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  • Writer's pictureMark Stefan Reinoso

The Feels, Part 2: "Control"

I felt like I had it all: a nice house on the hill, great employees, nice cars....I ate well, took great vacations and generally had a great time with my family. I had my life dialed in: I knew where the best food was, where the cheapest gas was, the best way to save money in any particular instance. I employed all the life and business hacks I could. I felt firmly in control of my life, and yet I really wasn't happy....and that got me thinking that maybe being in charge, being the master of your universe isn't all that its purported to be. Everyone wants to be in control of something...we want to be the boss, we want to be president, or a politician. We create boundaries for ourselves to control what people do or say to us. We block or un-follow people on social media because we don't like or agree with their postings. We train our children and our dogs to do what we want/behave well. Just try to get your grandma out of the kitchen and cook dinner without her, or teach them a new technique and you will learn all about control...better yet, try to work for a famous chef, you either do it their way, or you don't do it at all. We get irritated when people don't do what they say they will, or even don't do what we think they will do....we freak out when planes or buses are late or even when our phone doesn't work...its all related to control of our environment. We don't like to cry or show wide ranges of emotion because we don't like the feeling of being out of control(I learned this in therapy) I'm not saying that being controlling is necessarily a bad thing, I'm simply saying that we should stop pretending that we aren't control freaks. Being a "control freak" shouldn't be something to be ashamed of, let's embrace it! Perhaps we should even post a rating on our dating profile as well (Control Freak Level: 6). I guess my point is that humans have always been this way. Indigenous people timed their lives around solar and lunar patterns, buffalo and game migrations, availability of resources. That hasn't changed: We like our ruts, we like our predictable patterns. We like to think we are masters or our own universe, and that no one can do it better than we can. The problem is that this isn't really the case. We all depend on other people in every part of our lives, and maybe letting go of some of our extreme controlling tendencies will make us happier. Let the buffalo go free! I think the reason I am writing this is because from the outside, looking at my life, it would seem like I have way too things going on, that I can't possibly do a good job at being a father, a business owner and a travel organizer. I'm out of control, and I can tell you, it's not horrible. What I have learned is what every successful CEO has learned....that giving up control is the only way to go to the next level. You can't be a micro-manager and a be a successful boss...something it took a while for me to learn. Mario Andretti once said: “If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.” Basically he's saying that the winners are the people who push the envelope. I've got kids running around my tiny condo constantly, I can't concentrate or hold a thought without being bothered. I can't cook without being annoyed, I'm not cooking with gas, my kids are full of energy, I've got nosy and psycho neighbors and I'm going from one crisis to another in my business and personal life. I finally gave up months ago and surrendered control to the universe. Like the Kon-Tiki Raft, I am no longer rigid, and letting the unpredictable and undulating waves of life wash over me. IT FEELS REALLY GOOD.

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