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Is Your Controlling Behaviour Masking Your Fear?

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Is Your Controlling Behaviour Masking Your Fear?

Would you consider yourself a controlling person? Would you say you manage your ‘fears’ or your fears manage you?  I’ve worked with tons of people who say fear doesn’t stop them and they don’t let fear influence their life, yet, they are some of the most controlling people I know.  Trying to control everything in life is actually a way people manage their fears. So those people think they are managing their fear effectively, but they are actually masking it by trying to control everything.

You can easily separate the two types; just watch when things happen that they have no control over and see how ‘fearful’ they react in that moment. You see people freaking out when they lose control over the outcome of something and you see others that just smile and remain calm; because they have another type of confidence; that whatever happens, out or in their control, it will be ok. No problem becomes bigger than them.

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When we fear something or we try to control it, this behavior can take on many forms; and we might think we are managing the situation well, when in fact it could also be detrimental to success and achieving the desired outcome. You see if you don’t realize your need to control is actually fear, you will keep attracting what you fear!

Are You Too Controlling For Your Own Good?

To see the destructive effects of controlling behavior, it’s important to understand why it arises in the first place. The root of controlling behavior is fear; whether it’s the fear of the unknown, or the fear of failure. When we try to micromanage everything in our lives it’s usually because we’re in search of security and certainty.

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The spontaneity and uncertainty of real life can be a frightening concept. Because the allure of control is actually an illusion, to strive for control is to set yourself up for endless frustration and disappointment. There is a point in life up to which we cannot control and any attempt to do so; it is not only fruitless but actually silly; because that is one of the laws of life.

Too Controlling Or Just Really Organised?

Don’t fool yourself. There’s a tendency among controlling people to explain their destructive behavior in terms of them simply being highly organized. I used to be one of them in fact, but is this really the case? There’s a fine line between being organized (and prepared for all eventualities) and trying to control every single aspect of your life. While being organized usually leads to productive, efficient and effective actions, being too controlling could have the opposite effect, so it’s important to constantly be aware of which side of things your actions are on.

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The Fear And Control Cycle

Fear results in controlling behavior, and when this behavior doesn’t give us the results we’re seeking (which is usually the case), it further intensifies our fears because the results are proof of the uncertain world that we’re so desperately trying to control. This in turn, leads us to even more controlling behavior. This cycle can result in an obsession over the tiniest details and the loss of perspective on the bigger (and more meaningful) picture of what it is that you’re actually trying to achieve, as well as what you really need to do in order to achieve it.

In other words, it leads to misdirected focus and a waste of precious (and limited) resources. Because of this, fear usually leads to a self-fulling prophecy; you end up bringing about the very things that you are so afraid of.

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What Are You Really Afraid Of?

Whenever you catch yourself trying to control the outcome of every single experience, ask yourself what it is that you’re truly afraid of. For example, are you really just trying to be a perfectionist or are you afraid of being wrong? Or perhaps you’re scared of taking on a challenge, making a change or taking a risk? Do you try to control aspects in your social life? Always deciding where to go and with you because you even want to control your experiences as much as possible.

Here’s what I would do:

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  1. Reflect on yourself and your actions and be honest, are you over controlling in an area?
  2. Ask yourself why? (don’t tell yourself you don’t know, because that’s never true)
  3. Identify your fear/s and put a plan together to overcome them. – stop masking them

Letting yourself become more open to things outside of your control will also leave you more open to exciting new possibilities, opportunities and experiences and most importantly, better results in life! In the words of Doe Zantamata, “Don’t let your fear of what could happen make nothing happen!”

 

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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