Out of control

Back in the early days of the use of”social” tools in the workplace I used to talk about managers’ fear of losing control. I would point out that they had never really had control. Sure they had the appearances of it, they had the titles, they had the ownership of the communication channels, they had the “authority”. But in terms of the actual day to day actions of those they managed they had minimal control.

However by engaging fully with the use of social tools they could achieve influence. By noticing what was happening around them then writing about what mattered, and why, they were much more likely to encourage people to move towards shared goals and desired outcomes. They could become a fully functioning node in a healthy network of networks rather than a distorting force blocking the organism from working.

The same is true of life. We fear loss of control, but we never had it. We were on autopilot, our actions a result of biology, culture, and memory.

But if we are awake, and aware, and notice, and share, what is happening in every moment, over and over again, we can allow life to happen without distortion.

As Joseph Campbell put it:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Current circumstances are making a lot of us feel more out of control than usual. By attempting to exercise control, by using force to pursue some favoured ideology, we risk distorting the complex interactions that are life taking its course. These distortions cause stress and distress to ourselves, those around us, and ultimately the precious planet we live on.

This is not an argument for doing nothing. It is a plea to loosen our frantic attempts to control life, to make it fit to our preconceived and inherited ideas of how it should be. Instead we could allow life to work by noticing each and every complex, fascinating, moment as it happens, again and again… and then responding. Fully taking our place in the complex, interconnected, networks of networks that are life working as it should.