How Does Control Work?

A quote came my way with no attribution. Perhaps it is very old and has come to be part of the fabric of life. A platitude. Nonetheless, in our time it is meaning.

“Control eventually leads to resistance and resistance to rebellion. The more you try to control people, the less control you get.”

If you know the source please send it to me.

Control is an illusion

There are two parts to it.

  1. Someone must believe they have it and have the right to exercise it
  2. Someone else must believe 1)

In the early going rule #2 will prevail but as time goes on, the cost to permit control weighs on people and they rebel. Have noticed how you must gradually reduce the rule set as teenagers prove themselves capable of managing their own lives? The same is true in society.

Control is an expression of an imbalance of power. Imbalances are necessary because people seldom agree on everything and choices must be made to benefit all.

How it should work

In most societies the ability to control remains, but the smart operators don’t use it.

A Cree chief once told me that, traditionally, he had absolute power in his community. “I could order Elmer to be killed.”

His wise example. “It is a strange power, though. You only have it if you don’t use it. It is like in your world, the man is the head of the house and the pedestrian has the right of way and they are both safe if they don’t try to prove it.”

Power and control should lead. They should influence, not demand.

The takeaway

Power  and control must be used sparingly and only when there is no other option or it will be taken away.

At the very least, when power and control must be used, it should only be until another solution can evolve.

It’s a leadership function. Wisdom denies the use of power.


I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email don@moneyfyi.com

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