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Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
Blogs about inhabiting this present moment

Possible Direct Control - Staying on the Playing Field

Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 16th 2013

hand checking boxes on whiteboardHave you ever wondered what possible control you have in this world? It is invaluable to recognize what you can and cannot directly control, change or affect. To effectively score on offense or defend on defense in the game of life, it does take knowing the boundary lines, thus "the playing field" of the game. To be off the playing field means that you simply don't contribute to the game, but remain on the sidelines of life. To stay on the playing field means you have the opportunity to contribute to the game of life. The former is called existing, the latter living. To what extent you exercise your option of taking the control you have is wholly up to you, it's your apparent choice!

Here IS what is on the playing field that is possible to directly change, control or effect:

Essentially all (99.9%) of what you SAY—your WORDS, with rare exceptions of neurological and speech challenges, epileptic seizures as well as extreme states of panic, fear and rage;

Essentially all (99.9%) of what you DO—your ACTIONS and BEHAVIORS, once again with the uncommon exceptions of violent crimes and the above; and

Everything (100%) concerning your ATTENTION, PERCEPTION, ATTITUDES AND INTENTIONS toward anything (conditioning can lower this, and some claim that given our uncontrollable neurology, we have no control of where we place our attention and our perceptions)

Essentially nothing (0%) of what you THINK and FEEL. The ego-mind has the illusion that you have a high degree of direct control over what you THINK and FEEL. Mental activity in the form of thoughts, ideas or inspirations and feelings simply come and go. We have essentially 100% direct control over what attention, energy and power we give these thoughts and feelings.

Here is what IS NOT on the playing field and not possible to directly change, control or effect:

All of what you THINK (100%), given that thoughts, ideas and inspirations come and go as they please. Our mind often wanders and can obsess over worries, fears or unconstructive ideas.

All of what you FEEL (100%), since no one can directly control their feelings. You can influence your feelings and other people's feelings by what you say, how you act and your attitudes. While you can certainly repress, suppress, resist, doubt and deny how you or another feels, this doesn't change the fact that there's no direct control of anyone's feelings. You can accept, listen and fully feel feelings through your body, receiving the messages and completely processing them to their release.

All of what OTHER PEOPLE SAY, DO, THINK, FEEL AND THEIR ATTENTION, PERCEPTION, ATTITUDES AND INTENTIONS, with the exception of crimes, kidnapping, run-ins and so on. Again, you can have influence, just no direct control. Given no control of our neurology, some include all of where we place our attention and our perceptions.

All (100%) of PRESENCE and BEING for you and everyone, although one can invite, court and welcome creating a space for Presence and Being to come forward.

Recognize there are only two ways to wander off this playing field:

  • Expecting you do have control, when in fact you don't; or
  • Expecting you don't have control, when in fact you do.

In either case you can immediately bring yourself back onto the playing field.

What possible control over you do you have? It is invaluable to recognize what control you have over yourself. To what extent you exercise your option of taking control of yourself and not letting anyone have control "over you?" It is wholly up to you.

Anything, anyone and any situation you can face, greet, meet and welcome has no control over you. Anything, anyone and any situation you are unable to face, greet, meet and welcome has control over you. Wherever, whoever and whatever you cannot be with "what is" has no control over you. Wherever, whoever and whatever you cannot be with "what is" has control over you. A tactic revealed is a tactic defused.


Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.

Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. is a seasoned clinician in private practice in Pleasanton, CA in the East San Francisco Bay area. Licensed as a psychologist in California since 1987 and in the field since 1976, he specializes in Presence-centered therapy principally with adults and couples. Presence-centered therapy is a conscious attuning to the richness of this present moment (sometimes called mindfulness or wakefulness) along with witnessing, that is, observing what the mind is up to now by looking from outside of it. His practice is centered upon inhabiting this present moment, witnessing and "buying out" of the ego-mind's unworkable patterns, desensitizing root emotional charges, and gaining effective tools to thrive in the world. He specializes in providing therapy for adults facing anxiety, significant stress, work issues, relationship challenges and depression as well as couples with marital issues, communication issues, self-defeating behavior, divorce mediation, co-parenting and pre-marital counseling. Core to his approach is installing, building and developing strong internal resources, an enhanced capacity to hold, bear and tolerate strong emotions, and highly adaptive tools to better thrive in the world.He can be reached directly through his website (featuring over 215 articles, 27 YouTube videos and pages upon pages of highly practical annotated resource links) or by email at . Dr. Friedman is available for business consulting, business training and executive coaching (detail on his home page).

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