I have taught dozens of classes at many top business schools and heard many complaints about toxic bosses.
A common accusation is that the disliked superior is a micro-manager and far too controlling. Bright, freshly minted MBAs don’t want to be on a tight leash. They want freedom to demonstrate their capabilities and this ignoramus is a wet blanket over their heads.
Well, you also are a control freak!
In fact, you have spent your entire life trying to exert control over some part of your internal or external environment.
Are you married? Why did you get married? Well, you noticed this person and it felt good and you did it again and it felt better and you thought if you got married there would be sex and love and companionship so you went for it.
It was an attempt to control some part of your internal or external environment.
Are you running a business? Why did you start one? Well, you thought that this was a good way to get rid of your boss and make oodles of money and be respected and show ‘em what you are really capable of, so you sprung for it. It was an attempt to control some part of your internal or external environment.
The problem is that you do not have any control. You never had and never will.
You have the ‘illusion of control’. This comes about because things do seem to be predictable and amenable to cause-and-effect explanations. So, you worked hard in your business and it became a cash cow that gave you a very comfortable standard of living.
But, there have been times in your life when you faced something so unexpected, so totally unforeseen, that it knocked all of your plans into a cocked hat.
A friend of mine mortgaged his house and put all his money into a new brokerage operation. He opened for business on September 10, 2001. Another did his market research and opened a plush fitness center attached to an upscale coffee shop. And then businesses were closed due to the virus.
This has happened in your life. It will happen again.
Recognize this and accept it in advance. Then go through life making plans as you normally do. Use the ‘illusion of control’ knowing that it is an illusion. That, it will break down some time, somewhere, and unexpectedly.
And then you will not be fazed when misfortune strikes.
Muslims have a cultural practice of saying “Inshallah” after announcing a plan or intention. It will happen if this is the will of Allah. “We will meet for dinner on Thursday, Inshallah.” You acknowledge that you will work to make it happen but whether it does or not is not in your control.
Unfortunately, this has become, for many, a mechanical habit instead of a deliberate moment of contemplation. And then it loses all value.
Pause and reflect on the many worries and concerns you have today and what activities you are engaged in. Those activities may come to fruition, Inshallah. Or they may not, also Inshallah.
When you fully accept this, you will always be serene.