Developing control

Human beings have a natural tendency to control. You see it on many levels. We try to arrange and decorate our homes in a way that satisfies us. It may be an image we are trying to project, and the process of control would manifest itself in decorating our homes to reflect this. If you want to project a glamorous lifestyle, you fill your home with glamorous things, perhaps such as expensive art, or pictures or artifacts from far-flung places. If you want to have a functional home, or if perhaps your lifestyle demands so, then you would fill it with multifunctional furniture.

But it is not just physical surroundings that people try to order. We control our relationships with others this way too. For example, we join groups or clubs that we have an affinity with. We go out with people whose company we enjoy. At the root level there is still a level of control at play. After all, being surrounded by people who have little in common with you, or those you are not familiar with is hard work.

In our work, too, there is a need to develop mastery of tasks instead of being controlled by our circumstances. For instance, developing knowledge and experience to deal with situations is what people get paid for! If a firm wants to hire a banker to make money, they go for someone who has sound financial knowledge and the experience to deal with emerging situations.

It is a good idea to involve ourselves in situations that demand control over a multiplicity of tasks. Learning driving? You have to manipulate controls while instinctively looking out the window instead of blindly adhering to the steering wheel. You can even start people younger with music lessons, where individuals have to adapt to read music, manipulate the instrument, while receiving aural feedback and attuning to it. The Finsbury Park piano teachers website estimates that it is learning to manage six or seven different tasks at the same time!

Control is an essential aspect. Developing control is the way we remain positive about our ability and our skills, and ultimately our place in the world. It may be worthwhile, hence, to involve youngsters in areas such as sport or music to develop control and refinement.

Need a break? A holiday … or a music skill?

When the term relaxing is put to you, what is the first thing that comes naturally to mind? For some it may involve a weekend away to somewhere different, away from the stresses of daily life. A change in surroundings is good. It allows you to recharge your batteries so that you return back to work ready to take on the tasks ahead. That’s the theory anyway. For other individuals relaxing is a longer term project, which may involve a week away in the more exotic climates of Europe, such as traditional cities such as Spanish ones like Barcelona or Madrid.

If you are on of these lucky people then good for you! Some people actually go so long away for a holiday that in the middle of it they may sit up and decide that they have had enough time away and are ready to go back to work. They may just declare that the time away, while beneficial, has been too long and bordering on disruptive, that they are starting to disassociate with the essence of themselves. In other words, they are starting to lose links with work and family, and the routine is so drastically different that if they carried on with the holiday they would have to think of setting up a new life!

Which is what some people actually do. Some decide to put life on hold, traveling to different cities in a caravan or motorhome, paying their way by teaching, or more recently, blogging. Blogging is a digital job that has sprung up in recent years, but don’t be deluded – the majority of us can’t blog our way travelling through expensive cities like New York or London, so don’t get caught up in the hype, thinking you can make a living in the big city, traveling and enjoying life, while money for a mortgage plonks itself into your bank account!

But relaxing does not involve going on away – it may just mean taking up another pursuit as a sort of mental deflection from daily activities. Taking up a new skill such as computer programming, web design, a sport like football or a musical instrument like the piano can provide equal mental distraction and make you feel refreshed when you go back to routine. It gives you a jolt from stability. And developing the patience to improve one’s craft can also lead to the development of learning skills. For example, piano skills are not hereditary, but if you take it up, you will learn about how you yourself learn new things, strategies and techniques which you can apply to other situations.

So the next time you feel you need a break, and can’t go away – try a new hobby instead!