Sunday, July 15, 2007

It’s all about control

Last time I was talking about how balance is probably the thing that we are all looking for, in business and personally. The question is how do you find it ? Balance, as you know is a very hard thing to not only achieve but also maintain. If you stand on a see-saw and try to keep it balanced you will have to make adjustments from side to side. Also, if you stand on one foot you'll spend all your time shifting you weight to maintain your balance. So what allows balance ? CONTROL.

A wise person once said “those who are not in control of themselves are destined to be controlled by other” and not a truer word was spoken. Take a look around today and see how out of control most people are. Everyone is trying to be something they are not. They want to be like this Hollywood star, they want a house as big as their neighbours, they want a salary as big as the bosses and so. The problem is that this lack of control is making millions for businesses selling these dreams. If you are in control of your life, it doesn't matter what any one else does you are not influenced. It is stressful enough to try and live one life, why try living someone else's as well as yoru own ? If you are in control you can look objectively at what is on offer and decide whether it is right for you. If it is great, if not then at least you know that it is not.

One of the biggest industries today no doubt is weight loss and dieting. The problem is nearly everyone now knows that to lose weight is simple, eat less, exercise more and get enough sleep. Problem is that everyone wants the short cut. Everyone is looking for that “miracle” diet that will shed pounds in minutes. Guess what ? It doesn't exist ! Never has never will. Why are people looking for a “miracle” ? Because they don't have any control. They couldn't be bothered putting in the time to take control of their lives and thus are destined to be controlled by others and fad “miracle diets“. Sure, most people lose weight on these diets but do they keep it off ? No. Sooner or later they regress to their old out of control self and put the weight back on ( plus a few extra kilos normally ). Then the whole pattern is repeated. Again, they do not have control of themselves.

When you drive a car you are in control of a very dangerous piece of machinery. I read somewhere that cars kill more people every year that people that have been killed in all wars in history combined. Now, I don't know if that is true but when we go out on the road we trust that the other drivers out there are in control. Why is it not the same with life ? Too many people today are not willing to take control of their lives to make a difference. Why ? Because it requires work, perserverance and commitment. But guess what ? Every day requires more work, perserverance and commitment to achieve your goals. As some other wise person once said, “to achieve anything worthwhile requires sacrifice” and this can't be achieved without control.

The same applies in business. As Michael Gerber says in the E-Myth, if you are working in a business where you can't take holidays when you like, can't afford a sick day and are working long hours, you don't have a business you have a job. In short, you are controlled by your business. Most people start a business to get away from this but in fact they end up getting trapped in it. Again, it is a hard step to take but to achieve the business you desire you need to have control. You need to have a good look at your business and ask the hard questions like " would I be better off just working for someone else". Someone who is in control can not only ask that question but answer it truthfully.

I am no expert but I believe that the key to life is balance and the way to achieve balance is through control. The question now is how does one achieve control ? You'll never guess what, I have a theory on that as well, but I'll save that for next time.