This is a post about how real life impacts writing. In real life, each one of us wants better control of our lives. And I have often felt, writers by nature are not very aggressive or pushy. To many of us, writing from our early days was an escape route from real life, where unlike the real world, we could control every single thing in our writings. So taking the liberty to assume there are many creatives out there struggling through the same stuff as I do, here is a learning I have had on dealing with control issues in my life.
Understanding the concept of control in everyday life
Is my life about controlling the events that happen? If I am seeking control, I am constantly challenged by things not turning out as I want. Yet, planning our lives, aiming for something bigger, chasing a dream is what successful lives are about.
So when Buddha left his home, did he know that he would be enlightened by so and so day? I think not – all he knew was that he was looking for answers and he had committed to ‘looking’ till he found them.
What that means to me is that we can commit to our search, our journey without really worrying about what else gets in the way. When we speak of having control of various things and situations around us, the problem is we speak of having control over things that we actually have no control over. When situations turn out in a certain way or people behave the way they usually do – and that is not in line with our expectations, we feel we are out of control.
You have heard it before: we can only control ourselves.
What this means…
The fact is the only things we can control is ourselves – our thoughts, our behavior, our expectations and our response to all that is happening around us. If we are vigilant – watch what is it that triggers inappropriate response in us. We can choose to behave in a different manner, and this will make us feel better as we have responded out of choice.
Everyday arguments: key time wasters
When one takes the time to sit down and review all that is happening, you can almost guess the other person’s behavior. And there is a certain way in which we react to that. The question that I ask is when the behavior of the other individual in a given situation is pre-defined, why do I not behave differently? I still give in to anger, irritation, frustration – knowing full well that the other person is coming from his / her own stories. Usually, the other person in an argument is looking to instigate a reaction in me that will let him / her feel superior.
The habit of reacting on the spur of the moment without applying thought to what it is I am saying / doing, without questioning the other person’s motives or reasons; I move away from my own goals. I give in to various emotions – guilt, fear, anger, desire for revenge, need to prove myself better. I would say this to me is what lack of control and discipline imply. We give in to emotions that are of little importance and get tangled in this web – moving away from the goals we set out for ourselves. That is what I think Buddha was trying to get away from when he decided to leave his family and commit to his search for truth.
Create time for your hobbies: Avoid time-consuming arguments
One of the routes that I have found extremely effective in dealing with recurring conflict situations is to observe, capture and analyse carefully situations that regularly go out of hand. Try and understand the reasons and the causes that build up to an argument. This enables you to see your reaction and the other person’s reaction in an objective manner. The analysis also prepares you for this situation and argument the next time the same set of incidents occur.
To me, this knowledge, this study and understanding of the other person’s and my own behavior – this gives me control. It lets me choose my response in a situation where I know the other person is behaving irrationally. This awareness helps keep conflicts in routine life away, and I am better able to appreciate the other person’s point of view.
By staying out of unnecessary discussions and arguments, you create more time for yourself and the bigger goals in your life. As I move towards this state of being Buddha ;), where I look to control my space and my life and my being, I look forward to be able to progress considerably towards my search for that perfect story, perfect poem and the perfect piece of art.
What are your biggest time wasters in real life? How do you deal with them to get more creative time?
~ Bharti Athray
Image source: Internet