Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 05/23/2022
Looks like the “perfect storm,” right? War in Europe, inflation, supply chain shortages, covid hanging around like gum on your shoe, off-year US elections that will impact much of the world, and the frenzied apprehension about what Kim Kardashian might say next. The echolalia that the sky is falling.
I’m not here to make light of serious issues, but simply to point out that some of us have been through recession, Viet Nam, the Cuban Missile Crisis, polio, assassinations (of JFK, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King), gas shortages, and much more. And here we are.
The question to me has always been: To what extent do we believe we have control and attempt to exercise it? (Marshall Goldsmith and I discuss this at length in our book Lifestorming [John Wiley]).
If you believe there is neither external control nor internal control, then every day is a crap shoot, simply random existence. If you believe that you have no control and that it is all external—from the IRS to the weather—then you’re in a sort of Calvinistic pre-determination, where whatever you try to do, it doesn’t matter. You’re in the hands of the fates.
If you believe that it’s all about internal control, and you are the sole determinant of what happens to you, then you’re in the realm of the motivational speaker and The Secret. (I love the speakers with three divorces, who are overweight, who chain smoke, who drink too much, and who tell you to take control of your life.)
The truth is in reciprocity. That is, there is external control (laws and such) and internal control (free will and independent judgment). If it rains, you move the party inside. If the IRS calls, you get a great accountant. When trauma hits, you grieve and move on. (Pain is inevitable, but suffering is voluntary.)
The current “storm” will pass and another will come along. The question is not what’s happening, but what you choose to do about it. That might seem like a lot of pressure, but it’s actually a lot of freedom.
What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.—Jiddu Krishnamurti
Politics is the art of controlling your environment.—Hunter S. Thompson
When you can, exert control. When you can’t, be resilient.—Alan Weiss