External and internal control

“Please contact my secretary to find the time in my schedule, I’m over booked…”  Have you ever heard a similar from an important CEO or other top manager? He/she is obviously under the time pressure, a stress situation or … If this happens frequently it is normally understood that such people don’t have free time.

Zhuang ZiIn my post Cause and consequence / Urgent and important the pressure because of mainly dealing with urgent instead of important issues was already discussed. To further it, concentrate on the next problem, well described by Zhuāng Zǐ proverb: “If you cannot even govern your own self, how can you govern the world”.

How true and how often we do ignore it? When under the stress a basic martial arts skill is to control and not to fight emotions that are piling up. First try to ascertain what you sense or feel. Then do some concealed relaxation breathing to relax the tension.

violent situation
In a hypothetical situation – how you should (would) deal with a violent situation on the street that may occur to you one day?

voiceYou most probably are not used to such a situation and you start to panic instead to calm the situation. Your voice could be the key. If your voice is lost, you lose the last step in your defense. In most hostile events, the first stage of panic begins with fast and abrupt breathing. Then the sweating starts. And the panic is rising throughout our body from the feet to the brain. If, at the time, we have already lost our ability to speak, the body stiffens; the stiffness of the body prevents our defense. To prepare us for fight or flight the unconscious mind takes over the control. However, if we are still able to talk we may control the situation and the opponent as well.

In business, as an opposing practice of controlling others is encountered in MBA schools: managers go through courses and books teaching them how to control people mostly by using a zero-sum game, that is — someone wins and someone loses.  And this is obvious in the case of ‘the best of the month’, where only one person can be that, all the others are losers. And this is quite a popular practice. It shows that one cannot control the complex system behavior and therefore turn over the power of (his) control to individuals of a group. They fight between themselves instead of collaborating.

Back to the hypothetical violent situation: what would be the outcome of such a zero-sum game control behavior?

So, controlling others is not like in MBA’s teaching turn boss power of a control to others. It is about controlling what and how one shares power. It is about one’s internal control.

Therefore, bear in mind when you cannot control yourself – you do not control others!


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