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Follow Your Path: The Controllers

Hello loves!

It's been a hot minute since I last wrote a post here. Ironically, when I was trying to write a piece about the type of people who are 'Controllers' when it comes to living their life, I was lowkey feeling like my own life was a bit out of my control.

Next week, I'll get more into specifics about why I took a break, why it was necessary, and about everyone's favorite friend: burn-out. (I'm kidding obviously. Everybody hates burn-out).

But for today, I wanted to at least finish the series I had started a while ago, about the Riders of Life.

To give a quick recap on this series: when comparing life to a roller-coaster, with all the ups, downs, and loop de loops, I've noticed that there seems to be 3 broad categories of riders. I've covered the Enjoyers, which are the ones who view life with excitement and plunge into the unknown future like it's a fantasy quest. The second type are the Passengers. They're the relaxed, laid-back types who always seem to have maximum inner peace regardless of where life takes them.

Now finally, I am going to talk about the Controllers.

Controllers, in a summary, are the type of people who map out every moment of their day. Whether in calendar alerts or written down carefully in their trusty dayplanner, Controllers have a set goal or goals they want to achieve in their life, and they will do what they can to reach them.

When I've talked about the concept of Controllers with some friends and family, I noticed that a few have had a negative reaction to this type. Whether it's because they sound like an uptight version of your least favorite middle school teacher or because you see too much of yourself in them, the consensus was that the Controllers are way different from the other two types of Riders.

And sure that's fair. The other two types of riders may come across as more carefree or zen, or whatever you want to call it, but Controllers have their place and purpose too. And just like with the Enjoyers and Passengers, there is something to be learned from them:

Make a Plan.

Controllers almost always start every new endeavor with a plan. It can be detailed to the microsecond or just a bare bones outline, but it will still be a metaphorical map on where a Controller wants to go in life and what they must do to get there. They know the importance of preparedness, and act accordingly.

From my own experience, I love a good plan. But I don't love needing one. Especially when it seems like some of my peers just stumble into their goals (side note: this is usually most often the case on success stories shown on social media. Emphasis on the social media part. AKA there was definitely a lot more work happening behind the scenes than people may think).

The part of me that wants to throw caution to the wind and struggles against feeling confined by a set deadline, life-plan or goal always conflicts with the part of me that needs to feel some semblance of direction and knowing what the f*ck I'm doing with my life. It's taken many, many years (& a lot of guidance from my cool therapist) to finally start understanding how these two sides of myself can actually coexist. As a matter of fact, it was by making a plan that I finally figured out how to put myself in a life direction while not feeling claustrophobic or trapped.

Stay the Course.

I know the riders of life takes inspiration from a roller-coaster ride, but I just got back from the beach so I'm going to switch metaphor gears for a second.

Imagine you're on a boat, and you're trying to get from Island A to Island B. You have your trusty map, enough supplies, maybe external encouragement in the form of a friendly seagull and in this instance all the necessary sailing knowledge to not capsize. The journey may be far or short, have a set time constraint or no deadline at all, but either way you have to get to Island B.

You're setting off from Island A, confident in your ability to reach your destination. But then your friend waves you over to their ship to see a cool shell or fish they found. You stop, delay, then start again- and then your phone rings because your parents wanted to check in on how your voyage is going. You stop, delay, start again- then your sail rips. Frustrated, you turn right back around to Island A, tie off your boat, and tell yourself you'll just start again later.

But sometimes later doesn't come. And even when it does, you'll still have delays. Commitments to friends, family and work can force you to rearrange your plans. A metaphorical shark in the form of a bad grade or getting passed over on a job can rip the rudder off your ship (I recently learned that yes, actually, sharks can do that & it's terrifying).

Regardless of what it is- you will have delays. You'll get blown around by the winds of life that don't care about your plan or timeline, and yeah it sucks. But don't give up. No matter how long a delay can feel or how futile it seems, Controllers know that the only way to get where they want to be is to keep trying. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

Don't Wait For Life to Happen: Take Charge Now.

The final thing we can learn from Controllers is their ability to take control of their own life. When they have made their plans, they don't wait for permission or the 'right time' to start pursuing their dreams. They just start.

Much like what I said in the previous section, there will never be a perfect time to start. There will never be the perfect day, weather, or inner motivation to jump into the roller-coaster and start living your life. Every day will have some delay or hang up that will make it less than perfect, and you can either grit your teeth, adapt and charge forward or you can wait around on the loading dock and let life pass by without you.

Life is unpredictable and messy and out of our control, and that's exactly what the Controllers teach us.

Controllers know that any number of unpredictable things can happen that can upset their plans or catch them off guard. But they don't let that hold them down. Instead, they plan and control the things they are capable of controlling- themselves- and adjust accordingly.

Perhaps you were or are in a similar place where I was a few weeks ago. Life feels like it's rushing by without you and the timeline for achieving your goals is ticking away; yet you feel paralyzed. You want to move forward, but you can't. You keep telling yourself you'll try again next time, when classes settle down, when you finally get that raise or whatever it is, but you know you're just delaying.

Next time will have it's own delays, that's just how life is.

So instead, take a deep breath, maybe take a break, and then try following the steps of the Controller.

First, make a plan. Promise yourself you'll stay on course. And then get going.

For every step of the way, I'll be here rooting you on.

You've got this.

Love y'all!

(If you want to learn about the other Riders of Life types, click here!)

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