Continuing the process of internalizing the concepts in “The Five Thieves of Happiness” by Dr. John Izzo, today I touch on the first one: control.
You can check the list in last week’s blog.
Recently, I was asked to participate in a training initiative with the goal of implementing product development standards. I was asked to be a consultant and provide ideas for the training.
During my first meeting, I quickly realized something was off. My advice was being ignore and I was being told what to do. The more I tried giving my perspective the more I felt ignored and the greater my frustration.
I went with it at first. I was trying to network with others outside my sphere of influence. But by the third meeting, I had enough. I expressed my frustration and told them to find someone else.
Who’s right and who’s wrong in the story is a matter of perspective. How would you have responded to the situation? Most importantly, what do you think caused my frustration?
My frustration didn’t really end with the events of the interaction. They actually spread to my daily activities. I was so frustrated with it that I would start feeling bad whenever someone mentioned the initiative.
What cause my frustration wasn’t the behavior of the others or them ignoring my advice and expertise; it was my attachment to the outcome. It was my fixation with having them accept my experience and acknowledging my ideas as better.
The first thief of happiness is wanting to control the outcome. It is wanting to control life itself.
Happiness is about accepting life not controlling it.
Before you misunderstand, by accepting I’m talking about embracing what’s happening rather than settling with what you have. It’s about being content.
We want to control too many things:
- Possibility of failure
- What others think of us
- How others see us
- To get what we want
- Others doing things our way.
- Add yours to the list.
The book does a better job at giving examples but here’s what I know about the thief in my life:
Life is so much better when I let myself enjoy it and be attached to my participation in it.
How are you attempting to control life?