Are you Really in Control of your Choices

The Law of Consequences (link) in NLP states that if we assume total responsibility for our experience in our lives, we are more likely to look inwards for the answers and therefor not blame external conditions. This allows us to drop the victim position and to be Empowered about our choices and our action.

The challenge is that unless you are trained in NLP, you may incorrectly assign responsibility to what you believe to be external factors when in fact they are internal factors. Therefore you may think something is within your control when it is not, or worse – think that something is not in your control when it is!

Let’s take Goal Setting as an example. Most people believe that the reason they can’t achieve their goals, is because their success depends on Luck, or the economy, or the current market conditions. These are all example of what people believe to be external factors or external forces.

While all these look like external factors, this is not actually true because all of these three example are very strongly influenced by cognitive biases. Luck, The Economy and Current Market Conditions are all abstract concepts, and so based on your direct sensory experience today, you can blame these “external factors”, where the reality is that in any situation, you will find exceptions to bad luck, you will find exceptions to the average economic performance or market performance – the outliers.

The really big challenge is recognising that when you believe that these abstract concepts are “external factors”, you give your “reasons” why you won’t or can’t be successful. In NLP we would reframe these “reasons” as excuses, and explore how we can overcome these excuses and take action that gives real tangible results.

You are really asking, “Is this really under my control or not?”

In most cases, you actually can in fact control your destiny, or at least influence it.

A contrary example

Let me give you a different contrary example:

We started a YouTube channel very recently, and have set some goals related to this channel.

However, when I speak with many Content Creators about their YouTube Channel goals, often they will focus on external factors that are not within their control, like the following example:

“I’m going to set a goal of growing my channel to 500 subscribers by the end of the year”.

Now, that goal is measurable and is time based, but it’s not well formed, it’s not a good goal to have, since you can’t control the number of people who subscribe to your channel.

You can influence it, but you can’t control it, therefore the number of subscribers on your channel is an external factor. What you can do is create the best content that allows more people to subscribe to your channel!

What you can control is the number of videos you release per week, the quality of the video, the audio quality, your lighting, which camera you choose to use.

You can control what you say to camera and how you say it. You can control your emotional state and you enthusiasm and energy in the moment. You can can control how many live streams you do every week or if you do any livestreams at all. You can control all those factors. You can control the information that you share on that channel.

However, you can’t control the number of subscribers. All you can really do is influence those subscribers to like and subscribe to your channel.

(As a gentle reminder, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here, this will open a new window )

This is an example where people set goals that are outside of their control while simultaneously thinking it’s actually within their control. The result is that people start to chasing numbers, they start chasing the YouTube algorithm on how to get more followers, how to get more subscribers, how to get more people to join my my social media channels, which is the wrong approach. Tracking numbers of followers that are outside your control get you to focus on the wrong metrics.

On places like Instagram, tick tock or twitter you can pay people to become followers but that’s a pointless activity, because while you are reaching your goal of a certain number of subscribers, it doesn’t help you get your message out to more people. It doesn’t help you to to reach your audience. How is that going to help you to impact people? How is that going to get your message in front of people who need to hear it?

This comes down to recognizing there are certain things that you can control and certain things that you can’t.

Try this as an exercise:

  1. Make a list of the things you want
  2. Write down what are the things that you think you can’t control
  3. Then really question each excuse, is this something that is really within your control, or within your influence
  4. Go do that.

This is one of the most powerful ways of dealing with uncertainty.

This Blog Post was influence on an clip from a recent YouTube Livestream

Watch the complete clip here: