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There are two main philosophies guiding all of our lives. You either try to take control of every aspect of your life. Or you trust in the cosmos that everything will work out.

And both seem pretty silly on the surface. Trying to control everything never works and ends in anxiety, depression, and worry. But passively hoping that everything will work out is equally as dangerous to your success.

However, trying to control everything is more dangerous than the other philosophy.


Because control is rooted in fear. It’s true that you can’t passively sit back and let life happen to you, but trying to control everything creates far more misery and destruction.

In this episode, I’m sharing with you how to apply both of these philosophies in your own life so you can create a better, happier life instead of creating more agony and despair.

Here Are The Show Highlights:

  • Why relying on your intellect and reason will set you up for failure (9:16)
  • The hippy’s profoundly powerful secret for living a life free of unnecessary problems, stress, and worry (11:15)
  • How logic and reason cage you in a rigid box without the key and deteriorates your life (12:13)
  • The sneaky way control sabotages your relationships (16:52)
  • Why trying to control every aspect of your life leads to anxiety and depression (19:50)
  • How thinking about your own death instantly evaporates most of your fears (26:25)
  • The trick to walk away free from addiction, suicidal thoughts, depression, and pain (27:13)

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course.

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to thefreedomspecialist.com and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.9]

Bob: All right, welcome back to the “Alive and Free Podcast.” Today, we're gonna, we're gonna hit up the illusion of control. So several years ago, the movie Kung Fu Panda came out, it's like one of my favorite movies. Yes! That does qualify me as a dork in some people's minds. And as a very, very serious connoisseur of good musical movie tastes in other other people's minds. Let's set that debate aside for a second. In Kung Fu Panda, there's a beautiful scene where his Master Shifu played by Dustin Hoffman's character, he running he's running down and he's freaking out and he's freaking about the dragon warrior and everything else. Cause he just got the news that Tai Lung, this great. If you haven't read, watched the movie, I highly recommend seeing it, this great warrior who Shifu, who had personally taught and was definitely the best. And he thought destined to be the dragon warrior had somehow escaped from Chor-Gom prison. [01:26.9]

And he's coming down, he's like Master Oogway who's this big giant turtle with this great, wonderful old Chinese person's voice, who's actor's name I don't remember. He comes out and asks Master Oogway, Tyler, he's like “I have some bad news” and he's like, “it is just news, Shifu there is no good or bad.” And then he goes, “Tai Lung has escaped from prison.” At which point you see the turtle kind of paused and hesitates and he goes, “That is bad news, if you don't believe that the dragon warrior can stop him.” You know and it goes on like this, he's like “the Panda, come on the Panda” and ah, back and forth, he's arguing. He's like “This, he's not going to stop Tai Lung.” And so he says, “You have to let go Shifu of the illusion of control.” And then Shifu was like, “But I can control things.” And he's like, “I can,” he's like “I can control.” He says, “Look at this tree, you know, the heavenly peach tree of the peace tree of heavenly wisdom or whatever it is,” he looked at this tree and he says, “You cannot get these. This is a peach. You will only get a peach.” Right? And he says, “No, but I can control when the fruit will fall. You know, I can control where I plant the seed.” [02:32.3]

And like, of course he hits the tree and it falls on top of his head and Oogway laughs and then he cuts it in half with his amazing, wonderful Kung Fu side hand and throws the seed down and plants it and he says, “Ah, yes, Shifu but no matter what you do, it will always be a peach tree. You may wish for an apple or an orange, but you will only get a peach.” He's like, “But a peach cannot Tai Lung.” “Maybe it can Shifu, maybe it can.” And usually watch the rest of the movie cause I'm really not doing it justice. Anyway, we have a situation here between two very, very extreme opposites. One says the way to freedom is control. The other says the way to freedom is acceptance of what is, and both of them from the other side appear totally stupid. [03:30.3]

So let's eliminate, but let's elaborate on both sides so that you and I both have the capacity to see down the middle and to stop with this either or thinking and actually pick a path that's going to be helpful for us. Okay. Let's start with the side that sounds to be the most ludicrous of all, right? The side that sounds to be the most ludicrous of all is the side that Shifu was on, right? I'm a rational thinking human being. And if you're just saying, let things happen, everything happens for a reason. I mean, when Kung Fu Panda, when, when Po fell from the sky as Oogway was feeling into the universe, this is like the same language that, you know, my dad always like raises his eyebrows at and most, most people typically raise their eyebrow, like just trust the universe and stuff. I actually kind of love this kind of language because it's really beautiful. They used to have religious language around it where they say like; I'm following the spirit of God. And you know, I had this prompting or this intuition. And so we found ways to talk ourselves out of this kind of magical worldview thinking where we're like, Oh no, I'm being prompted by the spirit of God. Or there's some other entity that's telling me this where, when somebody is like, no, the universe guided me to you. [04:38.0]

Sometimes we have mock and scorn them, but please see we're saying the same thing. And so this kind of language really raises eyebrows because it says, look, there is a problem happening. Tai Lung is on the loose. Now let's look at problems in your and my life, right? It's not Tai Lung, thankfully, cause I don't know what I would do if there was like a rampaging, snow leopard running through town, but it's not Tai Lung. Okay. So it's not Tai Lung, that's not the problem. What are the other problems we run into? Well, sometimes we run into monetary problems, bankruptcy or lack of funds or job loss or employment issues. Sometimes we run into relationship problems where our kids are disrespecting us and doing things that we wish they never would do or our spouse or significant other is seriously putting boundaries and constraints and expectations on us that feel like they're dampening our life. [05:28.6]

Sometimes we run into faith problems where we don't really know, but we feel pressured to know one way or another way and we're not sure where to turn. Sometimes we run into just mental problems where we can't see our way out of an issue one way or another, or we're constantly attacking ourselves. We have low self-esteem or low self-worth, or we were struggling with addiction and behavior problems or we're struggling in the neighborhood with community problems and racism and all these other problems that show up in the world. These are the problems you and I face. And the Oogway of the world come on and they say, “Just trust the universe.” And the natural response to that is “That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I just hmmmm…this is a big issue. If I just let it happen, it's just going to get worse, right?” [06:11.4]

If I just let, Oh man, just stop making such a big deal out of it. Last week we talked about like stop making things into problems. And a lot of people can take that in a really extreme way and so we say, just trust the universe. You know, the universe brought us the dragon warrior. He fell from the sky and when he fell Oogway, points his finger at him and he goes, “how interesting,” you know, because he didn't realize he was going to end up pointing at a, at a Panda. He thought it was going to be somebody else out there. And he embraced this thing that came and he was like, Oh, that must be the answer. And everyone else like Shifu, especially, and all the furious five are furious. Really they're upset at like how could this fat uneducated, has no skills Panda that doesn't know Kung Fu at all, that gets beat up by a dummy. How could that be? The one that is going to be our salvation. Right? [07:02.9]

So trust the universe sounds like this ridiculous thing because by all, and for all intents and purposes, it just doesn't match up the reasoning behind it, the logic behind it doesn't make sense, it doesn't add up. And we forget when we're sitting on that side of the fence, looking at the, I call it the hippie view. I apologize if any of you are like inclined toward hippiness cause I'm sort of inclined toward hippiness sometimes depending on my mood. So I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but the hippie mood. We look at it from our very rational sense, And we say there is no way that this makes sense, these don't add up. These qualities here, right? They don't add up. If I look at all of the data, all the pros, all the cons, it logically doesn't make sense. And we forget that intellect and logic and reason are not the whole of existence. That the vast majority of everything happening in the cosmos is happening far beyond human intellect and reason. [07:59.7]

And yet somehow we've developed this rule or this idea that we need to make sure that whatever is happening, fits into our human intellect and reason in order for it to be a viable solution. Case in point, and I brought this up several times and I don't know if, if science has modified their views since I heard this, so, you know, this could be slightly outdated. But at least when I was several years ago, studying some of these things, it was, this could totally be an urban myth too, maybe I should check this. But it was propounded that bumblebees in a number of different sources, not just one, the bumblebees, according to the modern laws of physics, shouldn't be able to fly their wings aren't big enough. They can produce in us enough, thrust, forced, whatever else and yet somehow bumblebees are busy flying around. The bumblebee isn't wandering around like, Oh, look guys, I'm breaking the laws of nature. Oh, watch out. I'm going to get pulled over by the police sheriff called the Hornets. It's not happening at all. They're not breaking any laws, they're not thinking about any laws. But we have called them laws of nature as if they are irrefutable. And all that law is, is something that a guy or a girl made up to try and describe what they were observing to try and make sure that all the facts fit and for millennia, the facts have not fit. [09:10.7]

And science continues to adapt its views because it recognizes at some level that our intellect and reason is will always fall short because there's always going to be more things to discover. There are going to be more things that don't fit into a theory and this constant push to find some grand unifying theory of existence that seemed to be going so well for a while. And then quantum mechanics shows up and all these other things show up just started to fall apart as the recognition of all these different variables that are at a level of intelligence far beyond what we're at least at the present moment, really capable of integrating. And yet we still sit there and like, say that things have to make sense in order for it to work, that the universe has to buy abide by human law, instead of humans abiding by universal law, if there is indeed such a thing. [10:01.4]

And so our view, we look at the people who are like, no, the universe will provide. And we say, that's the dumbest thing ever, because we think that that means being passive, being dumb, just being like a punching dummy or a pin cushion and allowing all of life to just trample over us and run us over. And I would put to you that that is not a fair representation of what that view means. Now in graduate school, I went through some philosophy classes and some other things. And in the training of this, most people don't realize this is that when you're busy debating another person, it isn't, it isn't some grand point for you. If you manage to debunk another person's theory, by presenting it in the worst possible light, they call it a straw man argument. You know, you’re like, Oh, here's my view and other people think this and you totally mischaracterize what they think. And then that makes it really easy to knock over. And then you go knock it over and it feels like a win to you when it's not, it's not actually a win. The best thing that you can do for your own point of view is to find the best argument for the other side. [11:06.5]

And then find a hole in that argument. Because if you can find a hole in the best argument for the other side, then it stands to reason that all the other arguments would fall apart. And so when you're looking at the quote unquote hippie view, I want you to look at it and consider that that's not the best characterization of it. It isn't just sit there and let the world go and let everything fall apart or anything like that. People can do that for sure if they adhere to that point of view, but that isn't necessarily what is entailed in that point of view. Now, from the other side, we have the logical people that are busy here going like, no, we have to go out, we have to attack and we have to solve the problem. This is notoriously difficult. And from the other side, you look at somebody who doesn't have all the data could never possibly have all the data, I mean, think it. [11:53.4]

Life isn't this weird black and white thing where it's like, well, there's only ever one cause there's only ever one problem. It's this massive cocktail of a ton of different influences that are creating moment by moment, a whole series of situations. And we're saying, I don't want that situation anymore. And we are in resistance to life itself. We say life is unfolding, but I don't want life to unfold that way. And so we necessarily start saying, no, no life here, no life, there are no life here, no life there. And we start to cage ourselves into this rigid box of rules, regulations, boundaries, and expectations that bring us to a point where life becomes this frantic need to control. And it feels like control is the way out, that if I could just control it, for instance, with emotions, like our choose your own emotion program that we have in the beginning, we're showing people that they have a choice in how their emotions function, but it's very real that you don't have a, you don't have a complete choice in how your body creates emotion. [12:51.3]

You don't necessarily always have a choice in the fact that an emotion shows up. You don't have control in that way. You do have a say in how you experience that. So there is some level of control, but not at the level that most people want. In marriage relationships, for instance, we, there's tons of talk around boundaries and I've moved. There's a whole episode on this, you know, go back and listen to that one, there's tons of talk around boundaries and that's a level of control. We say, look, I am going to love you on these terms and conditions. And if you break these terms and conditions, then I get the chance to like either shame you or guilt you or make you feel bad as is the case with some marriages or divorce you or go and exact revenge by having an affair or, or take it out on other people or bad mouth you to my friends or whatever else it is. [13:40.2]

We are in an attempt to control the situation so that we can feel okay. We put boundaries and limitations on things inside of relationships. If you think about religion in one sense, what is it? I am so helpless about death. You and I death, as far as we can tell is a very imminent thing. Whatever that transition is, whatever happens beyond it's everywhere. And our society has been very good at trying to deny that, to control that to our society. Human kind. I mean, the search for the elixir of life has been around for eons, right? I mean, ever since humans have been around, basically, we're looking for immortality and we're looking to defy death and religion in some ways, and I'm not saying it's true or not true or bad or, or good or anything like that, that you need to have one or don't, I'm just saying, if you look at it from one particular lens, it is nothing more than an attempt to have some certainty and control over an outcome to say, I can't control death. I can't control everything in this life, but if I do some certain things, then I can control what happens in the next life. [14:45.2]

And that that level of need to control comes out of fear almost all the time. Probably not all the time, the need to control I would say all the time out of fear. The need, the desire to create a positive circumstance doesn't always come out of fear, I'd say, but nowadays, from what I've seen, it's over 90% of the time, probably over 95 to 99% of the time it's coming out of fear, this need to control. And we don't realize that everything that we think we can do control is an illusion. It's a way that we're looking at what's happening and a story we're telling ourselves saying, Hey, I caused that. And I am the cause of that without really knowing what this I is, that's causing it and what the, that is. We were creating these stories and telling ourselves, look, I I'm in control here. I'm controlling my car, right? You're controlling your car. You're driving down the road and then the tire blows where you in control of that. Well, I can do certain things to mitigate it. Yes you can. But you can't say that there's never going to be a nail on the road. You're driving down the car and the timing belt breaks. Well, can you be in control of that? Well, sort of you can do things to make sure that the time he builds in good condition, but you can't control whether or not something weird happens. And it suddenly snaps. [15:54.9]

You can't control whether something like I was driving across, down, but around point of the mountain near Salt Lake One time, years ago, we were driving back home from visiting my grandmother. And as we came around, this huge gust of wind came across from Geneva rock and a box flew across the highway and shattered the back window where our oldest son was sitting there sleeping in his car seat. And he was just, I don't know, a year or two old. So there's all these shattered glass in his thing. We pulled over to the side of the, could I control that? Well, you can check the weather and you can make sure that you're not incurring any risk. And this is the way that it goes, is that there becomes this hyper awareness around risk and danger and everything that's lurking around and a person then starts to kind of corral themselves into their prison cell, much like the story I told of the King who had his guard and the beggar was making fun of him. some episodes ago. [16:48.1]

This fear produces a need to control and the more that you try to control things, all that happens is that you end up controlling yourself right out of life. And I have seen this over and over again inside of pornography addiction, especially with a lot of our clients and a lot of the people that we've worked with and seen you see the women don't have any control over the guy they don't, and that is scary for them. So they, many of them start to micromanage the kids and micromanage the household and trying to exert control in whatever way they can. A great many of them say, no, you need to step up and you need to start to create some boundaries and expectations. And then you stick to those boundaries. So he knows that that's the case. And all they're doing is exerting a level of control because their life is out of their hands. Especially if they have beliefs that take the family into the next life, it's even more scary. And the guys on that hand, they're so afraid of pornography and they're so afraid of everything else that what they do is they go in, they control themselves with internet filters, or they control themselves as programs and accountability buddies and everything else as an attempt to control this thing that is in them. [17:50.1]

And the hippie on the other side is looking at it going, look, it is a very real thing that's rising in you. And if you will simply allow it to be real and it will simply allow it to be seen for what it is, the solution one, most of it will work itself out. And two, whatever the solution is will eventually present itself. And you can just simply do that. But the person who's like, no, but I need it done now because they're so afraid. They're so afraid that they continue to perpetuate the illusion that they have control. Because that illusion, that fantasy, that dream, that they're creating is the very thing that is trying, that is giving them some solace and some comfort in the fact from the fact that life is presenting to them in a way that they didn't expect that they didn't want and that they don't know how to handle. They don't think they're capable of, and that they don't think is right. And that they've judged as horrible and wrong. And because of that fear, because of that fear control is the natural fantasy to go into the natural dream state. They don't want to wake up from their dream. They just want a better dream, right? So they dream a dream of control. [18:55.3]

But in reality control itself is to a large extent, not like social, not like, Oh yeah, I'm in control of the car. I'm steering it that way. But I mean, on an existential level control is just an illusion. And as that dissipates, as you begin to see through it, fear can show up. But the reason we're looking for control is just because of fear. [19:17.3]

If you or someone you know is looking to drop the F-bomb of “Freedom” in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or wants some help doing it. Head on over to thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call so we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. [19:46.3]

So if you think back over the problems or the struggles or the things that are going on in your life, and you're like, look, I can't control my emotions. I'm in a constant panic attack. What is a panic attack, but a feeling that you, you're not in control, that something else is dangerous and it's around you and it's going to die and there's nothing you can do about it. And so you're constantly looking around at everything, trying to find one, some way that you can control and find safety and comfort. What about depression? Well, depression is like; I'm not in control of this. Everything's against me. It's this notion and this feeling and this belief around the world. And in order to cope with our beliefs around the world that are producing this kind of fear, we create another belief around control instead of dissipating the original one in the first place. [20:38.0]

So then what I'm talking about, the eliminating the root cause I'm not talking about conquering it or turning into a fight or anything else like that. I'm simply talking about the belief that created the fear and the mayhem in the first place to simply dissipate. And when you do that, then there's no longer this weird battle between, Oh, I need to control. Oh, I have to allow. Cause it's not just sit there and let life run you over. No, where is it? Oh, sit there and try and go and accomplish everything and conquer the world and dominate. But it's rather a simply life comes up. And if you look at it and see it for what it is, you can take action, but not action from fear because of the dream of fear dissipates. And so the question is to start to ask yourself, is this like last week, well, what if I'm wrong here? That same question this week, start to ask yourself, what if I'm wrong here? What if this isn't the end? What if I won't always be with this? Right? Really start to question the dream. That's creating the fear and the person in the first place. Why am I afraid? Where is this fear coming from? Do I actually need to control this thing? What if I'm wrong? [21:44.6]

So that you don't have to continually work to always be in control of everything. Because the people I've seen who lived their lives, that way they grow up, their bodies get exceptionally stiff and rigid. They become more and more mentally and ideologically reactive to people there, they become more judgmental. They are very, very much more fear-based and very much more secluded. And they don't open up to the wider community, but they continue to close themselves off until they're living in their own little world. That is what safety brings. [22:14.9]

Final story. As I was coming out of addictive behaviors and a lot of this misery and depression and suicidal tendencies, I sat on the roof day in and day out watching the sunset. Now this is a place where you're exposed, right? You're on the roof potential to fall. Sure, you're exposed to the sun's rays. There's no real shade where I was sitting, and so I'm just out there. The whole neighborhood can see the weirdo on the roof, right? Admittedly, there are other places you can watch a sunset, but I liked the roof. And from that vantage point, I would look down and I would see all these people drive in into the little boxes called cars and they'd come home from work and they'd come home from what their errands or anything else. And they drive in, in their little car boxes and then they get out of their box and they'd grab whatever other boxes they had. And they'd go into their bigger boxes called houses. And those houses are there to protect them against the things that they can't control against the elements, heat and cold against the weather, you know, rain and snow and hail. [23:19.6]

And in Arizona, haboob those grand dusk or dust storms like in Hidalgo. So cool and also very, very dusty. And there to protect them from prying neighbors so that they can have, you know, you want a private shower, so these walls are there. These various rooms and boxes inside of these boxes called houses all there to create a sense of safety and security. These boxes had security systems and alarms locks and things to keep the world out, to keep reality out, to keep life out in many ways. And I'm not talking about owning a house as a, as a vice, by any stretch of the imagination. So don't go there, right. But in many ways, why does a person build a house? Well, obviously they feel like they need more shelter than, than life is providing. And so they're going and taking action to do it. Is that bad? No, not at all. Person discovers that a cave is a nice place to hang out under a storm. Sweet caves not all, all the way around, always around where I like to venture. So what if I built my own cave? Hmm, that's intelligence. That's not the hippie sitting there going well, the storm came, just let it hit. [24:24.1]

And that's also not the guy who feels like he needs to conquer. It's someone who is actively looking at what the world is presenting and creating a positive solution out of it, a new expression of life, something to play in experience and then move on from. But I would watch these people go into their homes and then they would finally, in order to take, to like decompose decompress from the stresses of the day, then they would go into their story, into their houses and then they would sit on their couches and then they would turn on another box. The story box called the television. And that story box would produce a whole stream of things that their mind could grab onto so that they didn't have to sit there and deal with all the things that their bodies were telling them. And all the things that had happened through the day was just, I'm doing it to decompress. I am not vilifying television. I have watched television in my life. Please don't take that extreme. While watching television. These people would also pull out another box, a little phone and start to operate on that thing. [25:21.0]

And every series of every succession of boxes would continue to separate them from the life that was happening, both within them and outside of them, all of which was happening without their say cell and without their control. They weren't controlling their heartbeat; they weren't controlling how their lungs responded to the air outside. They weren't controlling how their liver responds to the food that is input into the intestines for digestion, they weren't responding to when they needed to go to the bathroom so much, unless it was really urgent, right? But they could have some say in it, but they couldn't have some say in whether their body was telling them they needed to go. They didn't have any control over that. They didn't really have any control over what their child's felt or thought or did to a certain extent, only on the external, like trying to force it to happen. They didn't have control over what the weather was going to be like. They didn’t have control over so much stuff. And in order to deny that and death and the possibility of death, we created all these boxes and shelters in order to get the illusion of control and still were devastated by it. [26:23.0]

So here, as I was looking at all this stuff, it started to break apart the sense that I needed to control everything. And for the first time I realized that if I died, there might be a few people who would be sad for a bit, but nothing would really ultimately change in the world. The sun would continue its course. the earth would continue to do its and life would be beautiful just as it has always been. And that started to dissipate some of the fears around what was going on. I get it, if you're struggling with depression or anxiety or addiction or trauma, and it's like a very real thing in your life, I get it. I've been there. And I work with people like that day in and day out. And if you want help, please schedule a call. Let's talk, let's figure out your situation. But I want you to know that there is more happening than just that in life. [27:12.6]

And as we open up and allow the grandeur of what life is in without the need to control it, something beautiful can happen. And I walked free of both addiction, suicidal thoughts, and tendencies, depression, pain, fear, and so many other things. Because I stopped trying to control it and instead I simply engaged with it and started interacting with life, embracing it as it came to the extent that I'm able, I'm not like a hundred percent on this and I invite you to do the same. So when you feel yourself trying to control things and force things, to be a certain way, take a step back. Ask yourself what if I don't need to control this? What if there's another option that's easier and simpler and you might be surprised what you discovered. [28:00.4]

And that's it for todays “Alive and Free Podcast.” If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from. And, while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice. [28:19.8]

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