“I like control.” – Michael Jordan
What is the difference between being in control and being controlling? Is there a significant difference or is this just another idea contrived by humans in order to make ourselves feel better?
I was visiting with my friend Mark the other day. He is a piano student at the local university and one of the most talented pianists I have met. We were talking about composers and which ones we prefer to play and listen to over those we would rather skip. It all came down to J.S. Bach. Yes, he is/was amazing. I made the comment that I prefer to learn and play Bach because it gives me the sense of control that I feel is lacking in so many other areas of my life. This is a pretty recent development for me – probably over the last five or so years. There are days when I feel like I have been spread so thin and my patience is sorely lacking. There are days when I bounce from activity to activity and feel like I have no real control over my schedule. There are days when my emotions are so over the place that I really have no hope of functioning in any sort of appropriate capacity. These are the days when Bach helps to reign me in and find purpose and order in the madness. Today, I could have benefited greatly from having the opportunity to spend 30-60 minutes just with Bach. I think that there could have been no better cure from the madness that kept evolving over the day than being alone at the piano with one of my dearest friends – Bach.
When I am working, I always feel so in control. I know how to do my job and I do it well. Then a powerful group walks into the building and every person freaks out. Every. Single. Person. I go from knowing how to do my job to all my superiors questioning my ability to do my job just because a bunch of people walked through the front door. This is exactly what happened this afternoon. As my coworker and I were regrouping today and coming up with a new game plan for the afternoon, our department manager comes up to us and starts ordering us around. The longer the afternoon went on, the more I nearly snapped in two distinct pieces. I was doing the same thing that I do every Wednesday afternoon because my job function doesn’t change based on people of importance in the building. However, all the tension from the management team made me want to cry and scream….or something as appropriate. This is not control. This is pure controlling behavior.
We are not meant to control each other. That is not what this life is about. We need to take control of ourselves and trust that the other people in our lives are doing the same. I am a human being full of emotions, talent, drive, and the ability to do my job well. Trust that this I will continue to do and we will get along very well. If you decide to try to control my actions, well, we might come to a not so happy end. I am a person that is full of a range of emotions and in any given day, you will see many of them. I hide nothing.
“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.” – Marilu Henner
Peace and Love (And Sanity),
The Mad Pianist