On Not Being a Control Freak.




“How would your life be different if…You stopped worrying about things you can’t control and started focusing on the things you can? Let today be the day…You free yourself from fruitless worry, seize the day and take effective action on things you can change.” 
― Steve Maraboli

I receive mails.  About how people are unhappy with parents, friends, relationships, life and some also mentioned God. And when I read those mails, there is a common pattern in most of them.

All the people, they want to control.

Control people. Control situations. Control things. Control life.

Truth? You can’t.

How often we set goals? And how often we fail?

How often we plan it all nicely and how often we realize that in all truth that the future is in all honesty completely unpredictable.

You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow and ironically, we try to control years in line.

Working in a youth organization with youth leaders gave me a tremendous experience. I have seen so many of them trying to control the people hierarchy wise below them.

How will we control people? We can hardly control our own mind. How do we think, we can control other people?

The world is chaotic and complex. And, we seek to control it on every occasion. We want to control our surroundings and people and future and situations and what not.

And that’s the root of all the misery.

We want to control, we want everything to be according to our egoistic expectations and when it turns out different, we are saddened and hurt. When people don’t behave in the way, we want them to, we get angry and whimsical.

I ask you. Why will they behave in the way you want? They’ll behave in the way they want.

Sure, you can try to understand them. Help them. Be with them. Probably, give them some words as guidance and help. Or put-forth your view too. But that’s probably the end of it.

You can’t control their thinking. You can’t control their being.

And what is this fuss about trying to control the future? We can be cautious about or be prepared but you can’t control.

How will you control a thing which doesn’t exist?

I say, let go. Let go of things, you can’t control. Let go of the desire to control. Live more freely.

Have you seen a bird? A bird flies. Most of the times without destination– it flies and sings and dances and mates and eats and prey, it does all of it. It either goes with the flow or deals with the wind, as and when it comes. It doesn’t try to control the wind, it can’t. It doesn’t try to control the other birds in the sky or the sky itself.

How can it? it sounds silly even with the thought of it.

We’re pretty much like the birds. Our culture of being overly aggressive and goal-orientated has made many of us into bots. We fix a target and start moving and we try to control everything in such a way that the outcomes remains the same.

But can we truly control?

I say let go of the need to control.

Flow with life for once. Truly live it, with all that is beauty and all that is ugly. How will you know beauty without the ugly? Accept both. Live openly. Love openly.

Drop expectations. What’s the point to it? It only makes us miserable. Let the life unfold like a beautiful book.

For once and all stop the try to control people, that leads to judging. How about just understanding and helping? Without the desire to mould them as we want, like some statue. They’re human and chaotic. That’s what makes them beautiful. Accept them as they’re.

How about letting go of ranting or feeling miserable about things you can’t control? When you come in a position to change, then change. Till then observe and understand and love. What’s the point of this futile exercise?

Plan but not way ahead. Step slowly, guided by the moment– the values of today, the passion of today and then take a step, slowly with a deep breath and a sense of belonging. Live in the moment, with the moment. Truly live.

Don’t try to change the situation. Change your reaction. Ever played a game of cards? You can’t change the cards once they’re dealt, that’s not within your control. How you play them, that’s in your control. So just play. Play for playing.

And many might not agree with it. And, that’s fine. We’re tailored in a way to look only ahead and not now. To try to control the future. To try to control every single bit.

Many will say, “Not plan for my career? What about money? What about this and what about that?” I say, plan. But plan for the moment. Not future. Plan guided by now, what you’re feeling now, what is your intuition now. Not future. Future will come when it has to, anyway.

Try this for once. Live freely. Break the chains of control. And fly like a bird and swim like fish.

Since when did bird started caring about the sky or who is flying? It doesn’t. It is in the moment, living the beauty that flying is.

A fish will just swim. It has no need to control the sea or other fish. It’ll dance and sing and swim, it’ll mate and eat. And deals with the flow as it comes.

Free yourself. Fly and swim. And sing and dance. For once, instead of trying to control everything, try merging and accepting and just flowing.

And that’ll be the most freeing thing ever.

Fly. Flow. Dance.

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8 thoughts on “On Not Being a Control Freak.

  1. “Plan but not way ahead. Step slowly, guided by the moment– the values of today, the passion of today and then take a step, slowly with a deep breath and a sense of belonging. Live in the moment, with the moment. Truly live.” I really loved this quote. I found your blog from My Light Bag’s blog with your guest post and I’m really glad I did because you have a way of putting into words things that I feel. Thank you for this post. I’ve always been a controlling person, but I’ve been learning to flow with the things I can’t control and to shape my life by being aware of my actions/reactions to situations and knowing that it’s up to me how I’ll let something effect me. A lot of our demeanor is formed by our reactions to what life throws at us, and if we’re constantly pushing back what life throws at us, we’ll never be able to learn the lesson that we were meant to learn.

    • Hello Ari,

      Thank you for such a meaningful comment, it means a world to me!

      To embrace everything, good and bad, is a tough task. Probably a way of living which is fairly new and unconventional. But it’s magical, eh.

      Ah, Polina is sweetheart! Doing that guest post was so much fun.

      Keep reading 🙂


  2. Hello Hardik, regarding expectations,

    There are times in the past when I felt just as you described, but I found I still had this burning desire to do more. You see, hopes realized and aspirations attained give us a sense of satisfaction.

    In my mind, having reasonable expectations gives you the best of both worlds. Not expecting perfection from others and realizing that we all have limitations, may be a better way for some.

    Humility and modesty in our own capabilities and that of others will help us to not get frustrated with the outcome.

    Question, If we have zero expectations and elect to not try to control, or guide our lives to any degree, how do you feel our lives are guided?


    • Hello Miles,

      Thank you for such an insightful comment, I really appreciate it.

      Regarding expectations, I have written a post earlier.

      Where I say substitute quality with expectations. Now for most the word quality and expectation may mean same but they come with a fundamental difference that expectation is in relation with others and quality is in relation with yourself. 🙂

      That’s the difference. So what you’re telling is ideologically correct but I would rather use the word quality instead of expectations.

      About living without the need to control? It’s a different ball game. You can have zero expectation but the sense of quality will prevail anyway.

      My friend recently had a breakup. And, when I had a talk with him, it was calm and not at all hyper. The only difference was that there were hardly any expectation. There was a sense of quality which they both realized is not there anymore so it is in best interest to move on.

      There will be always be desire. A fish has desire to eat and mate and a bird has desire to fly, but they don’t desire control of the situation and that’s what I am talking about.

      So have a desire to grow and learn. But not to control.

      Keep reading and Cheers!

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