The Illusion of Control: Navigating the Unseen Consequences
Welcome to the “Ignorance Isn’t Bliss,” Blog where we unravel the mysteries of the metaphysical. Today, we embark on a journey to explore “The Illusion of Control” and the unforeseen consequences that often accompany it. As we navigate the complexities of this topic, prepare to question the narratives we construct around the concept of control.
In our daily lives, the illusion of control is a powerful force that shapes our decisions and actions. We often believe we have a firm grip on the steering wheel of life, but do we truly control the outcomes, or is it a delicate dance with the unpredictable? Let’s unravel this enigma together.
The Comfort of Control:
We, as human beings, tend to find solace in routines and plans. We believe they are what give us control over our lives, so we create and try to maintain more and more of them. Until every moment of our days, and some nights are laid out, we know what we need to do, and what we can expect as a result of our plan.
As long as we get those results, it’s a win. What happens when they don’t though?
Take a little time right now to consider the following:
- Think of a day where everything you “planned”, went according to the plan 100%.
- Considering that, think of how many things did go according to plan. What percentage do you need to “feel” in control?
- Lastly, consider what efforts you exert to make sure you achieve that percentage at a minimum, every day?
The Unforeseen Ripples:
I’ve talked before about The Ripple Effect. How we live in a fluid universe and everything we do has an impact on everything else, out in every direction. Not just the directions we can can physically see or are otherwise aware of and not just when we are conscious of it. It’s constant.
Imagine it being like living in a universe sized aquarium and you are but a tiny fish swimming around somewhere in the middle of it. Every wave of your fin, every breath you take in and push out, every flick of your tail are movements you make to stay where you are unless you find reason to go elsewhere. Each movement creates a ripple in the water that moves outward from you in every direction.
The ripples you create are felt to varying degrees by every other organism in the aquarium. Not just the ones you see and likely know. All of their movements effect you also. Suddenly, you hit by a wave out of nowhere that knocks you around and takes away your sense of control.
Most of the things that happen in our lives are beyond our control. There are unseen ripple effects created by the movements of all the organisms in the aquarium with us, seen and unseen, constantly.
- Take some time to consider an instance that you controlled that had unintended consequences for someone else. Can you track the steps forward from your actions to their outcome?
- Take some more time to consider a situation that you barely escaped, like a major accident on your work route that you would have been in if you had left just a few moments sooner. See if you can track back the series of events that prevented you from being in that situation.
- Reflect on the interconnected nature of events and how our actions send ripples into the fluid of existence and effect everyone also in the universe, whether you want them to or not.
Navigating the Unknown:
We fear unknowns. That fear makes us stop in dead in our tracks and move away from what is in front of us. We must learn to push through the fear in order to move forward. Doing so can be uncomfortable and at times, even painful. When we know what we are encountering, we can maneuver around and navigate through it.
We have to take the time with the fear. A pause is appropriate, but there are steps that can be taken during the pause that allow us to move forward. During the pause, you should:
- Examine the situation. Look at everything. Is there a visible path through the situation? If not, is there an escape way? Control is knowing there is always a way out, even if it is backward, and using it when necessary.
- Learn about what you are experiencing. Do a google search, read a book, reach out an ask a friend. It is very likely what you are encountering has been encountered by someone else. Their experience with it can give you insight and knowledge about it. It is just not known by you. Get to know about it.
- Experiment. Take time to think about the possible ways you can move forward safely, even if the situation itself is not completely safe. Try it. If it doesn’t work, you know where the escape path is. Use it.
- Come back and try again. Each time you come back, you know a little more than you knew before and get a little closer to the other side of your fear.
Coming back is integral to the process of overcoming or getting through fear. When we don’t come back to it and actively take steps to move through it, we avoid it, and remain fearful. If we learn how to navigate, with observation, education, and small steps forward with experimentation, despite discomfort, we can move through anything and accomplish a great many things we never thought possible.
In my own journey, I’ve encountered numerous moments in my life where the illusion of control shattered, revealing a profound series of lessons and adjustments I’ve needed to make. We’ve recently gone through a bout of homelessness because I believed that I had full control and there was no way we would face eviction. Until we did.
I’d received a lump sum payment for a job I was doing. We were caught up, so we paid the rent 3 months in advance when I received it. We paid for another 2 months in advance a couple weeks later. I’m a meticulous record keeper, so I tracked and logged every payment made, just in case. I believed being prepared for anything is the best way to maintain control of my life. It was exhausting, but the thought of not being in control was terrifying and agitating.
When we were served eviction papers on the 2nd of the 4th of the 5 months we paid for, for non-payment of rent. We weren’t expecting it, but I had proof. I gathered up and organized our records and filed the paperwork to fight the eviction in court. I believed I had full control of and the upper hand in this situation because I had proof of every payment, and there were payments in our records that were not in the property owner’s records, so the eviction would be thrown out. We had another month paid in full. I just had to get the records in front of the judge.
My husband had just had surgery 2 days before the court date. He needed at least a couple of weeks to recover and heal a bit before doing any heavy lifting, and the surgery could not wait until we moved and got settled into someplace new. We were also finding it difficult to find a place we could afford to move to. The property owner knew this somehow.
When we arrived at the court building, before we even got into the court room, the property owner and his attorney pulled us into a conference room and asked us how long we needed to move out. They were willing to give us a little time, but continuing our lease of the place was not an option. They wanted to give us 3 days, but asked how long we needed to get out if they gave us a little more time and agreed to other terms.
I was ready to fight this to the death. I’d worked my ass off to make the money and used it to pay all of our bills ahead. Giving us 5 moths to not stress and struggle, wondering if we were going to have enough to pay everything every single month. Here someone was telling the court, the credit bureaus, and potential landlords we hadn’t done it. The money was gone, I had proof we gave it to them and how long it was supposed to carry us. How could we lose? I said no, absolutely…
I looked at my husband and he was in agony. He just wanted to go home, take a pain pill, and sleep through the rest of the day. He really didn’t care about fighting at that moment. He didn’t want to sit in the courtroom for hours in pain. He wanted time to heal and get back to ok.
My want to fight fizzled. My sense of control of the situation just disappeared, and I wasn’t upset about it. All I wanted to do was get him home so he could feel better and get better. I said we needed until the end of the month (2 weeks).
They agreed, we spent 5 minutes in the court room, 3 minutes waiting for our case to be called, 1 minute talking to the judge from our seats to say we agreed to the terms the attorney presented, and 1 minue getting the hell out of there. My meticulously kept records, the time I spent organizing our proof, and the judge never saw any of it.
I didn’t see it at the time. The reasons this needed to happen. The lessons I’ve had to learn, the skills I’ve had to gain, and the revelation that the control I thought I had was an illusion, were agony, but they were also truly empowering.
I had preparation. I didn’t have control. I needed this situation to happen so I could see the difference or I would have gone the rest of my life thinking I was in control, and being disappointed, angry, and unhappy, because I’m really not in control of much of anything. I’m prepared for almost anything, though, and really not even that as much as I thought I was. Then I’ve spent time getting ok with that.
Adjusting my expectations so they align with reality is a key to my happiness. It isn’t that I spend more time “happy” but I definitely spend less of it “unhappy”.
Call to Action:
What are your thoughts on the illusion of control? Have you experienced situations where the desire for control led to unexpected outcomes? Join the conversation in the comments below and share your insights.
As we conclude this exploration of “The Illusion of Control,” remember that life’s tapestry is woven with threads of uncertainty. Embracing the unknown may lead to a more profound understanding of our existence. Join us next Saturday at 3 pm as we continue our quest to challenge assumptions and open the door to metaphysical insights.