Monthly Archive: October 2012

The paradox of control

I wish I was more disciplined.

As a control-monger who is singularly poor at long-term focus and therefore at the retention of control, my life is one of constant stops and starts. I seize on a notion like a cat on a mouse, but unlike a cat who will allow its prey to wander off before it pounces again and reasserts ownership, I have a habit of allowing it to wander too far before I realise it belongs to someone else.

And then all I am left with is a bunch of questions which can be grouped under a single heading of ‘wtf?’

I know what the problem is though: it’s a classic modern-day dilution of focus. Cats, when they have their mouse, don’t care about anything else. Not a saucer of milk; not the singing of their name … not even a sudden thunderclap and downpour would prevent them from finishing the task.

I’m not that way. I make the mistake often of assuming that the mouse will stay where it is. But mice, like ideas, like people, and like opportunities, have minds of their own.

Self-improvement is about recognising where you’re going wrong and doing something about it, and this particular dilemma is my primary focus these days. Except that it plays precisely into the central paradox it is intended to resolve; that of remaining deeply enough in control that I am able to master it.

I hate that about it. And yet, I am incessantly amused. Because in order to be better at control, I know that I must first get better at control.

But that requires focus …