A personal control system produces desired feelings and behaviors. The system itself does not care about the outputs. It is programmed to do something and just does it, converting inputs to outputs using a feedback loop.
Do you have one? Yes, we all have one. The better question is, is yours producing something good and desirable?
Inputs are known, but are not controlled by the system. Outputs are unknown, but are a function of the system. They are completely under the system’s control. Applying this concept to our daily life, we can not control what happens to us, i.e. the inputs, however we do control how we respond, i.e. the outputs.
Now, let’s look at two types of outputs, compulsion and compassion:
- Compulsion is a strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act, especially one that is irrational or contrary to one’s will.
- Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
What is your personal control system producing more of? No matter your answer today, if you don’t like it, the good news is you can change it tomorrow by reprogramming your system.
If we let it, society will drive us compulsively. Advertising and peer pressure drive “must have it now” and “must keep up” feelings and behaviors. These are undesirable outputs.
To see that, you must calm your mind and slow down your daily routine. It’s equivalent to an athlete who’s performing at their peak whereby “the game slows down”. They’re able to see things develop that others can not. Their vision is enhanced. It’s like the action is in slow motion.
Applying this to daily life will enable you to see many more moments of compassion, which is a desirable behavior. Compassionate energy multiplies, whereas compulsive energy subtracts.
Compassion is synergistic. Compulsion is a zero-sum game.
You get to choose what your personal control system produces. Choose wisely.