Change is hard for all of us, myself included. In this new series, I’ll be sharing daily mediations on transition, change, reinvention. Look out all you rock and rollers, turn and face the strange.
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Kidman, in her stellar performance in the award winning racing movie, makes the following speech to her driver and then husband:
I’m going to let you in on a secret that most other people know. Control is an illusion. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next. Not on a freeway, and certainly not on a racetrack with other infantile egomaniacs. Nobody controls anything. You’ve had a glimpse of that, and you’re scared.
And who wouldn’t be, right? All human beings are control freaks. Forget about opioids, that’s our country’s most prominent addiction.
But the good news is, just because control is an illusion doesn’t mean that we are victims. We may live in this dizzying and uncertain world, but we are not impotent in the face of it. If we are willing to confront the dangerous conceit of putting our faith in our own hands, then we have a real shot and becoming empowered and fulfilled human beings.
Citrin’s research on resilience comes to mind. He found that most people misperceive and underestimate their ability to deal with such perceived lack of control and, consequently, it’s their thinking that needs to change.
Running with that, here is a collection of absurd questions to assess your own relationship with the drug of control:
Do you believe this world is truly yours for the enjoying, or do you see it as wearying burden that pins you down with obligations?
When things go awry, do you take control of the process, or sit back and hope it gets better?
Can you acknowledge that you actually have a role in your future, or are you submitting under the unseeing eye of some blind idiot god that you inherited as a child?
All nihilism aside, empowerment, which is the ability to make decisions that influence the outcomes of our work, is our best shot at responding to our lack of control in this world.
Because no matter how chaotic things get, each of us can grow to love the empowerment that accompanies being responsible for all our actions. The simple awareness that we can stop sitting on our hands and start getting them dirty to improve our condition, it really does make a difference.
Bonhoeffer summarizes it beautifully in his book of sermons:
Having peace means having a home amid the restlessness of the world, having solid ground beneath one’s feet, and though the waves foam and rage ever so wildly, they can no longer rob me of my peace.
Control may be an illusion, but empowerment isn’t.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What one very small change could profoundly influence how your life unfolds daily?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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