A Thinking Man

What Men May Want to Know


By Don Wright

I’m a strange one. Some of my most vivid memories from childhood are not from parents, grandparents, places visited or fun times with friends. They are of taking things apart, making things from the parts, then experimenting with the results. Mini table saws, innumerable flying things, wires, gears, batteries, axles and pulleys.

In the old movies, I commiserated with the mad scientist locked behind the steel door – not so much the beautiful and pleading woman on the outside.

But, this article is about control and the different types of control we subject each other to daily. Since we’ve agreed to live in a society, we’ve allowed ourselves to be controlled to such a degree that seeing or having an exceptional human spirit is the exception instead of the norm.

Laws, restrictions, responsibilities. Schools, jobs and religions. All seek to control us at society’s level. Most of us are numb to these and more. Every society has it’s controls.

However, our inherent need to control one another is what aggravated this young scientist. You need to eat this, wash that, don’t burn the house down. Controlling children is a parent’s responsibility. But it’s in our very nature as blossoming spirits is to resist control. All parents will attest to this.

However, as children, we don’t know what we don’t know. If the parents are somewhat enlightened, they’re protecting innocence and not limiting spirits. But if the parent(s) themselves are struggling, the children could be afflicted the rest of their life. Most of the unfortunate situations we’re made aware of in our world can be tracked down to parenting or mentoring deficiencies.

Controlling, limiting or squashing another’s spirit is one of the most dehumanizing things we do to each other. Granted, there are millions of exceptional people out there doing brilliant things, living almost unimaginable lives. But there are many more that have had their spirit crushed and are simply existing.

I’ve been keenly aware of this most of my life. I know how important it is. A very telling point in my awakening came from a business opportunity. Due to my strangeness, I’ve spent most of my life as a problem solver. Having this ability usually placed me in positions of controlling people, processes and products. And, as life happened, I found myself in architectural woodworking at a large commercial manufacturing plant overseeing their “production” division.

This company lost its general manager and I decided to offer myself for the position, I was accepted. (thanks STG) During this transition I had a stark realization and I remember the exact thought – it wasn’t about me any longer.

Up till that point in my life it had been about my advancement. My learning. My abilities. What I was going to gain by doing or learning anything. I realized at that exact moment that the control that I’d subjected others to in the name of, “getting the job done,” was simply not going to work any longer. What’s more, not only was I not capable of “controlling” an operation of that size – I didn’t want to carry out our goals by that method. What seemed proper up to that point simply didn’t fit any longer. It didn’t “ring true” within.

If it wasn’t about me any longer, if must be about them.  It was clear to me that to truly have the success that was so elusive to the company, I had to empower instead of control.

Up until that time in my life, my knowledge was benefitting mostly me. But now, inasmuch as any person was willing, I systematically transferred, taught and delegated everything and anything I could. I gave them the tools to set themselves and the company free. And here’s the surprising part – it worked.

Our spirits are hungry. Our souls yearn for expanding. And as I tailored and mentored to each in ways that was respectful of their sovereignty, many had their spirits experience a degree of freedom that they never knew was available. The company continued to set production records for many years.

The take-away is this. In a society, we are all asked to play by the rules that we’ve agreed to. But in our personal and professional lives there is great leeway in how we see and treat each other. Our nature is to control one another – when we experience that happening to us it’s unfortunate. But subjecting others to our control is something that you will become increasingly aware of; aware of it in all of its myriad of disguises. Most all of them are ugly.

Don’t control, empower. You will be amazed. I guarantee it.




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