Who’s In Control

In this week’s spotlight I would like to discuss the difference between what we can control and what we can’t. We all know people who are, what is commonly referred to as, control freaks. Generally speaking, a control freak is a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others, and to take command of any situation. To some extent, we are all somewhat inclined to be a bit of a control freak especially in light of the idea that we should be in control of ourselves—but just how much control do we ever truly have?

Subconscious Control

Researchers have demonstrated that most, if not all, of our thoughts originate from the subconscious. We do something, say something, and perhaps we wonder why? This too is something we have all experienced. Where is control at times like these?

Most of us fuss over little things involving ourselves as well. How much we weigh, how good our clothes look, the shine on our shoes to the makeup we wear, these things we also like to think we have some control over. However, as one ages they quickly discover that something outside their volition is really in control of much of their appearance. So again, what are we controlling?

Personal Improvement

We talk a lot about personal improvement today and that generally means everything from making more money to becoming a better person—but are we really in control of these things. Just how much negative self-talk do we hear coming from the inside out? Research has repeatedly demonstrated connections between our environment and genetics that can lead to everything from criminality to genius. Are we truly in control of this maturation matrix, the so-called nature/nurture aspect of who we are? Further, can we really expect to totally control its influence in our adult lives?

If we listen to many experts today ranging from the philosopher to the neuroscientist, the answer at best is “Maybe—depending—conditionally, etc.” My own research along these lines suggests the only long-term way you can gain control is by reprogramming your subconscious mind. That said, there are many things in life that we simply can’t control with our minds.

From time to time the world throws us curve balls that alter our course of direction and sometimes change our lives. We can’t control the obvious things like the weather, and we can’t control many other outside factors as well. So the question arises again, “What exactly are we in control of?”

The Paradox

One of the tactics deployed by behavioral scientists often illustrates how little we are in control of, while creating a sort of paradox at the same time. The paradox proceeds along a dichotomous line this way—on one side rests the understanding that we are not in control while on the other side is the encouragement to improve ourselves by gaining more self-control. This sort of self-composure accepts what cannot be changed and is challenged by that which is believed to be within the grips of change possibilities.

So we can be better people, we can be more caring and sharing, we can find more happiness and experience more quality in our lives, but paradoxically so, often only because we quit trying to control everything—and that often includes ourselves. Indeed, the whole notion of self-forgiveness is anchored by the realization that what’s done is done and crying over the proverbial spilt milk is only counterproductive.


Change your InnerTalk and thereby change your thinking, and you will change your life—this has long been a motto my company has flown. Recognizing that some things are beyond our ability to control, or change, is a giant leap forward in the process of self-realization.

My thoughts anyway, what are yours?

Eldon Taylor

Eldon Taylor

Eldon Taylor
Provocative Enlightenment
NY Time Bestselling Author of Choices and Illusions