Trust Yourself: The Illusion of Control

Let me tell you something you already know — you’re kinda weird.

I’m weird.

Everyone is weird.

Some of us are weirder than others, of course.

What I mean is that society has a way of pulling us in the same direction.

The pressure to conform and go with the flow is so massive it’s almost hypnotic.

Doesn’t it seem weird that with so many smart independent people in the U.S.  basically all have the same goals?

I mean look at me.

Since childhood the only thing I’ve ever wanted was to go to college, get a good paying job, get married, purchase a nice home, a couple of cars, some toys, and take nice vacations.

It’s like a to do list — check, check, check, check and check.

Now don’t get me wrong if you want those things, great, but what if you don’t.

What I’m saying is do things in life because you want to do them not just because you’re in a hypnotic state going with the flow.

Let’s Clarify Before We Move On
Going with the flow is not necessarily bad in some instances.

Sometimes we need to go with the flow because a society this large we have to set expectations, parameters and some guidelines, you know, simple stuff like don’t cheat, don’t steal, drive on your side of the road and just be nice.

But somehow, someway, we’ve let others dictate the expectation of how we should live our lives.

One Size Fits All
This has left us with a one size fits all cookie cutter lifestyle.

A lifestyle where if you don’t fit in then you’re marginalized and labeled educable mentally retarded, like Les Brown, the great motivational speaker or told your skill set is to be a bus driver like James Smith, the real estate mogul.

In my humble opinion, these unhealthy lifestyles have led to our high depression rates, anxiety related illnesses and obesity epidemic.

The way we live may work for some but is not necessarily for everyone as can be witnessed in our lifestyle related ills.

Trust Your Gut
I believe that one thing that we’ve forgotten is how to use our gut and intuition and I believe we can all benefit from becoming more self-aware.

Let me explain.

In a world that values data, information, facts, statistics, hard figures and idolizes the left brain in general, we also know that many things we’ve done in the past didn’t make sense but we just knew in our gut were right.

For example, after High School I attended a college close to home for two years and everything seemed great. I had great friends; home was only an hour away if I wanted to visit and I had a great paying job actually a better paying job than most adults.

Logically this was a great little set up but one day I just felt the urge to move.

So I got out a map of Texas and decided to move to San Antonio, Texas for no particular reason.

I’d never been to San Antonio or really knew anybody there but I just knew in my gut I had to go.

My time there was great. I grew as a person. I became more resilient, met great friends some of whom I still keep in touch with today.

If I had weighed the pros and cons, I would have never left.

The Illusion of Control
Another thing about this society is that we like to feel like we have it all under control and use logic, albeit sometimes faulty, to solidify this illusion.

But after interviewing many successful high achievers and entrepreneurs for my podcast I found that nobody really knows what they’re doing.

In fact, one of my guests said it best when he said, “I don’t know what I’m doing. Nobody really knows what they’re doing.”

I now understand that we’re all just trying to do the best we can.

But how do you do the best you can, according to our family, friends and neighbors?

Well—do what is logical and looks good on paper, of course.

Why?

So you can back it up with figures, just in case they ask or attempt to dissuade you.

Yup, put the pros and cons, facts and stats on paper and naysayers will back off and say this plan sounds legit looks like you’ve thought this through.

Then they’ll look at each other and say, let’s leave him alone and go look for others that need our help with their lives even though we are more lost than they.

To see how much we value logic over intuition, just tell these same folks that you’re going to do something just because it feels right in your gut which I’m sure will be received with blank stares and maybe a strait jacket.

Fulfillment
I believe the greatest untapped area for fulfillment in our lives is not medication, not stuff, not money but the ability to listen to our gut and be independent of the good opinion of others.

Why?

Because data is overwhelming and when the brain is overwhelmed we make irrational decisions.

I’ve come to know that place, the gut feeling when I feel something is the thing I must do.

When I make a decision based on gut feeling I feel it in my body.

How do I know when that thing I feel in my stomach is my intuition or just gas?

I don’t know.

For me, when I have a gut feeling it accompanied by clarity, peace, calm and knowing. I also know that contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take days hours weeks years to make a decisions sometimes it takes just a second to make a decision even one you never really contemplated before.

It Was My Junior Year in College
My major was Engineering but didn’t have the slightest interest in it.

I picked it because, according to a list I saw in high school, they made the most money and of course I wanted money.

When I started taking higher level courses I realized what Mechanical Engineers really do and I hated it.

This is not what I want to do with the rest of my life, I thought.

So I did what any lost and confused college student would do. I stopped going to class and at the end of the semester I left school.

Fast forward three years, I decided to go back to school.

I still didn’t know what I wanted to major in but as I spoke to my academic adviser I decided on a Business degree on the spot.

Wow, he said sounds like we’re making some life changing decisions as we speak. He was right.

I’d never really considered a Business degree and don’t know why I said it that afternoon but when I said it I knew it was right.

I hadn’t felt that sensation of clarity, peace and calm in a long time but I was glad to see it.

I remember that while growing up I listened to my gut way more than when I got older.

I don’t really know when logic started hijacking my decision making process instead of harmonizing the two in order to produce the best possible outcome.

Now don’t get me wrong, when reality kicks in and you start to look for a place to live in a different city, look for another job, research how to start your business etc… the fear, anxiety and stress will kick in.

I’m also not saying that I make all decisions like this but what I am saying is that the best decisions I’ve ever made came from a deep down place of trusting my intuition no matter how illogical it was at the moment.

I don’t really know how or why it works but I think it’s because we’ve always known the way.

We just stopped believing in ourselves. We stopped trusting ourselves.

What Is Your Truth
What is the decision you know you must make?

The decision you know deep down inside you must make in order to live at peace with yourself?

Make the decision and move on.

Just take the next right step you know you should.

That’s all for today.

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Fidel

Fidel is obsessed with Mexico, the enrichment of life through travel and living with no regrets.

Show 3 Comments
  • Frank O'Grady June 27, 2016, 4:51 pm

    I get it.
    I grew up listening to people tell me being what I wanted to be ( which was me ) wasn’t reality…….. that I needed to be what would be considered a productive part of the machine and to not fight the parts of it that I saw as being unjust.
    I even did that for awhile.
    It’s a long story but that wasn’t for me…… every time I tried it I was pretty good at it for extended periods of time but, ultimately, that was the path to failure for me.
    My gut was my true guide….. with my wife the very first time I met her ( she wasn’t convinced as easily as I was ), my decision to leave more than one career, our move to Mexico, solar, the truth of the matter is we don’t have a long-term plan other than to try and live a life worth living. And that is something only each of us as individuals can decide upon.
    And, in all honesty, at the age of almost 54 I am still following my gut and I will until I die.
    Saludos,
    Frank

    • FidelCR June 27, 2016, 10:56 pm

      Frank, I can relate. A life worth living to me now is being true to myself and having the courage to follow my own path, wherever it may lead.
      I’m just beginning to get back to trusting myself and my gut again. It’s getting easier but definitely requires a whole lot of faith, self-awareness and embracing uncertainty. What drives me at this point is that I don’t want to look back on my life and live with the regret of “WHAT IF?”
      Looking forward to following You and Katie’s journey as it’s always a breath of fresh air seeing people live life on their own terms.
      Saludos

      • Frank O'Grady June 27, 2016, 11:02 pm

        That is the big one….. what if…… if you don’t have your adventure nobody else will do it for you.
        And, life is finite, much to my chagrin.

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