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The Illusion of Control and Power

The Illusion of Control and Power

The illusion of control and power is a term coined by the American psychology professor Ellen Langer, the first woman to be tenured in psychology at Harvard university, studying different topics including mindfulness theory, decision-making and the illusion of control. The illusion of control occurs when a person overestimates his ability to do something that might be beyond his reach. If a person does something repeatedly in a specific manner, he probably thinks that now he has control over it. This is not entirely correct because he might have mastered doing it because of his own personal skills. However, he probably has no ultimate control over doing it and it’s the illusion that just got in his head and had him think that he has control over it. Power is indeed a strong word and it does exist, however, it’s usually abused and that’s what we’re tackling today; the abuse of power and its consequences. 

The Abuse Of Power And Its Consequences

As I just stated, power is a very powerful word and it’s a state of mind that most people like to feel and sometimes overfeel. And that’s the illusion of it. We certainly don’t have unlimited control over everything but some people are illusioned that they do. The term applies here when talking about power. As previously mentioned, power exists and many people use it, but many more abuse it as well. For example, if someone is a manager or a supervisor, he somehow has power over other employees. The abuse happens when he abuses his power when managing his team and he might even treat people outside of work the same exact way when he certainly shouldn’t. He should try and differentiate between people because outside of work, he’s a regular person not a manager. Abusing his power might result in destroying his career as well as affecting his relationships. 

Besides ruining one’s career, the abuse of power might also ruin one’s relationships. For instance, in a relationship, if your partner is over controlling, doesn’t listen to your perspective and always does what’s right from his/her own point of view,  you’ll probably consider it a toxic relationship and end it because it’s not healthy.  Another con of the abuse of power is that it might affect your personality in a very negative way. Power can flip a person’s personality 180 degrees. It can change you to a cruel selfish person who doesn’t consider anything but his own perspective. 

How To Overcome This Illusion 

Now that we’ve  explained how this abuse of power can affect anyone’s career, relationships and even his/her personality, we’ll walk you through how anyone can handle it and try and eliminate it. The first thing that anyone should do is trying to understand why he/she is abusing the power they have. Why am I doing this? What good does it do me? Is it really worth it? Starting from these questions, this person can come to realize that it is not really worth it. Some people say that it is a personality trait that some people have, others say it’s their zodiac signs and you never know which is correct. However, if you asked yourself these questions regardless of why you are doing it, you’ll start to realize the consequences of it and that it does nothing but ruin your future. The next step that you would want to start doing is listening. Instead of trying to control everything, try and listen to other people’s perspectives because you might actually like what they’re saying. So by listening and accepting others’ point of views, you’ll want to do so more often and that’s when you move to phase three, which is the actual change within you. It’s certainly hard to change in a short period of time, however, once it’s done, you’ll feel better about yourself. 

it’s not just people with control issues who would want to change, there are cases as already mentioned above where there are people dealing with controlling people. In this case, advice is what others should offer to those people with control issues. In psychology, there is no such thing as no one can change, that’s the psychiatrists’ basic job; working on changing people to their better selves. However, in real life, this might be difficult in many cases. When it comes to giving advice, there are 2 types of people; one who has the will to listen and change any bad trait or aspect in his personality. The second type usually doesn’t listen to anyone’s point view and  It’s rather arguing with him/her.  People consider the term control freak offensive, and it is. However, there are cases where a person might be a total control freak and he usually says he can’t help it. But that’s when he has to start working on himself. 

 After all, we all have flaws and bad traits. But we are the ones who choose whether to carry on doing what we are fully aware is not healthy or try and change to become the best versions of ourselves. So don’t let power or the illusion of it get in your head because it might ruin many aspects of your life. It’s never too late to change something within you even if it’s already in your head, you just have to put your mind to it.

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