The Hunger For Control Is The Root Of Problems

A few years back I was running a teleseminar with a business partner. The goal was to have an open dialog about business and marketing and promote an upcoming live event.

The morning before our teleseminar, we prepared all of the questions and answers that we wanted to cover on the call plus the overall structure in terms of timing.

When it came time to run the show, we both struggled to keep the discussion on track because we were so concerned about this arbitrary “agenda” we had scripted ahead of time.

I would score the call a 5/10. Not good.

When we debriefed we both agreed we were thinking way too much about the plan and the structure and this literally prevented us from thinking on the fly, being creative and spontaneous and creating a call that would capture the interest of the listener.

The next call came around and we changed everything. We set 3 main goals for the call.

1. Discuss a few hot topics that customers had been asking.
2. Insert a time to promote our event.
3. Open the call up for question.

This call was an easy 10/10. We had fun with it, we discussed ideas that we hadn’t even planned. We were creative and spontaneous and the feedback reflected it (both in email replies and sales).

That was 4 years ago or so.

Since then I have been interviewed probably 100 times and whenever the interviewer asks if I want to see the questions ahead of time I say no. I give better, more honest answers when I just speak without thinking.

The lesson…

Learn to create a separation between conscious processing and spontaneous action whenever you speak, present or interact socially with other people.

The key is to let go.

As author Robert Greene writes, “the hunger for control is the root of many problems in life.”

Its about learning to trust yourself
Its about accepting imperfection and the dynamic of living

What to do about it…

If you have an important event coming up like a live presentation, a webinar, conducting a board meeting, a performance, coaching (or anything else where you are the center of attention) think about it in 2 steps.

Step 1:

Preparation – do your very best to prepare for your event ahead of time. Don’t cheat yourself. Don’t procrastinate. Operate with a sense of urgency so that you can look in the mirror and know you gave it your all in your practice sessions.

Step 2:

Once you honestly complete step 1… FULLY let go of control. Don’t dwell on the outcome and especially don’t consciously try to think about every step of the process.

Just act spontaneous and see how it pans out.

(As an example, I have shot 100s upon 100s of videos. Some tutorial or teaching based and many sales videos. Most are done with no script just a high level overview of my goal. My most successful videos have all been done using this “letting go” mindset).


As huge and important this event is in your world and your life, to everyone else it is just a small item on their radar in the course of their busy and hectic lives. The pressure is never as bad as your mind wants to make it out to be.

Keep this in mind and you will relax into your activities much easier.

Final Inspiration…

There are hundreds of sources of inspiration that can help you implement this letting go process. One of my favorite things to watch is “parkour” videos.

These are people who train themselves to maneuver through their environment and world and high speeds using dynamic, acrobatic movements. The people who do this explain a certain freedom just “living” when they do this.

There is a total disconnect of conscious control when they perform parkour. Pure spontaneity. Watch this video to help you get into the mode

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3 Responses to The Hunger For Control Is The Root Of Problems

  1. Sue September 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Very informative. Thanks for sharing this. Sometimes you really need to set your mood to become productive. More often than not, people are carried away by emotions which may lead to doing wrong actions.

    • Justin Popovic October 1, 2013 at 5:49 am #

      Hey Sue. Glad you liked it. I totally agree. Even if you have mounds of work in front of you, if you are not emotionally/mentally tuned in, you cannot be effective. Priority 1 then becomes improving your state above and beyond all other tasks 🙂

  2. Justin Popovic October 2, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Tell me what you think of this stuff? Especially the parkour video 🙂

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