InControl: A Systematic Approach to Taking Complete Control of Your Life and Careerby Reza Abraham
Being InControl means to do what you love, love who you are doing it with, love who you are doing it for, and love how you are doing it. We often feel pushed around and restricted by external factors, but with the InControl method, we can access our inner consciousness and choose to actively participate in our lives instead. To live InControl, we need to be fully responsible for you can control so you don’t have to apologize for what you can’t control.
You are in control of your destiny. One day or day one, you decide.
“Consciousness is everything that we experience.”
To truly be in control of yourself, you must gain awareness of your consciousness. Consciousness is at the core of being In Control. After all, consciousness is what determines every aspect of our lives. From our character to our friends to all the little decisions we make every day, we are directed by our inner beliefs and perceptions.
Your conscience has shaped your life - but it has also been shaped by it. We absorb information from our environment, learn from our decisions, and adapt our beliefs and habits accordingly. This means that you have quite a bit of control over your consciousness. It’s up to you to exercise it.
Take the practice of forgiveness, for example. It refers to consciously deciding to let go of resentment towards someone that has harmed you. Forgiveness has little impact on the other person - it may repair the relationship, it may not - but it allows the forgiver peace of mind and freedom from negativity. Each time you consciously forgive someone who has wronged you, you exercise your awareness and your conscience to your benefit.
Similarly, practicing humility helps you strengthen your conscience by pushing you to develop an awareness of yourself. If you can then channel your ego away from yourself and towards a bigger cause, you can accomplish anything in life.
Actions to take
Contentment, Consistency, Conversion
“People live in two ways: some are just going through life, and some are really growing through life.”
Contentment, Consistency, and Conversion are cornerstones to being In Control. Without them, life loses its meaning. When it comes to contentment a.k.a. happiness, there are three types of happiness: short-term pleasure, medium-term passion, and long-term purpose.
Pleasure is easy enough to obtain - watch a great movie, go to your favorite restaurant, etc. Passion is a little trickier to find but once we do, we’re in a state of flow, detached from our surroundings, simply enjoying the present moment. Purpose, which brings lasting happiness, is the hardest to achieve but certainly the most rewarding. To find our purpose, we need to believe in something more important than ourselves and get in touch with our inner spirit.
Consistency is key to lasting happiness. You may know what you want to do, but are you ready to put in the work, every single day? If you started in the wrong direction, did not prioritize your goal, or did not use an accountability system, you’re likely to procrastinate or commit to the wrong ideas.
By nature, consistency is a process. It starts with your cause, which gives you a reason to be consistent with your actions. Then, you need a catalyst, something to push you forward and hold you accountable. You need clarity on what exactly you need to do every day. You need to cleanse your personal space to calm your mind. Lastly, you need to ensure you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally capable and committed.
Conversion or growth, is the fruit of us achieving our fullest potential.
Each of us has an innate gift to explore, a talent to work on. Growth is not accidental or automatic, there are three key factors involved: a love of learning, resilience and a growth mindset.
Actions to take
Character & Communication
“Human potential can turn losses into wins and turn obstacles into achievements.”
What supports our ability to remain In Control? Our character is exceedingly important, and much of it is shaped in childhood, by the place we live in, the people we grew up with, and the community we were part of.
Positive character traits can help you achieve all your goals, while negative traits can ruin your life. As we get older, our character begins to feel set in stone, but change is always possible. We can start by understanding our character through our actions and being honest with ourselves about who we really are or who we want to be.
When we are pushed to our limits, we either shape up or ship out. This means the choice is ours - we can choose to overcome and recover from the negative experience instead of succumbing to it or we can become stronger through it, and reshape our character for the better.
The journey we go through is much more important than our destination. When we share our stories of adversity and listen to that of others, we can find common ground and be reminded that we’re not alone.
Master communicators have the ability to bring countless people together through their words. They follow three key principles: they keep the core message consistent across communications, they are sincere and authentic, and they keep it simple enough for anyone to understand.
Actions to take
Curiosity & Compass
Curiosity & Compass
“Wisdom comes from understanding, reflecting, trusting, and seeing yourself clearly.”
Embrace the unfamiliar and open yourself up to the possibility of experiencing discovery and joy. Curiosity, or rather, the intrinsic motivation to learn, is what drives our growth.
There are two main components of curiosity: aspiration, and the ability to fulfill it. When we follow our aspirations, we explore life willingly and without fear of judgment. We develop agile thinking, complex problem-solving, active listening, coaching, and probing skills naturally as we go forth with our curiosity, helping us turn our dreams into reality.
Every day, we make decisions that either bring us closer to our goals or further away from them. These decisions are rarely made objectively, rather, they’re influenced by a whole host of things: your upbringing, culture, education, mood, etc. This is why you can make all the “right” decisions and still not end up where you want to be - simply put, your sense of “right” is skewed.
When we feel overwhelmed by decisions and all the actions we need to take, it helps to reprioritize our goals based on the impact on our lives and the relative ease we need to accomplish them.
There are four main types of goals, ranked by priority:
Bingo goals: High impact goals but require low effort. For example, getting your finances in order.
Booster goals: Low impact goals and they’re easy to do. Accomplishing them creates momentum through instant gratification. For example, taking the stairs instead of the lift.
Breakthrough goals: High impact goals that require a high level of effort. Although they take a long time to accomplish, they’re worth it. For example, losing 20kg.
Badass goals: Low impact but high effort. Consider whether you should upgrade this goal to something more impactful, get it done to get it out of your mind, or if it can bring any small but necessary benefits to your life. For example, learning a new instrument will be hard at first, it can give you a sense of gratification once you master it, but it requires a long-term effort
Actions to take
Courage & Collaboration
“Success in every aspect of life and becoming the best is not accidental; it is intentional.”
Talking about our desires and aspirations is the easy part, but taking action to realize them is what differentiates success from failure.
Taking action requires courage. You have to be bold enough to put yourself out there, to widen your horizons and accept a new level of possibilities. Every one of us has hidden talents and abilities just waiting for us to activate them. We just need to find the courage to take the first step forward.
However, success doesn’t always depend on you alone. A team of selfish individuals will always lose to a team of cooperative ones. Many of us were raised and likely still live in a competitive environment where individualism is promoted, but all of us find faith and solace in the company of our loved ones. Our professional lives can be similarly fulfilling and meaningful. We just have to embrace the fact that humans are built to collaborate and complement one another.
Building teamwork and boosting collaboration doesn’t just meet our social needs, it allows us to pool our resources and achieve even greater heights than we could alone.
Rather than one person getting the biggest benefit and leaving the others behind, we can promote a culture where everyone is willing to sacrifice and grow together.
Actions to take
Connection & Competency
“Competencies and the meaning of perfection continue to evolve from generation to generation and will vary, but what remains constant is the pain one must endure going through the process.”
Charisma attracts people. It is a mix of inner and outer qualities that stimulates interest and attraction; it makes people feel like they’ve met you before but also like they want to know more about you. Most successful people have high levels of charisma - Barack and Michelle Obama, Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Jackie Chan, the Dalai Lama, and many more.
Put simply, charisma is the ability to form an instant connection with anyone. And the good news is, this powerful tool can be learned.
There are two types of popularity: status and likability. Although status is more noticeable, being likable has a much greater charismatic impact. However, being likable is also subjective; one person may like you while another dislikes you. So, focus on how much you like yourself - a more consistent measure - and charisma will follow.
Charisma has to be backed by competency for success in the long run. Competency and confidence are closely linked - the more competent you are, the more confident you feel. So, focus on gaining knowledge, honing your skill set, and knowing everything you need to in order to perform your best.
Mastering your profession and becoming the best in your field certainly won’t be easy. However, you have an advantage: you can learn from others who have already accomplished what you aspire to.
Actions to take
“You are who you are because of whom you spend most of your time with”
Our environment and companions shape our personalities. We form beliefs and opinions based on what we learn from our parents, siblings, teachers, and friends, but also from books, movies, and music.
Most of the negative beliefs we hold about ourselves come from the opinions of others. You may feel like you were born a certain way, or that you aren’t cut out for the things you desire. However, if you trace those beliefs back to their root, you’ll find that they aren’t founded in reality.
As children, we did not have much control over the people and situations we were exposed to. However, as adults, all the power is in our hands. We can choose what we want to get out of life and find the people who will get us there.
There are four types of people you’ll encounter in life:
- Positive-Positive: People who love you through every up and down without ever trying to control you.
- Positive-Negative: People who have been good and supportive up until a certain point. Either they outgrow us, or we outgrow them.
- Negative-Positive: People who take a bit of time to get to know us before they open up and show their true selves.
- Negative-Negative: People who are never willing to support and love you - they will control and manipulate you instead.
Actions to take
“A lot of money won’t necessarily make you happy, but no money definitely will make you unhappy”
Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but a lack of it will make many things impossible. Take Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for example. At every level, money is an integral aspect:
Physiological needs: Water, food, shelter, sleep, and clothing all cost money.
Safety needs: Countries with more stable economies are capable of providing their citizens better security in every way.
Love needs: Some family needs are financially correlated. For example, taking your family abroad for holiday or being able to afford better healthcare for them.
Esteem needs: People feel esteemed in two ways; by having nice things such as a fancy car or a luxurious home, or by fulfilling their responsibilities such as raising successful children or contributing to this world. In the first way, we are controlled by the power of money. In the second way, we are in control.
Self-actualization needs: You don’t need money at this level, however, you must satisfy your other needs before you can reach self-actualization.
Wealth is measured by much more than just money, in fact, true wealth is when you have money, time, happiness, and freedom of choice. It means designing a system that makes money work for you instead of wasting time and energy on activities where you only get paid for it. It means setting your life up so that even if you stop working, your income doesn’t stop.
Actions to take
“World Health Organization defined health as ‘the state of complete mental, social and physical well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Health is multidimensional and defined by many factors. Our body is the most tangible aspect, but our mind, emotions, and soul are equally important.
Being healthy means protecting and making the best of what we received when we were born. Even if we weren’t blessed with the gift of a healthy body, we can make the best we can with what we have. Getting quality sleep, maintaining physical health through diet and exercise, and practicing awareness of your emotions are the key steps here.
Better health is associated with better confidence and prosperity. For example, working on your body will help you improve your self-esteem and it can be a way of socializing too. However, as concepts of good health are being discussed more and more in the media, it is also important to fact-check and verify claims before believing them.
Generally, foods low in saturated and trans fats, sugar, syrup, sweeteners, and sodium are healthier for you. Other good foods include those high in fiber and vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folic acid, calcium, zinc, chromium, and iron (chia seeds, whole grains, oats, almonds, split peas).
Actions to take
“You are in full control of how you want to be remembered, what you want to contribute to this world, and how you will move humanity’s needle forward.”
You can contribute in a variety of ways. You could give back to your family, to your country, to our community and the next generation, to nature, and so on. Contribution brings joy to not only others but also yourself - but this joy is difficult to understand until you experience it.
When we contribute to something other than ourselves, it has a ripple effect. For example, we inspire one person, they may go on to achieve their life’s goals and help many others in the process.
To contribute is an essential human need and it will give your life meaning and purpose. A common preconceived notion is that you need to have money to contribute effectively, but your time, effort, ideas, determination, and purpose are all much more important.
Even small-scale contributions are valid - and they mean a lot to the people who you help. Encouraging a coworker who is about to give up, volunteering your time to teach or distribute food to the homeless, even planting a tree or donating a book to the library are all examples of how you can create a positive impact through small contributions.