion of Control

August 14, 2021 Episode 30
Positivity on Fire
The Illusion of Control
Show Notes Transcript

You’re in control right? You have a belief that you can control situations, control others, and have a well laid plan for your life -- does that resonate with you? If so and you are looking for ways to let go then this episode is for you. 

In today’s episode, host Jason Ramsden challenges your illusion of control, shares 5 tips for helping let go of control, as well as a fatherhood story about stopping to pressure his son academically and how it saved their relationship.

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5 mindfulness techniques for letting go of control by Anisa Purbasari Horton (fastcompany.com)
Letting Go of Control by Stefan James (medium.com)
10 Ways to Let Go of the Need to Control by Lauren Stahl (huffpost.com)

App Links
Calm App; Calm is the #1 app for sleep and meditation. Join the millions experiencing better sleep, lower stress, and less anxiety. (Apple, Android)

Amazon Links**
Metahuma: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential by Depak Chopra, MD.
Chatter;The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It
EP11: Give and Take by Adam Grant
The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
Find Your Why by Simon Sinek (


Hi, I'm Jason Ramsden and I believe we can all work on leading a more positive and intentional life. And this show details my journey by sharing my learning stories and conversations with guests. If you want to lead a more intentional life focus on being the best you possible. Please subscribe today. Now, let's get into today's episode. Hello, my positivity posse. Welcome back to another edition of positivity on fire. I am your host, Jason Ramsden and today we're talking about the illusion of control. And to get your mind right I'm going to start us off with a quote today. I can only control myself, my actions, my work ethic and my attitude that comes from Ali Krieger, US National Women's soccer team from back in the day and current Orlando pride forward. And I'm gonna say that quote one more time, I can only control myself, my actions, my work ethic, and my attitude, which is a perfect primer, a perfect lead in to the illusions of control. Now I know you may be saying yourself, listen, I am in control, I'm always in control j, this is what I do. I take control of my life. It's no, I'm not talking about you being in control of yourself. That's what I want to talk about today. The illusion of control is believing in the fact that you have control over other things. You have control over people, you have control over the workplace, you have control of how your day goes, how your plans go, where your life is headed. The truth is, that is an illusion. We do not have control over anything except how we act, the attitude that we have the mindset that we bring to each and every day, as well as how we take care of ourselves, and how we interact with other people. Now, if you're fighting me on this one, think about this for a moment, you may not be aware. But psychologists say that when you are constantly trying to control the situations constantly trying to be in control of every single thing in your life, it leads to unproductive stress. Because it often puts us into constant and extended fight or flight mode. To put it bluntly, it exhausts our nervous system, and just it leaves us wiped out. It leaves us jittery. It leaves us craving an end to what's going on in our life, because we spend so much time trying to control it. How many times have you been in a situation where you are projecting about something that's going to happen? The next day, maybe you have a meeting with your boss, maybe you have a meeting with somebody that is on your team, perhaps you're going for an interview, perhaps you're getting ready to fly and what you do, you run through these worst case scenarios over and over and over in your head, thinking that perhaps you can predict what may be the outcome that will happen or maybe when it'll happen. And you play it in your mind over and over and over again. Rather than just sitting here right in the moment in preparing yourself for those events, you are preparing for yourself for something that may or may not happen. In short, you're trying to be in control, but it's just an illusion of control. Now I get it, we like to attach ourselves to outcomes, we like to push for things that happened in a certain way we want to walk to the beat of our own drum, we want to have things going according to our own agenda. And we often try to run the show, I can tell you that's not reality. The reality is things go a lot more smoothly, life proceeds at a better pace. Things happen when we let them happen when we allow them to happen when we open ourselves to being able to be thoughtful about what could happen, as opposed to trying to control every single element of a day, a week, a month or a year. Now if you're a regular listener to this show, you know that I'm a big proponent of meditation, I'm a proponent of mindfulness and mindset, believe that mindset is a way to kind of get ourselves focus in the right way as we go through life. And so for those of you who struggle to be in control of things, where it feels like you're constantly on the hamster wheel going around and around and around, let me share with you a few things where the importance of letting go of control could certainly help you. Now you may know the name Deepak Chopra is a prominent alternative medicine advocate. He's the author of metta human, unleashing your infinite potential. But what he says is that one of his principles that he stands by, when it comes to being mindful, is that you need to completely detach yourself from the outcomes. He doesn't have a goal or a hope on whether or not Not things that he doesn't feel like things that he will do in his life will have a positive change. No, he simply chooses to share what's on his mind to share his ideas with those who are interested in learning about them. And it's independent, he says it's independent of hopes and despair, whether or not to make a difference. And I love that mindset. I love that thinking, because that is exactly what I am trying to bring to you each and every Saturday is that, trying to get you to understand that if you let go of control, if you let go and let life happen to you, rather than trying to impose what you believe, should happen in your life, on to it, you're going to find yourself in a much better spot. So today, I have for you five things that you can help kind of losing control. This comes from a Fast Company article. And you know, I'm always gonna bring you some research. So what I'm talking about, but what I find fascinating about these five things, is it's pretty simple, right? The tactics that you can use in your life, to remove that control that you're trying to impose upon it are fairly simple. You just need to get your mind wrapped around, get your mindset headed in the right direction, and get yourself focused on making that change. Now, I know I talked about it here on the show before, the challenge of change is difficult. Sometimes we look at it. And we're afraid to change, we're afraid for what it means in our life, we're afraid to let go of control. And oftentimes, you wonder whether or not you have the courage to change. And all I'm saying is you need the courage to take the first step towards changing. So here are those five things. Number one, identify your triggers. So if you're in a place right now, where you can stop, where you can have a pen and paper without causing any harm to anybody else, this is what I want you to do. Write down those things that trigger you when you feel you need to control things. In my life control for me is always about being a little obsessive compulsive around the way the house is kept to making sure that there's a place for everything and everything is in its place. That's something that I like to control, because it's something I can have control over. And what triggers me are when things a mess, when there's piles of things everywhere things are left behind, or people don't push in a chair or clean up after themselves. That's a trigger for me. So there's an example for you. So go ahead. And if you need to press pause and write down your triggers. Go ahead and do that now. Okay, do you have them? Read them over? What What did you come up with? Are there things that perhaps you realize now that are triggers for you, I give you example of what was the trigger for me, put those someplace, put them someplace where you can remember to reach for them, put them in your phone, write them on a piece of paper, put them in your your notebook, your purse, whatever it may be, whatever you carry with you regularly, hold on to that, that you know what's going to trigger you to have this desire to control things. Number two on the list, do a mental dump of your feelings, let's just just get them out of your head, get them down. The need to control sometimes is a reaction to unpleasant feelings. So go ahead, take those emotions right there. They're difficult to regulate. You may be in a place where you are trying to suppress emotions, don't let them go. Right? Once you kind of dump those out, put them on the table, if you will, you get this kind of sense of ease a sense of calm that comes over you. But what happens is that when you're trying to control things, we keep the emotions inside we repress them, we push them down. And what that does to us, all that does is build into that rabbit wheel of stress and anxiety and irrational emotional outbursts. Because we're trying to control a situation and we can't we take all the stuff, we put it down inside and the next thing you know we're exploding at somebody who doesn't need to be exploited that that's not a way to go through your life. Number three, employ some distance. So sometimes, when we are out there trying to control other people's thoughts and actions, I get it, we can't, you know, you know, deep down you can't, but you still try to do that. Right? So for example, you may have a friend that always tells inappropriate jokes or makes inappropriate comments, and they might even still do it after you've had the courage to ask them to stop doing it. You may even get into a disagreement with that friend. So what are you gonna do? employ some distance? Sometimes it's easier to employ distance than Continuing to try to control a situation that, yes, the illusion of control that you have no control over. When you don't employ that distance, what happens, right, you play things over and over in your head, you start to remember the things that they did to you, you start to remember, perhaps, in your head, why they did it to you, you perhaps wonder why they did it to you, you don't understand. And when you don't give yourself that distance, that then sparks more controversy, more hurt more fights. And so you just really, again, employing some distance is a pretty good strategy. When you're trying to control someone or something that you can't control. Number four on the list, choose to deal with it in the future, just put it aside, it's okay to yourself, hey, not right now, anxiety, not right now stress, I hear you, I acknowledge that you exist. But I'm going to put you over here for now, I'm going to put you on the side, I'm going to write you down on a piece of paper, I'm going to come back to you later. And I'm going to continue working with my life right now, I am going to set aside time for worrying. So that could be a great strategy as well is if you take a moment of your day, or a moment of your week, where Okay, here's my worry our it's at a time or a place just for me to kind of worry about the things I need to worry about. And when it's over, it's over. Let it go. Drop it and move on. You're never going to find an answer to your worries, it's going to be hard to find any answer to your worries, especially if you're trying to control things you have no control over and you just relentlessly worry about them. But set some worry time aside. And finally, number five, learn to see uncertainty as a part of life. Yes, we do it every single one of us does it. I do it myself. A perfect example of this is like when I go into a restaurant or I go into a building or if I go into a plane or train anything, whatever it may be, I am doing a what if scenarios in my head? What if this happens? What if this occurs? What's the closest exit? Can I see all the exits? Can I see people coming towards me? I have no idea where that come from. I jokingly make fun of it when I'm out with people and I need to have my back to a place where I can see the door I call it the Lincoln complex. I do the what ifs? What if we just decided you know what uncertainty is a part of life, I have to accept that it's a part of life. It If I don't, it can make me unnecessarily miserable. Because I'm always doing what ifs. Now, in my example, it's not always doing what else I'm doing in certain situations where I feel like I need to know how to get out of a situation. But what if you just said to yourself, you know what, I can't control life, I can't control what happens. I can't control other people, I can only control how I interact with the world around me, I can only control my own attitude, my own work ethic, I can only control how I go about my business, I can't control anything else, or anyone else. I would say to if you if you can't if you struggle with control, if you struggle with the ability to let go. And as a good friend of mine says let go and let God you may not be religious, but that's a great saying is that reach out for support. Find somebody to connect to know that you're not alone know that there are people who can help you through. times when you feel like you have to control certain certain situations. Reach out to someone you value and trust and then talk about how you're feeling. Talk about what it is that you feel like you need to control and search for answers on how you can kind of free yourself from that. And as you start to process more of the content of the show, I would just ask you to ask yourself, what would happen if you let go of control? What's the worst thing that could happen to you in your life, if you let go of control? If you step back from the situation, if you elevated yourself 30,000 feet into the air, and you were able to kind of look down on what was going on. And you could rationalize looking at yourself and looking at a situation and say to yourself, gosh, that person down there, they actually can't control the outcome of what's going to happen over there. So why are they bothering it? Why are they Why are they going through the motions of trying to do that? I can see from up here that it's totally stressing them out. So stop. Say to yourself, what is the worst thing that could happen if I let go of control of the things that I cannot change in my life? My best advice for you to sum up this show is to let go loosen your grip and live your life. An example of this from my own life is this when my son was in school, especially in the early years now he could memorize facts like no one I knew, he could regurgitate, spit back anything that he read, when he got into eighth, ninth and 10th grade. Now it's the time when school becomes more about applying the information that you learn rather than just memorizing it. He started to struggle, he lost his footing academically a little bit, now in my infinite wisdom, as the Father and because Truthfully, I saw him struggling in school like I had as a kid, and I didn't want him to do that. I pushed hard on him to achieve more. I've tried to control how he worked. And I was constantly constantly on him, truthfully to the detriment of our relationship. And then somewhere in the middle of 10th grade, something clicked for me. I realized we only have about two more years at home together. And for some reason, I don't recall exactly why. But for some reason, I decided to back off and let him find his own way. And not surprisingly, he did. And our relationship improved. shocker, right, shocker that once I tried to stop controlling his life and focused on what I could focus on, which was supporting him, and asking good questions of him, and being someone who he could turn to as opposed to turn away from things changed, and they have been amazing ever since. And what I didn't realize was in that moment, in those 13 1415 year old years, I could have done or continued to have done serious damage to our relationship, and we couldn't have ever gotten that back. So just think about that for a moment. Think about something in your own life that perhaps resonates with you along the lines of that story. And just just remember, if you want real control, drop the illusion of control. Let life live you. Because it does. Anyway. Thank you, Byron Katie, for that amazing quote. As we get ready to wrap up, I asked you this question, what do you need to let go of control of in your life, if you have the courage to share reach out to me at Jason at positivity on fire.com, I'd love to connect. I'd love to hear what you're working on. And as we close this show, as I do every single time, I just want to thank you for being here. The time that you commit to my show as a fan, the time that you spend listening, you can't get that back, you give it to me and that means the world to me. And always remember be well be happy, be you and until the next time. May your quest for positivity begin today. For more of my positivity quest, follow me at underscore j y Ramsden on Instagram tik tok and Twitter. If you liked today's episode, please give us a five star rating and review on your favorite podcast app or visit pod chaser comm and search for positivity on fire. Positivity on fire is a production of impact one media LLC All rights reserved.