Being aware of illusions of control is one key to making plays consistently. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the desire to use the word control, and I definitely understand a desire to control. The problem is that believing in control in a very concrete, literal sense always leads to problems.
Control in any way, shape, or form is conditional. Control always needs to be modified with terms like temporary or partial. Control always leads to disappointment, confusion, and frustration. At worst, when someone’s illusion of control is blown at the wrong time, they find themselves lost, terrified, and feeling under the control of a dangerous, scary world.
But it doesn’t work that way. No person and no thing outside you controls you. Certainly, the outside world has influence in ways. It’s fuel or fodder for our senses, which in turn is a major part of our thinking. However, no matter what the outside world presents, it doesn’t control you. Even instincts and reflexes can be overridden when we understand our influences.
After one understands that there is no external control, the leap is to believe that there must be internal control. Do not fall for that illusion either. There is no control. Emotional composure isn’t control. Understanding concepts in math or literature isn’t control. Being able to use your body isn’t control. I know it seems like control, but part of what makes it possible for you to complete these actions – such as your genetics and their phase of improvement or decay – is out of your control. What you truly have is influence, and sometimes it works better than it does at other times.
Look, you often have powerful influence over your own thoughts, feelings, and actions, but I think you have to admit, sometimes you don’t. We all have doubts, fears, misunderstandings, and unintended physical breakdowns and errors. And this is where I really want to make a point today.
Being aware of illusions of control will help you connect to your inner fire more often. Consider an analogy:
The sun always shines and provides heat and light for Earth. Sometimes this fact slips our mind. For example, when clouds fill the sky and bring a storm, it’s easy to forget the sun is still shining, especially when it rains on our parade, picnic, or ball game. At night, the darkness can seem scary, and then too, it is easy to forget about the light that constantly shines and fuels life in our world.
Both night and clouds can obscure or hide the sun at times, but they can never douse its fire. Imagine how scary the world might be if you didn’t understand how the sun actually works. Like certain ancient civilizations, I bet you would worry about it and have rituals to help the sun rise each day.
When we look out into the world, if we have the idea that the world can extinguish our fire, there is a good chance we are going to find an excuse to feel cold. This is buying into an external illusion. Don’t fall for it.
Other times, you may look out into the world trying to be positive and still come away disappointed. Too often when someone tries to apply the power of positive thinking in this way, they come away feeling broken because they weren’t able to control their thoughts and feelings. This is also an illusion. Don’t fall it either. Sometimes we get stuck, and that’s ok. If the power of positive thinking works, great. Use it. If it doesn’t work for you at the moment, do not despair or believe you are broken. Your fire isn’t gone. It’s always burning even when the events of your life seem dark and cloudy for a moment. It won’t last forever if you just understand your fire is always burning.
Sometimes the best we can do is to have the understanding that the fire in our lives will seem to be out at times. It isn’t. Like the sun, it’s just momentarily hidden or obscured, or we’ve temporarily been turned away from it. As with the sun analogy, it helps to understand that our fire isn’t really out. It simply seems that way at the moment. It is always still there, burning bright, ready to be obvious to you when the clouds part or the next turn of your life happens.
Be aware of your inner fire. It is always burning. When you truly understand that your fire never goes out but merely seems like it does (sometimes despite your best attempts to keep its blaze in focus), you will begin to experience incredible freedom, confidence, and clarity, and you will begin to make the plays of your life with great consistency.