Control: Goal or Delusion (Part 1)
Ever wish you had more control over your life? I’m guessing your answer is a resounding, “yes, who wouldn’t?”
Mind-reading and mind-control aside, the fact is, it’s human nature. Most everyone wants and struggles for control, few want to be controlled, and fewer, yet, like being out of control, except in controlled environments.
To put ‘control’ in context, here are three of many things you can’t control—influence, yes; control, no: 1. You can’t control what other people say or think about you. 2. You can’t control what others feel. 3. You can’t control the weather, but you can move. As a sailor, you can’t control the wind, but you can adjust the sails. The one thing you most need to control are the words that come out of your mouth. Think before you speak, duh.
I know how true this ‘Control’ issue is. Getting, managing, and keeping control of my life and busy Real Estate career hasn’t gone without struggle, whether as an agent, owner, trainer or coach.
The question, of course, what is ‘control’?
Control, utilizing the three motivators of fear, incentive, and attitude, is simply the power or leverage to affect, influence, and direct people’s behavior, or the course of events.
Control, incidentally, does not necessarily mean manipulation, nor does getting and keeping control require acting like a tyrant or dictator. This is an important distinction for me.
What follows is an affirmation and life-reminder of what I once learned about ‘control’ from the then Ohio State head football coach, Urban Myer. I was lucky to have met him and to have had some time with him through the years.
Football is an interesting analogy for our ‘control’ struggle, isn’t it? I mean you have one team who wants to control the ball and impose its will on the other, and the other guys who also want to win, by controlling your team. And, the battle for control begins.
Note that in any battle, control has two components, one is what you do before you come to battle. It’s called preparation, practice, and training. It can obviously improve the odds of a successful Outcome.
The second control component deals with what you do during and after the game, when things don’t go as planned. How, then, does control enter the picture?
The coach’s message is this: Life isn’t about what happens to us, it’s how we respond, positively or negatively, to disappointments, that determines the ultimate Outcome.
Old news, of course, but do we, you, or I live it? After all, given the human tendency to blame circumstances or others for our problems and disappointments, it should be no surprise that people try to avoid responsibility whenever things goes wrong. The consequence of this tendency is that it stifles growth and learning.
To reinforce his message, Urban once told me one of the first things he does every year with his team is to share this equation that sums up the power of your control
His formula is this: E+R=O. An Event or Experience, plus R, your Reaction or Response to it equals O, the Outcome. This means the effect or lasting impact of an event, positive or negative, depends on and rests in your reaction or response to the event not on the event, itself. This puts control back in your hands.
Incidentally, the question to ask after every disappointment is “What could I have done differently, realistically, to have produced a different Outcome. This is a good habit to get into.
In any case, the ultimate Outcome, then, depends greatly on how you describe the event, how you characterize it, and the causations you attribute to it. In other words, it’s all about attitude and the way you think, and that, fortunately, is up to you. You are in control.
Is an event a setback, a disappointment or an incredible learning experience?
Is it a tragic catastrophe or a blessing in disguise? Look for the silver lining.
E+R=O, simple, right? So is E=MC2, Einstein’s theory of relativity. Both are powerful ideas because of their simplicity. I am not suggesting that Urban Myer is Albert Einstein, but, if understood and practiced, this simple principle can easily resolve over half of all our control issues.
What does this have to do with Real Estate sales, you ask? Keep your eye out for Part 2, next email.