In order to be happy...
Learned helplessness - the grand illusion
The process of recovery of a sense of control
Checklist on sense of control
While the proper use of control is the subject of Control - Its Proper Use, this is about how it affects one psychologically - and how the psychology affects one's ability to exert control.
A sense of control is at the core of true confidence. It is based on actually seeing the evidence that one can learn and then do that which it takes to achieve results AND on our beliefs about our capability to learn, or not, what it takes to succeed in life. Anybody who is reading this already has the basic capability at the core that it takes to develop the other capabilities that will have one handle life effectively - anybody!
IN ORDER TO BE HAPPY...
In order to be happy, confident, independent, interdependent, etc., we all need to have a “sense of control”, a sense of "self efficacy". In order to do that, we need to identify our “locus of control” – i.e. what we can (and can’t) control. (See The Most Important Things To Control - What You Can Control Is Massively In Your Favor - see also "the other side" piece in the sidebar.) Many people have tried to control the uncontrollable and ended up with a sense of not being able to control things - as if we actually had to control everything, which is of course massively untrue! Part of the solution lies in having an "internal locus of control" versus an "external locus of control." An external locus of control means that things, circumstances, and other people, in a sense, are what control what we do - such as with people who need approval so spend their lives letting other people determine what they should do or shouldn't do. Since what they do and how they live is controlled by circumstances and other people, they often live their lives playing the role of being a victim - which always results in unhappiness and anxiety and a life that is not run well. A person with an internal sense of control does the opposite - they have confidence they can, mostly, control circumstances and do fine without having to be dependent on others approving of them. The latter is what is an absolute necessity for one's attaining true, deep happiness. It must be cultivated and fully developed if one is to reach happiness and satisfaction with life - and have vastly reduced anxiety and even Fearlessness.
LEARNED HELPLESSNESS - THE GRAND ILLUSION
Violating the laws of control may reasonably lead to a sense of “helplessness”, meaning one just believes that one is incapable of “helping” oneself to get the results one wants in life. Helplessness is solely a belief system (b.s., for short), one that doesn’t line up with reality.
As children, we are taught to be helpless to some degree. Learned helplessness is what some call one of the greatest psychological discoveries, as it serves largely for the basis of depression at various levels. It is believed that we have 10 times the level of depression as at the turn of the twentieth century (1900). And this occurs when we actually have massively greater control over and access to all we want - but the failure of that perception has people feeling the opposite of control! A great portion of this is automatically self-corrected by the materials in the Gratitude section, which helps one "see" (perceive) that which is already there. Also helpful, I think, is the piece Giving To Oneself What Is Needed, so that one is not living in "deficitland". In those who have not yet learned the opposite, learned helplessness is often retriggered by "defeats", physical pain, emotional pain that one does not yet know how to control and/or unfortunate consequences. Often the perccption that one repeatedly feels traumatized, even when one pulls through on a task he fears failure on, produces such massive fear that one is so weakened that he/she goes into a state of helplessness. The fear itself becomes a false threat that seems real. Read the Control - Its Proper Use section to be clear on why the helplessness belief that was retriggered is just an illusion. One of the ways to regain a sense of control is simply to do a thorough job of contemplating and affirming one's most important values in life. Do the exercise as part of your plan or your Reminders Notebook: see Values Main Page.
Another is to gain more knowledge.
Another is to practice exerting control in an area where we do have control or strong influence. Gardening is an example. Taking care of a pet is to.
The reality is that a person with any IQ at all and any physical or talking capability can do things that will produce consequences. i.e. they'll have sufficient control over their circumstances to exert effort that creates what they want. They have the ability to choose to do those things one finds to produce the better consequences.
They often find that the illusion of some mysterious entity or spirit in the mind or body is completely false and nonexistent.
We actually all have "power". Power is simply: “the ability to do or act; capability of doing or effecting something”, at the basic level. We have added meanings to the word "power", such as “force”, “superior will”, etc, but those are just “stories” created around true power. Power is simply the ability to effectively exert effort to achieve a result.
THE PROCESS OF RECOVERY
So, the process here is simply to identify what you can control and can’t control (put that phrase in the search engine and study the piece).
There is a part you could include called “influence over” (kinda like or close to "partial power", where you know you could influence what happens but know that you cannot control what happens (so it is still in the non-controllable zone), such as whether someone else falls in love with you or even likes you.
Surely, one can control what one eats (subject to one’s false beliefs), whether one exercises, etc. And, it is true that some people choose to do something else, like filling an addictive need to have short term consequences that may not be a good choice. In the latter case, they are often trying to "overpower" the forces within the body, so they often lose - they fail to see that there is a successful way of winning by more forming a smarter strategy that works. (See The Elephant In The Room Of Life - Who Is In Charge? to get a more realistic view of what is involved.) But people can control how much they learn in the area of self development and self psychology. (See "The Build".)
Also, one can control how kind one is or how one adheres to one’s values and standards.
One can’t control the stock market (or predict it well), but one can control how diversified one is. One can’t control how much income one makes, but one can influence it by doing those things that tend to contribute to making a higher income.
And then implementing a commitment and ability to live in Integrity and to implement the techniques and thinking behind the easier-than-you-think implementation and practice of Discipline (see Discipline - The Only Choice).
You can learn that you have "sufficient" control to get all you really need in life (though not all the luxuries and extras, perhaps). We have enough control via what is controllable that we can truly create super great lives!
To “get” this and to be clear and complete, you must do the process to the greatest degree you can at this time . Then complete the attached checklist.
CHECKLIST ON SENSE OF CONTROL
Complete the following checklist, after you have done the process:
___ I understand clearly what I can and can’t control.
___ I now choose to let go and to cease trying to control what I cannot control.
___ I know I have power.
___ I acknowledge that I am not helpless and that I am not dependent on
“powerful” people to feed me and take care of me. I can do all that.
___ I know I have the ability (though maybe not yet the awareness) to create the
life I love.
___ I accept my humanness and the fact that I will err at times, but I know I have
the ability to do what can be done to make my life a happy one.
___ I commit myself to getting the help, the resources, the information I need to
have a level of awareness that serves me in living my life at a high level.
Signed this ____ day of _______________, ______
Tickled for review: ___/___/___
Updated, date: ___/___/____
(Copy and paste this into a Word document or get it from the original Word version of A Sense Of Control.)
WHAT ELSE DO I DO?
There are a number of things you can do, from studying overall psychology and learning "how things work". You should at least read The Reality Reading Sequence, especially the part about how the brain and emotions work. All of this "learned helplessness" is fear-based and false belief based, so you should complete the Fear Management Program.
I recommend that you use a "guide" at least throughout the stage to "adequacy", such as
A "thought reconstruction" engineer, called a Cognitive Behavior Therapist.
An intense program that will guide you - and better yet have all or some of these addtions: full supervision, immersed in one time period, at a remote location without distractions, and such. See the pieces of Effective Learning. A highly recommended program by those who have attended it, including a number of high profile and successful people, is The Hoffman Institute.