Minimize our scope of control

“Those who put so much energy into controlling everything around them, end up losing control of themselves.”

This has become a philosophy I have developed. Or to put it more positively:

“One must learn to focus on controlling ones own thoughts, actions, reactions, and learn to accept that they cannot control anything outside of them-self if they wish to find any happiness in this life.”

As I grow older I am seeing more and more how true this is, based on the behavior I have seen in myself and other people. I see the truth of it all the time, but never more so than in these two extreme yet common cases:

  1. The control freak. The OCD Warrior. These are the people that spend lots of time and energy organizing and planning to make sure everything they are involved in goes according to a plan; usually their plan. But despite all the effort and energy, the end result never quite goes perfectly to their plan. Not even good enough to equal the reward expected considering all the time and effort put into planning (and that is a generous assessment. Truthfully much of the time it blows up in their face). These people often seem down, upset, or plain miserable because things did not go to plan. They lash out, and try to gain control by force. These people are generally miserable. They may often appear happy on the outside, at social gatherings; but once the party’s over it’s back to facing the deep dark void that goes right through the center of them.
  2. The adventurer. The zen master. The people who do not spend extensive time planing, if they even plan at all. The spontaneous decision makers. The people who set out on a journey with merely a direction they had in mind, and are willing to accept any obstacles that befall them. These people trust their instincts to guide them. They leave their minds open constantly to new possibilities. They are more concerned with learning about the world as the world reveals itself to them in their travels, than they are in shaping the world to be what they want it to be. These people are cool, calm, and collect. They do not get offended easily and are always willing to share their wisdom. These people take nothing for granted and are joyous with all that life has given them.

I believe most of us know people that fit the two descriptions above, as well as many variations in between.

Minimalism, true Minimalism is about narrowing ones scope of control to be more like person 2 than person 1. By living smaller, with fewer possessions, fewer obligations, fewer commitments, one has more time and energy to focus on making them-self  a better …..self. A person focusing on becoming a better version of them-self is on a more assured path to happiness, than one who is controlling the situations and things around them. If one chooses the path of control, they will lose them-self in the process (If they ever knew them-self in the first place).

People that try so hard to control everything around them, do so only because their identity is weak. Their attempts to control everything offer them some validation when things go according to plan. Those with strong identities on the other hand prefer to spend more time on self discovery; as they already know that is the key to happiness. They have a strong enough sense of self that they feel no drive to control everything around them. They do not require the validation of being surrounded by a home, house, area, arena, or life that is custom tailored to their specifications.