(TheCuriousMe Note: A book review that I’ve done for one of my Ph D classes. It’s pretty interesting… You might wanna check it out? ;))
Control theory is a theory of human motivation and behavior. It is based on the belief that motivation comes from within us.
The following are the 5 basic needs which are considered powerful forces that drive us:
(1) the need to survive and reproduce;
(2) the need to belong – to love, share and cooperate;
(3) the need for power;
(4) the need for freedom; and
(5) the need for fun.
The book, Control Theory – A New Explanation of How We Control Our Lives, written by Dr. William Glasser gives emphasis on keeping effective control of our lives through control theory.
It also presented important aspects in order to help us make more effective choices than the painful, ineffective ones that too many of us now make as we attempt to satisfy powerful and unrelenting needs within us. One significant aspect that caught my attention is on dealing with predicaments. Dr. Glasser presented in the book that total behavior should be considered.
The four components that make up total behavior are the following:
(1) Doing (or active behaviors).
It may be walking or talking, which means voluntarily moving all or some part of our bodies in some way that we want to move it;
It refers to voluntarily generating thoughts or involuntarily generating thoughts as in dreams;
It can be anger and joy, which means we have the ability to generate a wide variety of feelings, both pleasurable and painful, just as we initiate thoughts and actions; and
It might be sweating or clenching our fists, which mean the ability to generate the voluntary and involuntary body mechanisms involved in all we do, think and feel.
Most of the time when we experience problems, we tend to concentrate more on one aspect of behavior which is feeling. We usually mop around, be miserable, and feel pathetic all the time. The four reasons why we choose suffering as discussed in the book are as follows:
(1) To keep anger under control;
(2) To get others to help us;
(3) To excuse our unwillingness to do something more effective; and
(4) To gain powerful control.
One should bear in mind that conflict is an inevitable part of life and is always difficult to resolve. What may help us is to keep in mind that we will not help ourselves or anyone else involved in a conflict if we choose to immobilize ourselves with pain or disability.
It clearly points out that control theory not only gives us the ability to recognize that we choose our behavior and that we be making bad choices, but also clearly states that as much as we may want someone to change, all we can do is attempt to gain better control over our own lives. We have no power to make others do, think, or feel anything that they believe does not satisfy them.
However, it would have been great if the book just provided a bird’s eye view on the chemical control and discuss the detailed version in another book. At some point, the reader might get lost and think that he is already reading a different book.
All the same, the book presented good points and cited real life examples in a way that helps us stop for a while and ponder on things. It’s a good wake up call.
The following are two important concepts that should be kept in mind in control theory:
(1) Your picture are yours.
You put them in and you can exchange them, remove them, and add new pictures. You can also choose to concentrate on the ones you can satisfy, and share a little time and energy to those you can’t appease; and
(2) Whether you directly choose a behavior, such as depressing, or make an indirect creative choice, such as psychosomatic illness, you always have the option to do or think something more satisfying.
You have to breathe, but that is all you absolutely must do. The rest of what you select is up to you whether you “feel” like it or not.
Those few members of deprived who do beat the odds and take effective control of their lives learn early not to spend much energy blaming the world for their own predicament. When you learn to put control theory to work in your life, you will spend much your energy attacking the problem, not blaming it. :p
It’s tough but I’m doing my best to practice this. It would certainly help lessen the burned out feeling.