Saturday, April 28, 2007

Control and Overcorrection

When we lose control of our automobile on a slippery road, the vehicle may start fishtailing. When this happens, we may over-correct a few times before we find the spot where control is regained.

Some of us go fishtailing through life, never quite mastering our balance and control. This doesn't mean that we don't proceed in the direction we wish to go. It does make the trip more harrowing and may unnerve others who are watching. There are those who actually enjoy that type of trip. Being slightly off balance may feel exhilarating or may help them focus their attention more acutely. It also may help clear a path for them as others who prefer consistency move out of the way.

When we are under stress of any kind, our bodies pick up on it and respond. Our pupils dilate, the blood pressure goes up, respiration goes up, and our ability to communicate is diminished. Yet during those times when situations feel out of control we may expect more of ourselves than usual.

Pressure has different effects on different people, as mentioned in the film "The Devil's Advocate".

"Pressure. It changes everything, pressure. Some folks, you squeeze them, they focus. Others fold. Can you summon your talent at will? Can you deliver on a deadline? Can you sleep at night?"

Some of us are able to focus with more intensity when we are squeezed by situations as long as we are taking action. After the crisis is over we may come unglued. Others lose focus during stressful times and may be of more assistance after the situation is over. Those in this category are a huge help by participating in cleanup and re-stabilization or by offering support.

Regardless of personal style, when out of control situations occur people may over-react and overdo attempts to correct the situation. It is similar to a pendulum. If the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it must swing equally far in the other direction before equilibrium is re-established, and so it often is with us.

One surprisingly valuable tool for restabilization is letting go. If we are overcorrecting by gripping that steering wheel and jerking it too far in the other direction, letting go or easing our grip for a second or two before making another move sometimes can help. Overwhelming feelings of anger, frustration, fear, or despair similarly can cause us to over-react or become obsessed with some sort of retaliation or retribution. This can be alleviated to some extent if we are able to try to make a conscious effort not to react but rather to respond. Easing up and letting go briefly helps us restabilize ourselves without the pendulum having to swing so far in the other direction, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual. This helps us control our tendency for overcorrection because it comes from an inner knowing that regardless of uncontrollable or changing situations our personal control is still our own. We still have the power to decide what we will say and do about them. The power of choice is always ours.

Anticipate a great day. It's Yours!

© 2007 Gail Pursell Elliott. All Rights Reserved.

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1 comment:

Peter Haslam said...

Absolutely choice is ours to make