The Illusion of Control

wednesdays with wayne Mar 14, 2018

As I write this, I’m sitting on an airplane that is getting its second coating of de-icing.  I joked that de icing is de best part.

Why joke?  I mean, I’m now two-and-a-half hours delayed.  Two and a half hours!!!
I could be angry.
I could be worried.

Instead, I changed perspective to know that I’m in the best hands possible and that the best decisions – safety-based decisions – are being made for me.  So here I sit, with my computer in my lap, tackling one more thing on my list.

Welcome To Wednesdays With Wayne

I was looking for inspiration.  Who knew it would come in the form of a snowstorm that has caused massive flight delays!

I’m peaceful.  I’m happy. I’m content.  (I’m also not jammed into a middle seat, so that helps, but still…).  

Here’s what’s cool for me as an observer of people:  No one on this plane is pissed. No one is demanding that we get going.  No one is cranky (okay, maybe that baby in the very back is a little cranky, but the parents seem to be doing well with her).  

Where have you let your blood pressure boil when things beyond your control changed your plans?  

What response techniques do you have for that?  Are you reactive or responsive? Are you Choosing Your Power in this situation or letting the situation become your oppressor?

In any situation, we have choices.  When I was teaching martial arts and self defense, I used to ask my students to consider this one question:  “What’s available to me now? And now? And now?”

Sometimes, there don’t seem to be options externally.  This is a super important point because sometimes the biggest pivot you can do is internally – you can change your mindset.

The snowstorm wasn’t done TO me.  My client, for whom I’m traveling didn’t plan on a storm the day I was to travel.  So none of this is personal. None of it is personal.

The only personal part is my power, which I CHOOSE not to give away to circumstances related to weather.  I’m grateful that I have a conscientious pilot. I’m grateful I have technology at my fingertips. I might eat dinner a half-hour later than I anticipated.  I think I can live with that.

Is my butt tired from sitting?  Yes. I’ve done some stretching, and there’ll be more to come.  (I think this is the first blog in which I’ve referenced my butt.  Aren’t you lucky?) The airfield isn’t shut down. We’re going to be taxiing to the runway soon.  

Oh, did I say two and a half hours?  No, it’s now three hours! Yeah. That’s a serious delay.  And, in that three hours, what could I have changed if I chose to worry?  Worry is just imagination gone badly. It’s a horrible expense of energy.

What would have changed if I or any other passenger had gotten angry?  The effect would have been to raise other people’s blood pressure. That’s not healthy.

So I sit.
I contemplate de-icing jokes and reflect on how sore my butt is from this airplane seat.

I reflect on how lucky I am and therefore how grateful I am that I can let go of certain things outside of my control, while reining in the things within my control.

My perspective is within my control.  When I remind myself that this situation is temporary and that there is a wide, wide array of outcomes available to me, a whole world of opportunities open up to me.  

I have my needs met – I travel with protein bars; I have a seat that has some cushioning to it; I have my laptop; I have the Internet.  How crazy is that!

Oh, and I have George – he reminds me to Stay Curious.  Doing that helps me to smile and to stay in that place of wonder.  I wonder how this will turn out?!?

The challenge for you, then, is to focus on what’s in your control.  How can you take that thing that might be a cause for concern (at work, at home, out in the big, bad world) and turn it into something about which you can smile or relax into?

What’s your biggest worry?  What has recently been thrust upon you?
Is it permanent?  Okay, so what adjustments do you need to make internally and externally?
Is it temporary?  It is? Dang! Lighten up!  When this is over, you’ll be in a much better place.  What options are available to you?

Keep this going!  Build on your ability to figure things out and to let go of the wasted worry.  Focus on outcomes. You’ve got this! Remember to ask yourself, “what’s available to me now?” as each moment offers new potential.  Maybe it’s a smile. Maybe it’s a breath. Maybe it’s reading or writing in your journal.


You might want to take a look at some of the courses I have at  Build new skills by reading Choosing Your Power or taking the Direct Power System course.  

Click those links.  And… Keep making your magic™!!!

~ Dr P ~


Break Through to New Levels of Personal and Professional Success

Sign up below to join my newsletter and receive free training to your inbox ever week!