Control and Achievement

It sounds suspect.

It feels wrong.

It’s counterintuitive to everything we’re taught.

Like a street corner magician making your $5 bill continually appear underneath a cup that it has no business inhabiting.

If we let go of the reins a little bit and cede control, nothing falls apart. Most of the time we get where we want to be faster.

Part of this phenomenon is showing respect for the people and processes that have successfully navigated situations like this before. Patiently following their lead until we arrive.

Part is a realization that (almost) nothing goes to hell in a day. It takes years for large unraveling to unfold. On a day to day basis we can only move one pawn one square on the chessboard of life. If we’ve moved forward, it’s been a good day.

Perhaps the largest dynamic we conveniently cold shoulder is the overwhelming truth that we never had much control, to begin with. When we forcefully put every facet of our lives in a chokehold, the universe laughs, and we suffer.

Chance plays a much larger role in all of our lives than we’d like to admit. When you think about your day, it doesn’t feel like it. When you think about your life, it does.

Once we accept that chance is driving our car for us — or is at least the drivers ed teacher with an extra wheel and brake pedal in the passenger seat — we release a daily pressure valve to win in our minds.

We can experiment, create, make, design, draw, opine, write, film, record without fear of whether or not it will be good or successful or widely acclaimed.

Your next project might be great. It might be the one that sets the standard and defines your legacy. But it might go unnoticed.

Whichever transpires rest easy knowing you really didn’t have that much control over the outcome anyway.

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