Even as a kid I could make situations go my way without those around me really knowing it. I like to think of this as tilting the pinball machine but in the business world I think it’s called “framing.” I don’t think this makes me a sociopath because I didn’t derive any pleasure from manipulation. I derived my self-worth not from manifesting my ideal scenarios, but having them go seamlessly. I was obsessed with being right. And I thought that everyone – myself, my friends, my family – would the better for it if I got my way.
As it turns out, I was definitely not better for it. I was a powder keg of stress and anxiety. I felt enormous self-imposed pressure for everything to go well all of the time. I had no resiliency or ability to handle things when they went wrong. It was only after my quarter-life-nervous-breakdown that I understood the negative impact micro-managing had on my life. How it bred resentment in my relationships. Made me feel isolated. Sucked the fun and surprise out of everything.
Nowadays, I find liberation in relinquishing control. I do this by asking for help. By admitting when I’m wrong. By facing my fear and anxiety head-on. When I go into a situation that is scary or unknown my inclination is to plan ahead for every possible outcome. However, I have “reframed” this for myself in recent years. I see planning as something that prepares me for the unknown but does not stave it off.
Organization and preparation are just tools that trick your mind into feeling confident. It’s that confidence that has enabled me to embrace flexibility…most of the time.