Have You Been Set Up to be A Narcissists Servant?


Identifying Emotional Abuse and PTSD

There is a lot of discussion about narcissism, gas lighting and emotional abuse in recent times which is fantastic as these topics really need more airtime while also saddening in that they are so common.
Check out the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies for the damaging effects and how to prevent them as well as other aspects.

They have also been hidden a lot, which means people have been suffering in their own bubble not necessarily related to Covid), perhaps thinking they are unique in their experience, a highly isolating and difficult place to be. I want to add a layer to the discussion as below, regarding an area that receives very little attention, if any.

If you grew up in a household dominated by narcissist parents, siblings, relatives or friends, there’s a very cruel trick that has been played on you. Not just during the time you endured it but also after you leave the home. I use home very loosely as it rarely feels like a place of safety in those circumstances.

So what is this extra cruelty?
Surely there cannot be more? There is. And it manifests in the most obvious example: of being unable to say no. Personal boundaries can be decimated by narcissists to the point your identity is not even easily defined.
When your personality has been put through the crusher you have been deindividuated. You are no longer a distinct person but an object with value, a currency only, in what you can do for the narcissist(s). Your feelings and needs are not important like they would be in a healthy reciprocal relationship.

As far as the narcissist is concerned, you don’t have emotions, in fact you’re not even human.

Chances are you have been so used to fulfilling the needs of others it is expected of you and it has become a behavioural response.
Finding difficulty in refusing a request whether from friends or in a work environment is very common to anyone who has experienced emotional abuse. You have been indoctrinated – brainwashed into accepting a role in life – and that is important to distinguish – it is has become a role in life, not just within the presence of narcissists who created the role initially.


Don’t Be a Narcissists ‘Waiter’

To be servantile is not in your nature. To be servantile is not in my nature. Say it to your self.

Serving others is not something anyone should feel compelled to do. To feel obliged to help people is not a good thing, nor is it healthy. Healthy relationships have reciprocity at their core and there is a genuine willingness by both parties to care about the interests of the other, and definitely not in a favour-for-a-favour way.

In narcissistic egosystems your only purpose is to do as you are asked without questioning why. Because questions, logic, reason and signs of challenging the established order threatens the very fragile egosystem they have created to protect themselves from having to face reality, the reality of themselves.
They are terrified of the extinction event. Of you being able to survive and thrive without them. The do as you’re told style of ruleis devoid of any real world logic.
Escaping them is key.

Narcissists create people who will do things without the ability to reject their commands.
Now isn’t that a cruel trick? Don’t intellectualise it too much however. They are rarely doing it as part of a cunning masterplan. It is a natural result of their fragile and severely damaged egos to try to control their environments as much as possible. Think infantile dictator, not super intelligence agent.


Regain Your Powers

The key to overcoming the role of a servant is to re-establish self-esteem. Every one has it. We’re all born with it. It can be added to and it can be taken away.
And subsequently it can be taken back!

You will rediscover it. It is there within you (that may sound a bit woo woo but it’s true).
This is not a quick process but a progression to be made over time. Think of your self-esteem as a wild cat. Only through patience, time, trust and repeated attempts to familiarise yourself with it will it return fully.

The need for personal boundaries is crucial to every one.
Especially so for any one who has had the walls hammered and damaged for years. Therefore, the need for repairs is pressing and takes longer. Discovering your value as a person, as a unique entity, is not difficult to do in essence.
It doesn’t rest on your bank balance, job role, education, friends, or any other extrinsic factor.

Seriously. This is going to sound even more woo-woo and new-agey sugary fake nonsense, and I would have reacted the same at one point in my life but here it is: how you feel about your self is directly within your control, of your perception, of how you feel about your self.
However, even when key realisations are made, the victim of narcissism will often have PTSD symptoms, which makes an exit strategy something not to be rushed.

But there is a reality check at this point: and this is absolutely crucial.
There is a communication style of narcissists that is truly destructive and controlling, something to be aware of even if you have not been raised in a narcissist abusive relationship is that they use ‘word salad’.
What does that mean?
They will deliberately misunderstand what you say frequently, and offer choices that aren’t even available, like this example dialogue:

‘Would you like a drink?’
‘Yes’
‘Yes what?’
‘Yes please’
‘What do you want?’
‘Ribena’
‘You’ll get what you’re given. Water if you’re lucky.’

The narcissist is easy to spot to the outsider in this case, I hope you can tell which is the victim and which one the narcissist.
But to any one, the responses from the narcissist are unintelligible. But someone raised in that environment may not know any different.

Why ask what they want if they have no choice?
That’s sick. Notice the ridiculous exaggeration of the need for a please before even being asked what the please is for. There’s manners and then there’s craziness like that.
It’s like me visiting your table at a restaurant and asking if you want the soup of the day, you say yes, and then I say, actually there is no soup.

A further example: you tell a story to a neighbour. The neighbour tells the story to someone you know. And next thing you know the narcissist who has been told the story will relate it to you in a different way.

A narcissist in this instance, will then tell you, that they heard a story from the neighbour and might totally change what they were told by the neighbour and relay some nonsense back to you or twist the story to suit a perverse outcome.
If done between three people that’s triangulation.

I tell A, who tells B, who tells C, and any of those people can change the original story and change which party receives what information.
Narcissists do that commonly.

They might not even be deliberate in what they do, which adds another layer of complexity. Sometimes they’re so desperate and stressed from an overwhelming impulsive desire to control all situations and outcomes (which is not possible – although they’ll make the victim think otherwise) that they won’t make much sense sometimes and their emotions are so volatile that they literally cannot speak in coherent sentences.


Without Regulation

Narcissism is ultimately, a mechanism due to lack of self regulation, they cannot control themselves which is why they are desperate to control other people or animals if possible and situations. CPTSD is complex, and narcissists are actually very simple once you can understand their game.
And it is a game. But a deadly one sometimes.

If you have suffered from CPTSD that results from narcissistic abuse, what should scare you into action if nothing else is the prospect of feeling limited in your power for the rest of your life.
Imagine 5, 10, 20 years ahead. Are you still at the mercy of other people’s perceptions, influenced by their projections, their ideas, words, actions?
A narcissist is very happy to imagine you doing as you’re told not just by them but by others, in a way that is inoffensive and pleasing to the narcissist. Being overly politeness is a hallmark – and demanded, not expected, from those they are able to manipulate.

They are terrified of embarrassment, utterly utterly terrified that someone they know or know of has gone against what was expected of them. They want you on a rope. Cut that rope. Please do. You owe it to your self.

Narcicyst’s are parasitic. They are tumorous. They want easy prey.

They’re not particularly clever but they’ll make any victim feel as if the narcissist predator has the capability of a god like figure, a cult type figure.

They’re also very quick to move on to the next victim.

That is potentially very dangerous to vulnerable people such as youngsters or any one without confidence and power over their own autonomy.

Stress Less


Breathe More

Have you ever felt stressed?

If you’re alive (a prerequisite to reading words) then I’m going to assume yes. And therefore you’ve definitely been stressed before.

In fact, the word itself is a highly useful tool for people because it allows us to define what stress is and what stress isn’t, so we have a mutual understanding of it without complication or misunderstanding.
We can feel the symptoms of stress and think to ourselves…OK…that is stress, I am stressed.

Which then allows us to do something about it.
But if we aren’t actually able to label something as stress then we can’t do anything, or at least it becomes more difficult to do so.

Recognising stress is the first key stage.
This is where your self efficacy comes in, your self control and castle boundaries.
Now, stress isn’t actually as clearly defined as you might assume. There’s the adult world of work related stress which is the most commonly mentioned it seems.

What is your immediate reference to the idea of stress?

Feelings of low energy, agitation, anxiety, poor memory and a lack of clear thinking are fairly common with various other symptoms too.

Something less mentioned relating to stress are breathing difficulties and ‘stress arthritis’.
The amazing thing with stress is that just by virtue of not being able to breathe well and getting enough oxygen in the body, we become more stressed! Let’s look into breathing a little more.

Stressor indicators tell us to do something about the current situation or life situation that we’re in.

Your body is communicating with you the only way it knows how, by making breathing more difficult which is meant to make you react in a way that resolves the physiological and or mental strain.

When we don’t react to the signals or become blunted to their effect, that’s when burnout can occur or a nervous breakdown, much maligned but actually quite common.

The idea is of course not to allow ourselves to get to breaking point. I mentioned this previously in regards to change if a person is ready for it.

Just by taking a deep breath sometimes, can be enough to remind our system that it will receive oxygen and that can be enough to prevent physiological panic mode.

You can go the meditation route with or without breathing exercises, or just don’t get stressed as much – I sort of jest here as the aim is to get less stressed and worried about events as you gain life experience.

Some things that stressed me when I was younger no longer stress me now.
It’s like a behavioural immunity response. By trial and error, unimportant things can be recategorised as just that – unimportant to me, therefore not worth worrying about.

‘Worth’ is a key word here too. If something is not worth worrying about, it literally has no value.
If something is worth worrying about and having consternation over, then it’s likely important at that time and it is worth spending time to resolve it.

With experience, something that was considered a headache may become redundant.

But watch out for repetitive patterns that are like an apathetic tennis player – they serve no purpose. That’s the old viruses running in the background, what those are are only known to you unless you deal with them or bring them to light through talking and sharing them.


Feeling it in Your Bones?

Regarding stress arthritis, that’s an effect from low blood oxygen and poor circulation because the body is in a physiological state of arousal, likely over-adrenalysed. Which goes back to the breathing issue. We need to breathe well to feel well.

With stress arthritis, you’ll notice your bones and joints in particular will feel painful as a result of inflammation.

Arthritis is usually seen as something that older people suffer from, or athletes, but that’s not necessarily the case. Some forms of acute arthritis are present even in children from various conditions.

Stress arthritis will come and go with severity affected by the stress levels and when breathing is poor.

Just getting out of a chair for example might cause some mild pain (depending on your pain threshold) and you may hear cracking and popping from joints.
It’s a good time to take stock, to find some ways to relax and avoid any strenuous exercise risking injury or aggravating any current conditions. As well as eliminating the stressor(s) as much as possible.

Now, a double bind of stress can be that you feel more stressed because you recognise you are stressed!
Avoid that by accepting how you feel, by tuning into what your body is telling you. If reality feels like a slap in the face I suggest you wake up. There’s no point lying to your self that you’re not stressed when you are, that’s just dumb.

Some situations may call for a prolonged adaptation to stress, but it is not a good long term option if at all avoidable.

Continued stress will take years off your life. Which – again, might cause you to feel stressed.

Again, deal with the issue.
Pay attention to it. Actively plan a way to manage it. There’s lots of talk about managing stress – that’s the wrong terminology. It should be about eliminating stress, avoiding stress and learning how to not become stressed.

There’s plenty of ways to overcome stress, many will be particular to you, so it’s an investigative journey but there’s also heaps of great methods out there just a search away.

And ask your self: are the current stress or stressors worth your time and presence?

If you’re currently stressed from reading the above, the genius of Graham Linehan’s IT Crowd might reduce any stress you are experiencing through the medium of comedy.

What to Know About Life Coaching

What Life Coaching Is and Isn’t

The phrase life coach is relatively new to the modern lexicon and what a life coach does is not immediately obvious…unless you’re a life coach, and even then, there’s disagreement!

Let’s look at the good and the bad, what life coaching is and isn’t. I give you the inside scoop on what you need to know about life coaching and personal development:

  • Life coaching is not about the coach, the client is always the priority
  • There are no magic programmes
  • No one coach has ‘the way’
  • Confidentiality is paramount
  • The client should feel comfortable with their life coach otherwise the process if flawed from the beginning
  • A free consultation is offered by many life coaches providing the chance to see if you have rapport with them and that they can help with your requirements
  • Open dialogue and honesty are key parts to maximising the client/life coach relationship
  • Clients need to work on developing their abilities, a life coach is the facilitator to that not the doer of that

  • It is a collaborative process and should provide answers and solutions to the clients questions
  • The client isn’t always right: there are ‘bad’ clients the same way there are bad customers in any service sector
  • Life coaching is more practical and solution oriented than standard therapies, but does not necessarily share similarities or practices with those
  • Some clients aren’t ready to commit to making changes, and that’s OK
  • Life coaching is about insights a client wouldn’t have necessarily had on their own
  • There are life coaches with little life experience
  • There are bullshitters who want a clients money but they don’t care about coaching and related fields or the end result: meeting or exceeding the clients needs
  • There are people who become life coaches because they think life coaching is easy, who see coaching as a get rich easy scheme
  • There are plenty of unsuitable life coaches – but that is the same for every service sector
  • Certificates and qualifications don’t guarantee anything
  • If a life coach makes promises and guarantees, beware

  • Given that life coaches can be highly specified or very broad in their abilities, taking the time to find the best fit for your needs is well worth it
  • If a life coach is unsuitable the client is not obliged to keep seeing them: change
  • Good life coaches won’t pressure a client into anything
  • If a clients needs are beyond the skills of a life coach, the reputable life coach will advise them to find a professional who is more suited to their needs
  • Life coaching is not a crisis service therefore it is advised that clients contact emergency services when requirements go beyond a life coaches capacity
  • Life coaching combines psychology and experience with the practical element of coaching and can range in scope from deep personal issues to practical problems like working more effectively, or be very specific to one field or element
  • At a minimum life coaching combines open dialogue, guidance, listening, and problem solving
  • Life coaching can be directive
  • Life coaching can take clients into the real world, it’s not strictly conducted in an office or by video link or call
  • Working with a life coach is an investment in the self and takes courage by the client which should never be underestimated

The list is not exhaustive but I hope gives you a better idea of the life coaching process and what to look for in a life coach, and what to avoid.

Do You Have It?


The Energy To Change

This is for those who want to make a move towards personal development and life change but feel stuck.
A note: if you find this de-motivational at all you’ve misinterpreted the message.

Change requires energy.
If you want to change a situation or way of thinking it takes energy to alter it, be that mental or physical energy.

This is a moment to be very honest and realistic with your self.
Consider where you are, consider the variables and then assess if you have the energy at this moment to make significant changes – lasting changes.

This is not about being the hero and taking action but about being rooted in reality.

This is not about shelving aspirations and goals but about being accepting of your self at present.

It doesn’t take much foraging in the self-help forest to realise that a very common thread is that of personal change (of course) and the Do it! Do it Now!! directive (reading it with a Schwarzenegger accent optional).
Please take this article with a dollop of caution and thoughtfulness.


Energy is Limited

We are finite beings.

We have limited resources. Yes, things like a better sleep routine or healthy diet can be great boosts, and I cannot recommend those enough. But by themselves they are rarely enough to launch any major change. You can have the deep regenerative sleep of Rip Van Winkle (but less), and eat the perfect food for your body but those things will not change your psychology or mindset, and certainly won’t change faulty belief systems that are strangers to logic, the same way politicians are to telling the truth.

Changing job, developing a new hobby, exploring your thought processes, shedding shame, meditation, whatever the new thing you wish to adopt or alter is, make sure you are not making a difficult situation even more stressful.

If life is very stressful beyond brief periods, that is a big gaudy Las Vegas neon sign that something needs to change.
Namely, the need to become less stressed, to reduce reactivity, and possibly change environment.


Timing

When we are stressed is also when we are probably least likely to make and stick to any lasting changes.
Why? Because the resources are not adequate to make the transition easy enough. There is space to make changes for basic things, but anything that delves into your psychology beyond the surface needs time and sustained effort to allow adaptation to occur.

Waiting until breaking point is not a good option but a mistake frequently made.

Stress and sustained stress in particular are like a screwdriver to your petrol tank. It drains your fuel fast and depending on your resilience levels that fuel may be low anyway. Far from ideal. Ideal isn’t even signposted. You ask the locals where Ideal is and they chase you out of the village.

Stress will also chew chunks out of your creativity.
It doesn’t matter if you consider your self creative or not, we all have an element of creativity whatever that expression brings with it – you don’t have to be painting sunrises every morning to have it, or wear a beret.

I’m talking the kind of stress where you have responsibility to school, university, or work, relationships: and washing the dishes, cleaning, showering and basics start to seem like arduous tasks.
At this point you’ve run out of mind space, of processing power. There’s no juice left, and anything beyond the routine starts to appear like steep, insurmountable, shadowy mountainsides. It’s too much to even think of picking a route over them.


Recuperate and Rejuvenate

At this point, literally take care of your self.
And remember it’s nobody else’s responsibility but yours. You’re an adult.

This is a part of your journey where you pull over and rest before facing a new challenge.

Re-energise: put the metaphorical plug in and look after your interests.
Too often we become stuck on the idea of pushing ourselves when it is the opposite of what we should do – at that specific time. Pushing your self is essential to develop as a person, but pick your time if you can.

It’s OK not to be red-lining.
Busy all the time? Not cool. You’re not impressing any one. That’s a time management issue, boundary issue, a priority issue and quite possibly a running away from something issue.*
Physiologically, stress can make you addicted to the emotional state of feeling overwhelmed, the same as a state of routine laziness is not easy to escape for some. So realising there is a problem is enough at this point. A willingness to act on it in the future is all that’s needed.

The cruelty can be that a job or some situation we feel stuck in is difficult to get away from due to the energy sucking effects. Dead end jobs? That’s how people end up in them, often in jobs that are well below their capabilities. While working alongside total numpties. Same goes for bad relationships and many other things besides.
Don’t keep driving and persisting when one of the tyres has just rolled past your. Wilful ignorance is future pain.


Set a Date

Do set a date to change even when energy is low. Write it down. That’s as a fundamental necessity.

Is it realistic to start a gym routine five days a week, when you’ve barely coped with work and everything else in your life?

This is one of those strange moments in life coaching when I advise against what would seem like the optimal choice. There are some things that require immediate attention and times of great stress are rarely ever good times to start new life changes.

I realise that seems paradoxical, but with stress also comes the risk of bad decisions being made. With experience, you can learn to fix the small things before they turn into major repair jobs.

In essence, the need for change requires prioritisation. What is essential? What isn’t? Know those and you’ll be on your way to better things.

  • *Exceptions include starting a business when it is time intensive, or emergencies and any other unplanned unavoidable situation.

Towards Daily Courage


Different Types of Courage

What is your definition of courage, what does it mean to you?
Do you have enough of it? I know I don’t, not yet.

I encourage you to consider what courage actually is beyond the images and concepts that we’re offered by the media.*

Whatever you have established as courageousness let’s look at some different kinds of bravery beyond the generic idea of the war hero or pensioner saving a dog from a river and what acts of courage can bring to your enjoyment of life.


Solo Courage

The highest level of courage is at the individual level.

It is the true origin of courage on the personal level and beyond. Without individual courage from any one person, any act of bravery cannot have the possibility to be spread to others or influence others. (Think Muhammed Ali refusing to fight in Vietnam, going to prison and the personal sacrifice made which changed the perspective of the war for many.)

Personal bravery is also the most important, because without it no one person can change their world significantly.

Think of all the small acts of bravery each day.
For one person, that might be leaving their house. For others, to approach a potential partner, or to make a phone call. For a baby it is to crawl, then walk while risking falling down. Courage has a varying scale for any one person at any particular time.

If I approach a dog and pet it having been terrified of dogs, that’s a major personal achievement unlocked. A reward for facing the fear is to be comfortable around dogs. The next step might be to look after a friends’ dog for the day. That’s another level unlocked. And so on.

Courage is a never ending series of facing fears and anxieties, moving from one to the next. Typically, once we have overcome a particular fear we are no longer affected by that fear again for life. We remember how to ride a bicycle, or swim even if we go decades between the events.

Another reason that solo courage is vital for personal development is that without it, a person is limited in their capacity to forge a life of their choosing, or anything closely resembling a self directed destiny.

Risk plays a large factor in how we invest in courage.
The best things in my life I’ve had to work for and battle for, to go through pain – mental and physical – to endure seemingly unendurable situations. Without those I couldn’t launch to the next level of courage and develop my self further. This isn’t to romanticise hardship at all, but to cite any difficulties we face and overcome as a platform for personal development and evolution.

Ask your self: How much are you willing to risk now for the reward later?
That’s something we should all be asking our selves on a daily basis.


Group Courage

The power of groups doesn’t need much illustration to show their influence now and in the past.
Humans are collective animals (although the digital era is really testing that). We require the company of people on a social level, physically and to engage is essential to cooperation, trade, alliances, dialogue, and to maintain civilisation.

Something changes fundamentally in many people when a group is joined.
There’s a sense of oneness, of feeling a part of something bigger than our selves with a commonality at the core, whether that’s at a music gig, sporting event or a political rally.

For some just being a part of something is the only driver. For others there are aims and needs that they want met by being part of a group. Social dynamics are fascinating and a basic understanding of social identity theory (SIT) is highly recommended as well as cognitive biases.

Now as much as ever, the world is being tested like never before due to the connected/disconnected nature of people, from broadband and globalisation.
Understanding on a basic level of how groups operate provides a solid framework for comprehension of human behaviour when they become part of an entity.

There is a sense of rationale that exits when people become part of a group. The group dictates feelings, direction and actions, leaving the individual trailing in it’s wake, and of course some people are more readily swept up in a group dynamic: picture one giant lens that everyone is looking through.
And the outcome may have nothing to do with the groups aims.

A football fan who goes to a match to revel in the match day atmosphere, to have some drinks and then watch the match unfold can be there for the likeminded social engagement.

A different fan, attends for those same reasons, but they’ve had a terrible time at work and their home life is hostile. All of those feelings become projected onto the other team, the other fans, and they start a fight with an opposition fan on the way home, not because of the group but because of their own emotional state.
So groups can also have very undesirable side effects in that the original intention becomes a platform for further behaviours that are not part of the group think.


Group Characteristics

Individual bravery is not necessary for group courage.
Group courage differs in that a collective wields a power through its mindset and participant numbers. It does require a figurehead however, so at least some one must be individually courageous to start or lead a group.

Group courage differs to the lone brave in that the individual personalities are adopted by the group and one way to think becomes shared and channeled by each member.

Immediately, the commonality and safety of numbers amplifies the collective courage. When more than one person is being courageous, it can morph into a super courage, with each member emboldened by the others’ and creating a level of emotion and power not possible for one person to reach.

Think of the incredible scene of the Tiananmen Square protestor who stood as an individual in front of a Chinese army tank preventing it from proceeding.
He is displaying an outstanding level of individual courage, while on the other side the army members who identify as being part of the Chinese army sit in their tanks as a group.

At first the group is unsure how to act, because the circumstance is unprecedented. And the tank in which the protestor stood in front of has to break from group think to make an individual choice. The protestor is hauled away, and they can proceed as expected, the group once more morphing back into a collective.

It is easier to feel brave when you have back up.

But that is a temporary state, not a fixed one.

Every one has likely had an experience when they confronted a person one to one and the dynamics were very different versus when they had back up. I remember people from school and work who individually were reasonable people, but in a group they changed radically acting like assholes when they had the protective shield a group can provide.

Part of the group courage comes strictly from the power dynamic.

More people equals more voices, more physical power, and a protectivist mentality of each member. Many people have certain views on matters, but not every one feels brave enough to express them, so the group can facilitate the expression of the unexpressed for those who feel unable to do so. That can go both ways in terms of good or bad…

Imagine storming a government building in two different scenarios:

A) You’re on your own pal
B) There’s a couple hundred people with you

It’s fairly obvious which one most would feel more comfortable doing.
When it is just one person it is very very easy to dismiss them as a lone lunatic, a dangerous narrative the media likes to latch on to and move towards you like coins in an arcade penny pusher.
An individual can be demonised and ridiculed very easily even if all evidence suggests their thinking is entirely rational and logical. Try doing the same to a group and all of a sudden you have perhaps the weight of an entire organisations members to contend with. Far less appealing.

So courage when there are multiple members who share the ideology has temporary effects when the group is together. People also act more bravely when there are multiple members.

In time they may become braver as result of exposure to create brave individuals.


Situational Courage

Keyboard warriors and people in cars.
Those are the examples I immediately think of when it comes to situational courage.

When there are no ramifications for our ideas, words, or presence, courage can become almost limitless.
We can and might say whatever the hell we want to someone else on a social media post, on a YouTube comment or roll down the window in a car (I’m older than I look) and scream at a cyclist.

The anonymity online and unreachable nature of the messenger means regardless of what is said the receivers cannot react directly to them. So there’s no physical or personal threat meaning it’s very easy to be courageous. It’s the difference between face to face with an enemy holding a musket and drone bombing a village.

Relating to the car courage, from within the metal and glass bubble of a vehicle it is equally easy to feel a sense of safety from outside influence or disturbance without repercussions. Think teenager yelling something stupid at you as they speed along.

Situational courage is like group courage in that once the situation is removed, without those constructs around them the individual is not necessarily brave any more.


Be Courageous

No matter what you want to achieve (preferably not world domination), be courageous regardless of how insignificant they may seem if run through a filter of negative self judgement or criticism from others.

When is the last time you were courageous?

Think of the risks and what they will get you. Be conscious of the process and remember that things which take time and effort will never come easily or without an element of personal bravery and sacrifice.

Things you cannot buy hold tremendous value.
Time, knowledge, experience, confidence: try adding those to your shopping cart. Further examples of what no one can buy for themselves regardless of their wealth or esteem in society.

You cannot buy a muscular or athletic body. You have to put the commitment in over time to achieve it (especially without steroids or other PEDs). And to maintain it is equally a level of discipline and effort. People are not marble statues retaining their form once the chisel sees the last of it’s action.

Invest in your self.
Buy and read great books. Get therapy. Hire a life coach (obviously highly recommended). Go on an adventure. Take brave steps day by day and you will feel more confident in your abilities and what you can achieve.

You have to build on experiences to get there.
What’s the worst that can happen? Typically, much of what is stopping you from being braver exists as poorly defined narratives in your mind and if brought to light hold little to no validity or real power.

Bravery gives you personal power.
When you increase that, you stop giving it away. When you stop giving it away, you start to live a better life.

*Courage can be confused with rashness. Actions without consideration are not courageous, they’re typically as a result of a failure to think through consequence, or an inability to resist the impulse even when the consequence has been thought of.

The One


A Cultural Obsession

Culturally we are obsessed with ‘the one’.

The entire Matrix film series is devoted to the narrative of there being a singular saviour in the character Neo.
Any time there is an overarching idea that there is only one person who can do… X – that’s a very dangerous and unenviable position to be in personally or at a societal level.

Because all of the proverbial eggs are in one basket and the scenario becomes an all or nothing. The pressure on them is like being at the bottom of the sea.

You’ll see and notice the Neo narrative in so many stories, with the hero or warrior being the one, the one person to unite a clan or cause. The one thing needed to conquer, such as a special weapon or power. The only person who can prevent the world from imminent destruction.

You see the same Neo narrative in Holywood with actors and therefore tabloids.

At any particular point in time there is the one, the actress or actor who Hollywood has seemingly endorsed as the bankable starlet, but which requires public participation in that people have to like that person, admire them and see them as a sexual being. Think Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the recipients of an unhealthy obsession with their every move.


The Sporty One

Sports has no comparator in terms of debates on who’s the greatest, the best, the all time great, the GOAT, the greatest of their era and so on. Yet another debate on the one.

Who is the best to play their respective sport?
And of course, people are divided and the greatest at any sport could be debated until death: without resolution.
It’s when names like Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Phelps, Roger Federer, Lionel Messi, Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jack Nicklaus, and Usain Bolt surface.

And it is undeniably fascinating to question the successes, the feats, and the awards. Because it’s tough enough to be a professional sports person, let alone standout above all competitors.

As humans we are pulled towards the achievers in any field. It’s a natural reaction, a type of gravitational affect.

Successful people are magnets for our attention. We may wish to emulate, to feel as if we too can do what they’ve done. Sometimes that’s possible (often it isn’t). But at any one time, depending on your social circle, there’s the number one for something.

Ask for a friend for recommendation for a mechanic, a dentist, a take away, a barber, any kind of service or product. They’ll have an idea of the best one of those they know and may frame it as such.
Partly that is because we like to think we are going to the best X, that we possibly can be. That we own the best product possible. It’s self ingratiating, we feel good about our choice even in cases when there’s no real evidence that the service/product is anything approaching a high standard.

Our attention itself is drawn towards a focal point.
If we know of five different takeaways, we’ll have a favourite. The same goes for just about anything. There’s the grouping of the things, then there’s the convergence on one. The one.

Mate choices are much the same. We look around, explore a bit and then decide, and hope that the other person is as committed as we are to becoming a duo that act as a one.


Oneness is Totalitarian

In 1958, Alduous Huxley, author of Brave New World (an incredible read alongside George Orwell’s 1984 that explores different areas in terms of totalitarian mind control) speaks of a horrific idea that in the future there will be one global leader, the head of a dictatorship.

If you’ve thought about the future of governance and where the world is heading, then it’s really an apocalyptic notion in terms of society that Huxley is talking about and yet! not that unbelievable in terms of possibility.
Some festering turd somewhere, thinks they should run everything. It is certainly a fantasy for some people: the idea of ruling everything has been a story many times, reality too many times and a narrative with an extensive past. To be the one. And not just the one in one particular area, but the one.*

Perhaps the idea of there being only one earth is also what makes space travel so imperative.
To find another place, so that there is not the singular uniting element of one terra firma that we all rely on. Which is being trashed daily without much action beyond talk to rectify the situation. We’re collectively creating or allowing our own slow-mo car crash doom, and the doom of many wonderful and divergent species.


Notice how, apocalypses are always going to happen tomorrow, not today?


Singularity

Then there is the technological singularity, a theory that we reach a point in the future as a civilisation in which AI surpasses and circumvents the need for people, becoming our electronic rulers within it’s own framework of evolving intellect that we are unable to match or control.

And to what end?

Well, that’s the thing with AI, it’s like sociopaths and psychopaths, there doesn’t need to be an endgame, a point at which it stops. There are only a series of empty victories necessitating the next action.

The concept of oneness exists in many religious, semi-religious and quasi-spiritual texts. For some there’s hope in that idea. That we as human beings are all connected, and connected therefore to the planet and everything on it and in it, with nature, with mother earth.

I understand where they’re coming from but it’s a childish wish, a fantasy fulfilment more than reality. The world is extremely segregated. We operate as individual republics.
I’ve been lucky to travel globally, and yes we all have the same general basic needs, but there are worlds within worlds with zero connectedness. We work within bubbles; the world of bodybuilding is a separate universe to horse racing; which is totally separate from the culture and knowledge of the HR or IT world; a nomad in Mongolia has no links or need for marketing.

Having experienced and seen a fair amount of the world on a very grounded realistic way and different cultures I don’t buy the we are all one fantasy or naivety, which is akin to wanting Santa Claus to be real.

So what is the one all about?

Control. Pure and simple. It’s one of the worst, most disgusting aspects of people, that deep, dark need to be powerful born of weakness. Many would prefer to control others than control themselves, which in itself is an indicator of an inability to control the self, a certainty of misery for them and those they ensnare.

You’ll see people desperate to control others any given day.

The dog walker dragging and jerking the dog’s lead, the needless shouting and directives. The parent(s) with child or children, barking at them instead of letting them explore and express themselves a bit, even putting them on leads…

The manager who lacks social grace and orders instead of asking. The interferer. The person who can’t stop talking, in case the silence brings them thoughts of their self. And so on.

A good counter to control is influence.
Influence is not control, but an indirect way to offer advice or a way to think without prescription. Influence is a teachers way to guide towards water rather than forcing some one to drink.

It allows the other person(s) to think for themselves and make an assessment, to engage their instincts, cognition and self control, to learn to trust their own mind more, not less. Part of the whole mess of control and oneness, of homogenisation, is that people are trusting them selves less and others more.
That’s a path towards what Huxley talked of.

Consider your choices and what’s led you to buy into them.
Be the one, of your own world, but beyond that you’re just another person among many. We need to cooperate. Teamwork makes the dreamwork.
What is your value beyond your self?

*The one does not even need to be real! If a god is considered the all good, a demon all bad, then that leaves a lot of room in between for all kinds of behaviours. They are the polarities of a oneness which actually allow for a huge variation in behaviours that are acceptable, because no one can match the puritanical construct of a god, or the absolute badness of a devil.

Texting is a Bad Communication Option


Society in Decline

Text messaging via mobile has been available to the masses since 1993 when Nokia made it a feature of their phones: enter T9 and QWERTY and stuff like this 🙂 😀 .

Texting has broken away from messages sent through network providers and migrated onto other platforms from Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn to the now notorious WhatsApp.

Texting is relatively quick.
It’s instantaneous (if the network is fine).
Multiple ‘conversations’ can be held at one time to multiple recipients.
Messaging is convenient.
People can get back to us ‘in their own time’.
You can send memes.
GIFs.
Videos.
And emojis.


So what’s wrong with texting?

Plenty. Let’s get into it.

Communication should be about expressing ourselves – clearly.

Once upon a time the use of characters to create emojis existed, and even with the ubiquitous yellow emoji symbols it’s not always easy to convey meaning. Texts are generally not clear enough. Even with emojis, there’s too much room for misunderstandings to occur.

A lot of people finished school but didn’t learn English well and are unable to spell or be bothered to correct misspellings.
Not such a bad thing in social settings but not great in business/formal ones.

Emojis allow people who cannot spell or write or necessarily read to communicate without learning their native language.

Text messages don’t allow for a conversation flow unless done in real time.
Sending a text at 10:23am, getting a reply at 1.10pm, sending a text back at 1.15pm and not getting a reply until the next day is not a conversation, that’s a messaging board service.
When allowed to they cut into our concentration, one solution being to be less available, or have a limited window.

People are confusing a communication with contact. Messaging is not a good route.

Texting and messaging has allowed a generation – and more – to fool themselves into thinking they are in contact, that they are socialising. It’s dangerous territory.
And I totally get social anxiety being an issue for some, I used to have it, it took real world interaction and facing the fear not texting myself away from it.

Really, the difference between a phone call, or video link, and a text is barely comparable. When we hear a voice we react differently, we learn to understand micro communications, tone of voice, and holy shit! – there might be a pause while people think.
The reflective pause is a thing of devastation to some people. What if there was a momentary silence? Isn’t that like, a horror movie with multiple sequels?

The text message allows for little accountability which is one of the major failings of it as a communication method.
It’s too easy to fire off messages with little intent behind them, little engagement. And as mentioned the reply is not in a conversational style necessarily. There’s frequent gaps.

That’s nothing like speaking with someone, which is an essential skill needed to unlock good things in this world.

Any one who has been on the dating scene or in a relationship with some one and used texting as a means of communication will attest that it leaves the door wide open to be head fucked and ghosted or played with.
There’s plenty of people using modern comms as psychological torture devices. It allows cowardice and immaturity to thrive on a planet lacking in honesty and responsibility.
Because again, the text can be sent, but there’s no accountability on the other side to reply at at particular time, within a reasonable time period.

People can also send any texts, pictures or video you send them to one or many people – instantly. So there’s also that element of having left evidence for 90%+ of dialogue. Unless you have very weird pals that carry voice recorders around with them, then that’s not a concern for anyone when speaking to a person.


The digital landscape has set fire to reality and is watching it burn

The social fabric of society is like an old sail on an abandoned boat, flapping in the wind of wi-fi and rotting from the damp of salty pixels.

Texting has reduced interpersonal communication to a rare skill.

I’ve worked in a place with younger people and if there’s no drink involved, or there’s nothing that’s just happened to talk about they can’t hold a conversation. There’s no questions. Just an overriding anxiety and nervousness. If they can be bothered to look up from the blueish glow of their phone screens. I jest at the last part, not least because I’m tired of the blame the youngsters narrative. Just about everyone is absorbed in their phone, a sort of grotesque attachment and impossible love.

I’ve been there too.
I’ve gone through periods when I’ve been scrolling and tapping pointlessly on my phone in particular, to realise that much of what I was doing was nothing much and that it was a habitual response not a conscious one much of the time. It’s the equivalent of getting into a car without driving.

Psychologically, the advent of being able to communicate without communicating is and has devastating consequences now and well into the future.

Why tell someone you love them when you can send a heart emoji?

Why say you’re doing fine when you’re not? (And someone could tell if you weren’t from your voice – I’m not necessarily saying they’d care…but that would require revaluating your friends)

Why bother to reply at all when you don’t want to stay in contact?

It’s actually difficult, yes difficult, to give a damn about someone on an emotional level when you’re just seeing words, GIFs and emojis.*

Without direct contact, we lose our humanity.

Without speech we lose our social sharpness.

Without even a voice to hear, what do we have? The other person(s) may as well be an automated bot.

With messaging, you could get cat fished and end up on a TV programme…or in the better version get cat fished and not end up on TV.

These aren’t beautiful hand written letters that are being sent out by the trillion each year.
They’re standard messages, digital and frequently impersonal, even if that’s not the intention.


The Weakness of Texting

Which goes back to the weak backbone of messaging, much like a sardines’: Miscommunication is far too easy to get good at the more texts are sent.

Some people have grown up barely knowing a phone call or real person-to- person communication. The meta communication of the face, vocal tone, pauses, emotion, the body: they all get lost. They’re not even a factor in a faceless message.

Sure texts can have a tonality, but again, are they going for sarcasm or are they just being an asshole?

Ultimately, texts are impersonal.

They’re very convenient and they are useful depending on the aim. I text (You can accuse me of hypocrisy at this point). A large percentage of the time. You know why? Because the majority of people I know hate talking on the phone.
Ironically, I talk to people relating to life coaching, networking and business related things far more than I do with friends (when not with them).
And the deadly farce of Covid sure as hell hasn’t helped.

Usually, I try to find an angle that’s positive or leave a solution of sorts. But long term, beyond encouraging people to talk more I see people disappearing into their screens more and more like that scene in The Ring but in reverse.

People like to avoid blame, but I’m a firm believer in dropping the dead mouse at the feet of the people responsible. And while I wish it existed less, I love the squirming of people who deny reality.

Why are people so shit at communication? For any responsible adult that’s a personal issue to resolve and overcome if the willingness is there. The world can certainly be a better place when we can talk to each other with honesty, integrity and from a place of maturity instead of reaching into the stock responses cupboard.

And why is a generation or more being lost to screens?

Parents.

Parents who don’t want to be held accountable. Shame on them. And every excuse they can provide.

*And people don’t even have to try and be funny or make their own jokes. There’s meme’s that do it for them or GIFs. While sending me a meme hints at a sense of humour from the other side, they could be a sociopath who’ve learnt to act funny…

Be Less Available

It’s Your Time, Your Choice

Available. Online. Away. Busy. Irrelevant.

Do you worry about an email you haven’t responded to? Or a text that is supposedly ‘begging’ for a reply?

Following on from covering tech addiction, the next logical step is to look at our availability. If you’re available all the time, you’ve lost your self.


Contact

Never before in the history of the planet have we been so easily contactable – through multiple ways; Text; Chat apps; Email; Video Link; Social Media; and Phone call.

In an age of mass connected-disconnectedness it’s perhaps not surprising that phone calls are becoming a rarity among certain age groups. Which is sort of hilarious because that’s what a phone was made for.

The point is, that if you have a mobile phone (in particular) you are potentially leaving yourself open to be available every minute of the working day and beyond it.

That’s like leaving the front door open to your home in a neighbourhood with lots of robberies and expecting to have nothing stolen.

Wake the hell up. Your time is being stolen.

Some people are better at restricting the time spent being contactable than others, and it is a crucial thing to master with more and more importance as time passes. Time management is not a sexy topic but it doesn’t need to be.


Productive?

Productivity is slayed by interruptions.
Even in the workplace. Ask any one who has been a receptionist and they’ll tell you it’s a bastard of a job. It looks easy to the outsider, like someone just sitting there occasionally answering a phone or on the keyboard.

When the brain is expected to take and make calls, remember to write notes, answer emails and engage with people face to face along with a bunch of others tasks, it’s draining. That’s in the workplace in a role that expects those elements.
But we only have a finite supply of energy that is available to us and we need it for focus otherwise errors are made.


May They Have Your Attention

Productivity is not the only thing to consider.

In life, focused attention is necessary – utterly essential – to achieving anything of significance in your life. Tunnel vision, flow, immersion, totally Mihalyi’d – we need that unbroken focus to really get into a task and do it well, to have insights, to allow some creativity to occur.
Never mind great things, even good things cannot be created without attention. In fact, focused attention is so incredibly vital to getting stuff done even now with al the research and info we have it is grossly underestimated.
Would you want your surgeon to be watching YouTube while he works?

When you add in a laptop or mobile phone to the mix, and a lack of discipline the ability to get work done or to even enjoy time to relax in our leisure time is destroyed.

Just by virtue of having a mobile phone, to be contactable so easily and readily, potentially 24/7 is enough to majorly affect some people’s lives to their severe detriment.

Being available is a sickness.

And it all seems so innocuous. Which is what makes technology dangerous.
Without giving our self the time to think, to unwind and have some time to our own thoughts, to reflect, to zone out – without those – we become overrun with external events and needs and whims to the point they can seriously impact life. Not only that we become susceptible to external bullshit which adds another unnecessary thing to drain our attention.

I’ve seen people become humourless, robotic, scripted versions of their former selves.

They are so busy, as in they’ve allowed their life to become so adrenalised and all consuming that they are a different person. Being available all the time or even for large periods of time is not good.

You know that voice that’s telling you, ‘But what if I don’t reply to that email…’
Tell it to shut the hell up.

It’s just an email. Unless it is urgent, it’s nothing to care about right now.

People get way to caught up in responding to texts and emails as if the world might end should a reply not be made.
That thinking gets people into a stressed anxious state which is no good for them or any one around them.

Sometimes it’s simply thinking of it from this angle:
If I don’t reply to the email/text/Whatsapp group chat… what will happen?

You know what? Nothing.
Nothing. If something is urgent, they’ll call or get in contact some how. And be careful of what others consider urgent. Often it isn’t.


Always On?

You don’t need to be available.

The least productive people I know are available all the time. They’re answering friends messages, business related stuff, Instagramming, emailing, researching blah blah all at the same time. And they reply immediately. Because they’ve become conditioned to do so.

They’re also highly anxious and their heads are in another place most of the time so you can’t even have a real, grounded conversation. It’s really crazy.

Not only is availability an issue, it’s also utilised by many companies to deliberately display our current status. For exmaple, on Whatsapp you can see if someone has read a message or not. Even when we read a message is not private. In this digital age of integrated networks our whereabouts and activity is so openly broadcast for many it’s lunacy. And disturbing.

Firstly, nobody needs to know where you are necessarily, let alone at all times. Secondly, it’s not necessary to have people know if we’ve read their message yet. The only thing of relevance in that interaction is when the reply arrives. When it doesn’t, then there’s perhaps cause for a follow up.

Be less available.

Time and attention are resources you should treasure or learn to treasure because there’s a ton of outside influences that are desperate to take both if you allow it and if you’re gifting it away with a bow on top then that’s a boundary that needs some repairs.

If you’re not exerting the major influence in your life, some one or some thing will.

Any Spare Change?

Transformation

From transformational life coaching, mentoring and on to more concentrated therapeutic settings, there’s one thing that unites them: change.

Clients approach those services from a want to change something(s) in their life to make it better. Which is an outstanding move, because as a percentage of the human population they are the outliers, the anomalies who have chosen to seek an improved way to be.

People by definition are very habitual creatures and frequently slaves to comfort.
Even when someone identifies one or multiple things they want to transform, that’s often where it begins and ends.
Diets, exercise, new habits, new routines, addictions, compulsions, and changes in mindset are just some of the things that many people find difficult to change by themselves.

And some never even identify things they should change. That’s where the power of a different perspective can be tremendously valuable.

Even when people do act and adjust their life, seldom are the effects long term.
A common outcome is that a change is made for a few weeks and then abandoned as in the self-delusion of a New Year’s resolution, defined by an arbitrary date on the calendar.
Remember, every day is a good day for a resolution.

To improve the odds of success in implementing alterations there also has to be a long term vision for lasting beneficial changes.
From organisations on down to our individual self, change can not only be very difficult to implement it is one of the most resisted aspects of daily living.

There is a clear picture regarding people and change: without a desire to change, no change will happen.
Also say goodbye to the saviour complex. Nobody is here to make some one make their life better.
If people don’t want to put the effort in, I’d honestly advise they save themselves the time and money and avoid life coaching or similar services until they are ready.


Resistance

It would be easy to label resistance to change as laziness.
And detrimental.
I’ve experienced being called lazy and it was not productive. Nor was it accurate. But at some stage I had to motivate myself and find my own way beyond traumatic events and a far from ideal start to life, to take ownership of my own destiny. Forward progress was a route to take or not take and it took maturity, learning to be disciplined and accrued confidence to do so.

In transformative endeavours it helps that some people are more open to change which increases the chances of long lasting change occurring. And as mentioned the initial want for change has to be there.
Much also depends on where we’re at in our life journey, and what demons we have had to battle and may still be battling. Never underestimate them.

Generally, people like some form of routine, regardless of whether that is a productive one or not. That’s an element of human nature to battle, in the same arena as comfort.
We also require – require – stimulation and novelty which is why routines need an injection of ‘newness’ even if just tweaks.

Lazy is too often used to describe people and is in itself lazy. There is a reason why action is not happening, from psychological factors to physiological which must be investigated truthfully to establish ways to overcome them.


Habit

It is frequently said that it takes three weeks to break a habit. I think that’s very generous. Two weeks is plenty of time to see and feel a significant shift to new habits.
The three week rule also applies more to external events such as getting up at an earlier time, or deciding to go for a run four times a week.

Changes to our mindset, our thoughts and beliefs can take much longer, in correlation with the length of time they’ve been a part of our thought processes. But the result is always worth it!


Accountable

A life coach’s role is to aid the process of positive change(s).
A good illustration is from sports. Athlete’s have coaches for a set of very specific reasons. Apart from knowledge and expertise, coaches are there to help athletes be accountable and push them to perform, for motivation.

But as in any part of life, it is down to individual desire to become better that counts over time. Exceptional performers hold themselves highly accountable for their performance – even without a coach.
The coach then serves to extract the thin margins, the extra percentage points.
Functioning as a duo, coach and athlete maximise the performance outcomes, the same as in life coaching.


Levers of Change

Change is healthy and necessary to push forwards in life, to avoid under stimulation and the demotivational effects of that.
Comfort is often demonised but is an essential component of happy living. But at some point we tend to desire a break from that too depending on mentality.
Personal evolution stagnates when comfort outweighs challenge.
If you want transformation to occur consider the points below:

  • To provide optimal conditions for change you have to want it to happen.
  • Keep expectations reasonable. Few things kill change faster than unrealistic expectations.
  • Be accountable to your self.
  • Discover and experiment with your motivational levers. What works and what doesn’t?
  • Plan and write out the change(s) desired.
  • Incorporate a long term view of the change.

Knock over the first domino, and there will be an effect

Influence and Control

Self Mastery

Suffering arises from trying to control the uncontrollable – Epictetus

And he should know, having been a slave.
He was Turkish born and latterly known as one of the most famous Stoic Greek philosophers, living to a grand old age, from around 050AD to 135AD.

Given the current Covid situation the idea of control is particularly relevant.

To begin, let’s define control:
What is it?
Authority? Power? Command? Yes and no!

At the individual level, control at its essence is about being in command of our own actions and behaviours.
By learning to do that, we can navigate the world and make sense of what we encounter while keeping our selves safe. Control can be defined as influence over our self with implications for our external environment too.

Unfortunately, the word control also has very negative attachments.
Because it is often confused with power and authority*.
Too many people think they are in control when in actuality they coerce, they manipulate, they threaten and stand by unspoken future outcomes that will occur when a person(s) do not cooperate.
That is not control. That is a system of fear and inducements, a machine of outcomes dependent on actions of another person(s), like: Do these tasks and I won’t fire you.
In any power dynamic, when one person or agency is the sole beneficiary that’s a terrible place to be for the other party.

There is also ‘positive control’ which again veers away from control and into a power dynamic, like:
If you eat your main meal you’ll receive desert.
Pay for these drinks and maybe I’ll sleep with you.
Refer a client to me and I’ll refer one to you.
Although the outcome can be deemed as good, the dynamic of coercion for a particular result is still a power move.
In these types of situations there are at least positive outcomes for each although not necessarily to the same degree.


Out of Control

Who has control?
I won’t go into determinism and free will as it would complicate matters: let’s assume every person has some level of control over their own agency.

As Castle Coaching life coach, the concept of control commonly arises with clients.

In an unhelpful form, it manifests in anxious, stressed people who think they have a need to control but really they’re not in control of themselves, of their own emotional state and minds. At least not fully. So it expresses as a projected state. Certainly not to the point of psychosis necessarily, but to a point whereby the horse has bolted leaving the cart behind.

Control freaks are those people who deem themselves needing to know why what when and who about every small detail.
That’s no longer a curious mind, that’s a state of high physiological alertness and nervousness that is panicking.
A further undesirable effect when left unchecked is that panic spreads like a contagion. Panicky people are not what you want behind the wheel of an organisation, let alone a vehicle, or even parenting.

Customer: Do you have any control?
Shopkeeper: Let me check in the back. *returning a short while later*
Nope, we’re all out of control. Would you like some anxiety instead?

Addiction is a great example of losing control that is easy to understand.
It’s one of the most obvious ways someone can overtly display a lack of control, while recovery from an addiction is the taking back of control or reasserting control.
Of note: the word addiction is frequently paired with drugs or other common vices. But we can also be physiologically addicted to an emotional state and not necessarily pleasant ones. Anxiety can be habitual too for example.

Control on a personal level can be seen as mastery of self, in control of the self.
A noble cause.


Control of Others

When control is a device used against other people and animals, that’s one of the ugliest sides of humanity.
The mindset has gone from control of the self and immediate environment from influence, to controlling: sometimes with far reaching and even deadly consequences. This can run the gamut from some one/ multiple people trying to dominate a social group, workplace, or home environment all the way to a society wide dictatorship.*2

There are at least three types of control:

  • Control of objects: skills which can enhance our capabilities in the world
  • Control of our self
  • A desire to manipulate people or other living things (a sign of an out of control mind, with the levels of attachment to reality reducing in correlation to the amount of manipulation that is craved)

In life, be wary of those who desire unreasonable levels of control and be very careful who you give your power to.
Question it.
I’m just doing my job mentality has and had and will have dire consequences.

Stanley Milgram’s famous, ahem, shocking experiments evidenced a deeply worrying blind obedience to authority along with Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment, both still referenced frequently in psychology fields for their impact.

On a personal level, question the control you perceive others to have over you. Control is often given away without much thought.
Take a moment to assess your life as it is not how you’ve been told it is, or what you’ve been led to believe.
And really consider things you have no control over, and how much energy is spent on those, physical or mental. It might be surprising, or even alarming, but in a good way, as a wake up call.

Control doesn’t need to have bad connotations. The world needs people with control over themselves otherwise we descend into chaos.
Control isn’t about abusing power, or getting people to do things, certainly not against their will. That’s coercion, that’s from a place of fear. That’s a hierarchical structure designed to have subordinates and therefore creates misery by design.


Lose Control to Gain It

In life, be less fearful.
Lose control of the elements you weren’t in control of anyway. Avoid being a pilot of illusion, on a plane that doesn’t even exist, or only exists because you were told it exists.

Pause. Reflect. Breathe. Recalibrate.

No man is free, who is not master of himself, another gem from that stoic philosopher, really putting the epic into Epictetus.

I think the world can be a better place when—we learn to lose control, in order to take back control. As paradoxical as that may seem.

The ultimate aim of personal development within life coaching is to reach personal mastery: not to be controlling of a situation or people, but to be in control of your self so that any situation is within your control.
When you can influence people in a positive way also, that’s a great place to be as a human.

Be more Epictetus.

*Power and authority are often assumed and ascribed to a person or organisation, when in fact they are illusory and require maintenance, sometimes with others required to participate.

*2 For an illustrative example:
If you threaten someone with a beating if they don’t obey you, yes it can be said that you are in control of them if they do obey you. But in these cases the power dynamic is based on fear and coercion, not reciprocal human relations. It is manipulation and abuse of power.