The Truths about Personal Control

July 11, 2012

Dr. William Glasser in his global best-seller, “Choice Theory” mentions the one problem that plagues most relationships between human beings. We don’t know what we control in life; and we often fail to grasp what we do not control. 

For example, consider two people dating. The lady hates football, but refuses to say anything when he invites her to attend a game. Why? She believes she can control her boyfriend by going along with him on the date.

While on the date, she gets angry when her date refuses to go get something to drink because he is afraid of missing a vital play. She is actually angry because she feels he “made her” go to this “stupid game“. She allows that anger to boil over and yells at him several times on the way home. At the end of this exhausting date, she says “You make me so mad”, firmly believing that she is not in control of what causes her emotions.

She is wrong to believe she could control her relationship by agreeing to like something she didn’t. She is also wrong to believe that he makes her mad. He doesn’t. This is an example of misunderstanding what we control in life.

Here then are several rules that will help you know at any given time what you actually control in life.

1. You control your emotions (You may not choose to control them, but you are the ultimate controller of them).

2. You do not control other people’s emotions

3. Your only control over other people is what they give you.

4. The only control others have over you is what you give them.

5. You control your actions, except those actions you have allowed others to control.

6. You do not control the actions of others unless they have allowed you to control them.

7. You do not control the future…and you never have

8. You do not control the past…and you never did.

9. You do not and cannot control how others view you.

10. You do control how you view others.

Here is the essential and guiding implication of these ten truths. Anything you control you are responsible for. Anything you do not control you are not responsible for. Go back and look at each of these ten rules and apply the responsibility formula to it.

This changes everything if you think about it for a few minutes.

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