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© C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
1. All control is self-control. Although you may believe that you can control another (or vice-versa), the truth is that what you perceive as control is influence.

2. You can influence another's reactions or choices, but that other has the choice of whether or not to respond to you and how to respond to you. Refusing to control yourself and trying to control others is a waste of time.

3. Moreover, when you try to control what you cannot, you lose control of yourself. Your sense of power, part of your self-esteem, depends upon your satisfaction with your own performance. And if you are trying to control someone else, you begin to think of what they do as part of your own performance. In psychotherapy, we call this mistake a difficulty with "boundries." That is, just as there are boundries or borders between countries, there are boundries between people. These boundries can't really be crossed.

4. Your best satisfaction with your performance (behavior) depends upon divorcing the value of your action from the results. You can only do what you can do -- there are other factors outside yourself and your control that influence the outcome, including the behavior of other people. (This is part of the concept of personal responsibility -- you are completely responsible for what you do, think, or feel, for who you are. But you are not responsible for the outside factors.)

Type A's who are likely to have heart attacks are those who are frustrated, angry and hostile from trying to control the behavior of others or trying to control other things that are not within their power.

5. Control means choice. Self-Control is of emotions, thoughts, body and behavior. Control of emotions, rather than elmination of emotion, means being able to choose emotional responses. Control of thought means being able to choose when to think, what to think about, how to think about it and to not think about something. Control of behavior means being able to choose everything you do within the limitations of time, place and conditions. That is to say, the behaviors available to be chosen are limited by such factors as whether it is night or day, whether you are at sea or in the mountains, how energetic or fatigued you are, and so forth. Control of body is in large measure dependent upon your level of emotional, cognitive and behavioral control. Emotions have a direct and immediate impact upon our bodies because emotional experiences are physical ones. So, we need to control our emotions through our thoughts and behaviors and also choose behaviors--like exercise--that help dissipate the physical tensions and pains caused by emotions.

6. Self-control, power and influence: The person who realizes that he's the only one in control of him and acts always upon his own choices becomes very powerful. Not only is he the most free of the influence of others, but also he is most influential upon others. The self-controlled person is admired and sought-after as a leader. He is also intimidating to the insecure.

7. Learn the difference between control and influence and you have the keys to true power. You can improve the range and intensity of your influence and the probability of your behavior accomplishing desired or predictable results by developing skills designed for this purpose. (Among others, see the book "Influence" by Cialdini.) Careful planning and strategy selection ("Art of War", Sun Tzu) can help tremendously in influence.


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