We’re all control freaks. It’s human tendency to think that every external phenomenon is under our control.

We all tend to think sometimes that things are within the range of our influence. When we feel like we are able to control a situation to a certain degree, it becomes harder for us to accept and fathom when things slip out of our hands. This basic human tendency is known popularly as the ‘illusion of control’. People tend to think that a chance event, that appears or occurs completely out of the blue, is under their control to some degree. But what does this ‘perceived’ feeling of control do for us?

Rather than taking something by its horns and surveying the situation thoroughly, we often tend to make our own attributions. These attributions put an event in a certain light, making us evaluate it as something that we have control over, or not! However, we often make the mistake of ignoring certain variables within these phenomena and happenings, which often makes these self-made evaluations erroneous.

For example, those playing at a casino tend to think that the numbers they score upon rolling a dice are within their purvey of influence; or that they can control their levels of luck in a game of pure chance. Some people tend to believe that rolling a dice harder will garner higher numbers, while a soft, gentle roll with lead to a lower scoring roll. The truth is, the probability of these events is pretty much set in stone, and is external to ‘how hard the dice is rolled’.

Image: Dan Smith on Flickr

Image: Dan Smith on Flickr

This paradigm of control often makes us feel a lot of disappointment whenever things seem to reach outside our scope of influence. It leads to a lot of anguish at the end of something that doesn’t turn out the way we expect. Thus, one must be extremely careful about what they think they have full control over; because understanding our level of influence is something that takes a hands-on survey of a situation!

 

Sometimes we also tend to think that people are under our sphere of control. A bossy CEO might assume that all his employees are fully controlled by him. The point is, that they won’t agree to do ‘whatever he says’ until he proves to them that he is a capable leader, and manages to gain their trust. Just assuming a sense of control will not do the trick. Getting to know all of his subordinates would probably bode him well before establishing some form of hierarchical control.

Image: Shailaja Shyamsukha

Image: Shailaja Shyamsukha

Don’t simply think that your problems, or even simpler situations are always under your control. It’s always better to survey and gauge the scenario before taking it for granted that the scope for control is at its highest. When we’re able to understand the parameters and principles that over different aspects of our lives, we can filter and gauge where we have to take the reigns, and where we must relinquish control.

 

An undergraduate in Psychology, Shantanu is an aspiring Educational Psychologist who will be pursuing his Master’s in 2018 at the Ohio State University. He is adept with psychometric and statistical research, and has honed his grasp over psychology through a 4 year undergraduate course in Liberal Education at FLAME University, Pune.