CONTROL, POWER & INFLUENCE: SIX BASIC IDEAS TO CONSIDER
© 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
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
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.