Mindset Strategies

5 Questions To Ask If You Can Be A Control Freak

We know we like things done in our way, however, when is do you know if you’re in control or becoming a control freak?

There are many ancient philosophies that seem to have cross overs in their thinking. Today often or not, it simply seems like supercharged common sense.

Buddhist temple
Buddhist Temple

Buddhists believe that suffering occurs when there is conflict between reality and what you expect it to be. The stoics believe it’s when we’re attempting to take control or responsibility for something we have zero control overt. In fact, the stoics went a bit further to say that the only two things any person has ever had true control over is:

  1. Our own thoughts
  2. Our own actions

Quite scary when we consider the truth of that.

Do you worry that you could be falling into the category of a control freak?

This article is going to share with you the top 5 questions to ask if this is the case! 

  1. If people achieve the outcome through  a different way, are you happy?

It’s no secret that control freaks have severe difficulty delegating.

However if/when you do assign a task to someone, are you focused on the outcome, or the journey? As opposed to focusing primarily on the end result; very often a control freak is likely to focus just as much on how the person goes about doing the task. This can very often lead to annoying levels of micromanagement. Heather Herndon Wright from the Women’s Entrepreneur Council often uses something called the yellow brick road analogy to help conquer this issue and make leaders more productive in their own actions.

 ‘Here we are, and there is the Emerald City. Build me a yellow brick road. It must be made of brick and they must be yellow, but I don’t mind if it’s curvy, straight, or triple decked, as long as it’s completed on time and meets the requirements I laid out.”

Once delegated, do you keep thinking how they will do it?

Connected to the previous point, how much time do you dedicate to thinking about the task you’ve given to someone else once it’s been delegated? Spending this time focusing on something that is no longer yours to control could be a classic symptom of being a tad bit of a control freak.

How many instructions do you give to someone when delegating a task. More than 5?

If you have worked with someone or manged them for a while. You know how they think. Chances are, if they are still there (in work or in life) that they do things to a great quality as it is. However, giving someone a large multitude of instructions on how to perform a task could be another way of attempting to micromanage a situation.

Do you have difficulty saying no?

Warren Buffet said that one of the biggest keys of his success was learning to say no a lot more. How often have you found yourself taking on unnecessary tasks just so it “could be done to your standard”? Putting yourself under this level of pressure could be a classic sign of being a control freak.

Do you constantly criticise other people?

Constant or frequent criticism (even if constructive) is very often a veiled attempt at controlling a situation or making someone feel insignificant in order raise your own significance. Boosting your own significance is another method of feeling in control. Bringing awareness to interactions the next time you want to comment on someone’s lifestyle choices could help reduce any chances of being a control freak. Instead allow that focus to turn inwards on your own life choices.

Quick Tip To Avoid Being A Control Freak – Learning To Let Go

In conclusion, being a control freak is the quickest paths to a life of unnecessary stress. The truth is that control isn’t necessarily always the problem. Very often it’s simply living a life with high expectations….all the time.

The only method to stop this is to let it go. But how?

Matthieu Ricard, the French writer and Buddhist monk once gave an inspirational lecture on letting go of the things we wished to control.

He asked a member of the audience “Can someone give me a problem?” and a gentleman gave him one. The Monk wrote the problem in a bubble on the board behind him. He then asked the gentleman “Can you do something about this?” to which the gentleman replied “Yes, I can”. He drew a line to another bubble and wrote inside it ‘Why worry?’. He then asked for another problem from the audience, to which a lady gave him one and he asked the same question, “Can you do anything about this?”. She answered quite confidently “No, I can’t. I can’t do anything!”. The Monk simply drew a line going from her problem to the same bubble and said “So, why worry?”.

Learning to delegate tasks and understanding that whether we like it – it’s now out of our control can lead us slowly but surely to that stress free life.

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