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Episode 23 — The Siren Song of Control

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About this episode

Do you ever fantasize about how much better your life and career would be if you could control everything in your world? An occasional idle fantasy about control is a diversion. But becoming consumed with control is rarely successful — and always stressful. In this episode we will discuss a different approach used by many successful people to get better results at a lower cost.

Hosted by Bitesize Bio’s own Dr. Nick Oswald featuring Kenneth Vogt of Vera Claritas.

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This is an automated transcript and may not be 100% accurate.

Outro (00:08):
This is The Happy Scientist podcast. Each episode is designed to make you more focused, more productive, and more satisfied in the lab. You can find us online at Your hosts are Kenneth Vogt, founder of the executive coaching firm Vera Claritas and Dr. Nick Oswald, PhD by a scientist and founder Bitesize Bio.

Nick Oswald (00:38):
Hello and welcome to The Happy Scientist podcast from Bitesize Bio. If you want to become a happier, healthier, and more productive scientist, you are in the right place. I’m Nick Oswald the founder of And with me is the driving force of this podcast, Mr. Kenneth Vogt, I’ve worked with Ken now for over seven years with him as my business mentor and colleague, and I knew that his expertise could help scientists. And that’s why we’re here. In these sessions we’ll hear mostly from Ken on principles that will help shape you for a happier and more successful career along the way. I’ll pitch in with points from my personal experience as a scientist, and from working with Ken. Today, we will be discussing the siren song of control. Okay. Ken, let’s hear about it.

Kenneth Vogt (01:25):
Okay. So I know many of you out there have this fantasy. If only I could just control everything. If I could control everything, I could stop all the stupid stuff that’s happening and all I could, I could repair all the problems and I could get rid of all the laziness and we could get something done around here. That is the dream, at least for many people. And here’s the thing that fantasy never works out. You never actually get that kind of total control. It never happens. And so you’ve got to ask yourself, what is it that you imagined that control would get you? Now? You may not like it the way it is without you having total control, but it’s total control actually going to change anything for the better. That’s the question you gotta answer. I submit to you that not only won’t it get better, it’ll get worse and that you need a fantasy upgrade.

Kenneth Vogt (02:33):
If we’re going to dream about things, this is not the one you should be dreaming about. You can do better now, right off the top. We can see some real problems with being controlling. That is of having to having to have everything done your way. First off control inhibits discovery. It means anytime, something new becomes available that you don’t know about all it can’t be there because you to be in control. You’ve decided you’ve already decided how it’s going to be. You’ve already set all of the barriers and all of the boundaries in that way. There’s no openness for, Hey, have we thought about this? Or what about doing something in this new way? It gets in the way of a lot of stuff. One thing you have to think about, especially in, in the business of science is that you’re, you’re in it to get results.

Kenneth Vogt (03:31):
Now I know we’ve talked in the past and Nick has got very strong feelings about how it’s not just about results, but results are an important part of, of what you do. And results are more important than the methods you use to get those results. Now, I realise that some of you, we have a little, little alarm going off of like, well, blah, blah, blah. That sounds like the end justifies the means. And that’s not what I mean. You know, you still have to be ethical about what you do, but if you’re so fixated and we have to do it this way, the method matters rather than the result. And even if you’re not targeting a specific result, you aren’t targeting getting a true result. You do care that the outcome is valid and the outcome is far more important than the method attached to the outcome.

Kenneth Vogt (04:25):
And often there are easier ways, faster ways, less expensive, ways, less you know, personnel intensive ways or equipment intensive ways to get a result. Well, you don’t want to cut yourself off from that just because we’ve always done it this way, or I have a favorite way. You want to give yourself some options. Having control will actually cut you off from options or having total control. That is another thing is people often want control because they think that’s how I’ll get credit for what’s going on. But honestly, credit is overrated. You’re not gonna, you’re not going to succeed in your career. If your total focus is constantly about getting attention on me, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. People will stop helping you. They don’t want to be a part of that. They don’t want to have credit stolen from them. And I don’t just mean taken from them.

Kenneth Vogt (05:24):
Cause sometimes, you know, there’s a setting and somebody’s going to get credit and others aren’t and that’s fine. And we all have been in those situations where we realised, look, I wasn’t the star in this situation. I just helped. And so let the person who really, really put in the work, get, get the credit humility in the case like that actually pays dividends. It gets other people interested in helping you because you help them not realize there are some people, it doesn’t matter how much you help them. They’ll never help you. But honestly, if we look around, that’s not the case that most of our colleagues, most of our colleagues, if we’re good to them, they’re going to reciprocate. And that can really matter. Cause sometimes not only do you need their support, you might need their protection. Maybe, you know, when, when it comes down to it to have somebody have your back or have a group of people have your back is far better than you have had having total control over things.

Kenneth Vogt (06:24):
So instead of trying to have control of everything, think about this. What if you built up others? What if you created supporters? What if you allowed them to offer you protection? What you get out of that is it is an implied power. You’re somebody that people care about and see, people want to raise up and people want to go to now you become the expert that can be relied upon. Now you become the go-to person. Being the being the go-to person is the fantasy of all the control freaks out there. They’re it’s but they don’t, you’re not gonna get it by demanding that you have total control over everything. You will get that, that implied power from supporting others and from being a leader rather than just, you know, a jail warden.

Kenneth Vogt (07:26):
So there’s some, there’s some other things too, that, that that pop up here, like a downside of attempting to control others, that others will react to that negatively. You’ll get resentment back from them. Sometimes it’ll go so far as to get revulsion from them. And at the end of the day, it might turn into a counter attack. It’s like, you try to push to control them. Well watch this. I’m going to control you. Now there’s the nightmare for the person that is seeking control all the time. I want to be clear here. I’m not saying that you’re a bad person that you want to be in control of things. Things being out of control is understandably bad. It’s not good for anyone. If there’s chaos all the time and in your field, what you are doing is you are you are carving out a little, a little microcosm of non chaos.

Kenneth Vogt (08:20):
You’re, you’re stepping away from, from the chaotic mess and saying here’s something orderly. That makes sense. Here’s something that we can learn. Here’s something that we can use. That’s stable and reliable and we can count on. And, and those are, yeah, those are great things. That’s what you want out of this. So whether it’s it’s control of an experiment and I mean, just it’s you and you and your equipment and, and, and your organism or it’s control of a situation where you have a whole staff of people working on something, the way to approach that is not to be that person. Who’s got their knee on everyone’s neck, but it’s to be the person who is helpful and supportive and is willing to share credit and is willing to, in fact, to give credit to people when, when they stand out.

Kenneth Vogt (09:15):
Now, the downside of being controlling is what it does to all your finite resources it sucks, energy. It sucks energy out of you. It sucks energy at other people. It hurts your team. It hurts your, you know, everyone that you’re working with, it takes time to be controlling. Point controlling is being controlling is so time consuming, you have to keep monitoring and remonitoring and remonitoring and you can’t trust any system and you gotta, you can’t trust any people. So you’re constantly going back over everything. It takes way too much time. Finally, it takes brain cycles. You will wear yourself out, trying to control everything. It, you can’t be creative. You can’t be you can’t be effective if you are taking a finite resource, which is your own mind and limiting it to how much of it is available to actually do productive work and is instead locked in these constant cycles of looking back to see that it’s in control to see that’s in control, see that it’s in control.

Kenneth Vogt (10:24):
And if it isn’t clear already, all of that attempt to control is creating stress, stress for you, stress for others. And I know for some folks, the notion of stress for others is something I would, I would love to give some consideration to that, except that I’m too worried about my own stress. So think about it. Even if you only thought about your own stress, you’d realize how much of a problem it is. If you get past that, if you get to where you’ve, you’ve opened up enough, enough empathy in your heart to think about others, you’re going to realize, Oh man, I am creating a mess and you might think, well, what’s the harm. You know, somebody’s gotta be in charge. Well, as, as we’ve detailed here, it can do a great deal of harm. It’ll, it’ll suck up resources. It, it will take away from other people and you’re going to be miserably unhappy with it. And it’s not going to help you advance in your career. People won’t like working with someone like that, you know, it’s, it’s just going to be a hard time for everyone. So I’ll, I’ll pause here for a minute before I talk about some solutions to this, but do you have anything else you’d like to say about the, about the problems that control creates Nick?

Nick Oswald (11:38):
Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, from my perspective being in control means that you think, you know, what is best and what the best outcome could be. And so you try to, you try to force that to, do you agree? Yeah. And so, so the real, so two areas that you talked about there, where that, that applies for scientists are, one in, in their experiment, you know, experiments that they do. It’s that classic thing of, again, of talk about it many times about, you want to get a result because you think that that will be the, you know, that’s, that’s what you expect or fit best with the theory that you have or something like that. And there is, or, you know, it’s not the way to do science, but that is the way that, you know, there’s a prevailing trend to “get results” and it’s in the brain that that’s how it should be done if you,

Nick Oswald (12:35):
But if you, if you do that and you, then you

Nick Oswald (12:38):
Risk biasing the experiment towards the outcome that you that you want, rather than just allowing it to see what would happen, or you make assumptions from the result, from the data that you get and you miss something, you know, that cared about this part of it. I mean, there are countless examples through the history of science where people have got results that they didn’t expect. And so, and they didn’t and, but they took the time to allow us to, to allow that to, to be themselves, to be aware of that, and then figure out what that meant and, and then act on it. If Alexander Fleming had picked out those pitcher dishes and saw the, you know, the result that led to the the the discovery of penicillin and he just thought, well, that’s weird. That’s not what I expected and threw it away.

Nick Oswald (13:37):
Then he then, you know, the world would be a different place. Maybe somebody else would have, would have invented it, but that he would not have made that discovery. And it’s having the openness to, and the what’s the word, the, the detachment to do you take control of asking the question properly, you know, setting up the experiment so its rigorous, scientifically rigorous, and it is, it’s technically correct. And then you let the experiment, tell you what the answer is and, and, and your opening. And that, that that’s one example of, for me, that’s a prime example of, in science, we’re scientists need to give up control, and a lot, again, there’s a tendency not to, so it’s a pressing need visits because there’s such pressure to get results. People tend not to do that, and it’s a pressing need in science for that to be addressed.

Nick Oswald (14:34):
I think the other thing you mentioned is about controlling other people. Again, if you are, if you’re, you know, we see this all the time and in the lab, I did anyway, you know, you have a PI who, a supervisor who tries to control his staff and make them do, or his underlings and trying to make them work in a specific way or what he risked is, as you said, it not only causes stress for him and the other person in the people under him, because he has to make them do what, you know, something that’s against the grain for them, or work in a way that’s against the grain for them. But you’re also missing out is allowing people to express themselves and to, and to, to allow their genius to come into play, you know, their abilities to come into play.

Nick Oswald (15:19):
If you just kind of make them into battery hens instead of free range, then you know, when you see that a lot. So for me, that’s two ways that science is, is, is hard production by by people wanting too much control. And on a personal level you know, that kind of, that kind of tightness, that kind of trying to make things in a certain way. Again, it goes back to what the foundation of this podcast is. It makes things less enjoyable and it makes things less productive. And that means that you you know, you make less progress.

Kenneth Vogt (16:02):
Sure. So here we are, we’ve been beating on poor control, but I know that some of you, you’re still thinking, you know, that’s all sounds well and good, but the fact is there’s some benefits to control and it, and there’s some necessity for control. We in fact, speak of there being controls on experiments. Am I supposed to not do that anymore? Well, of course not. And we’re not trying to take that away. Well, so let me give you a substitute and of something that is far better, and it’s has all the benefits of control, but it doesn’t have all of these terrible downsides. And that is take charge rather than take control. Now you may look at that and go, that’s just a synonym means the same thing, but it doesn’t mean the same thing. So I use the example of, of a boat. If you have a boat and you’re trying to be in control, well, here’s the best way to be in control of the boat.

Kenneth Vogt (17:08):
Don’t put it in the water. You can control it completely. Can’t do anything. It just it’ll just sit there. However, if you take charge of a boat, well, how do you take charge of a boat? You use a rudder, that’s it? You use that rudder, the rudder will help move the boat. And you’ll recognize that you’re in a boat. That’s going down a river. I’m not fighting the current. I’m using the current. Now sometimes let’s say if I want to go upstream against the current, well, I, you know, I still need my rudder because the stream is going to keep pushing me away, but I’m going to have to expend a lot of energy to go the stream. Whereas if I’m going to travel down the stream with a rudder, I have, if I, then I can take charge of this boat and I can go all over the place. And I have many options, whereas if I’m demanding control, and yet I put my boat in a river, I can’t, it can’t stay anywhere easily. Everything’s going to be fighting it all the time. So it, this, it’s just a mind shift of recognizing there’s a way to do this without putting the clamps on. So tight.

Kenneth Vogt (18:26):
One of the things that happens with, with control too is it’s, it’s telling you something about yourself and you’re just aching to be in control. It’s coveting,

Kenneth Vogt (18:36):
Coveting. Okay.

Kenneth Vogt (18:38):
And why would you do that? Why would you covet control? Why wouldn’t you wish? Why would you wish? Oh, I just wish I could just have control over everybody here and everything around here. Well, it can be an effort to avoid responsibility.

Kenneth Vogt (18:53):
You know,

Kenneth Vogt (18:53):
Taking charge means taking responsibility, both for the good and for the bad somebody that’s trying to control everything all the time. What are they trying to do? They’re trying to avoid bad outcomes, but not because they care about the bad outcome, but cant see how the bad outcome impacts them, how it makes them look, how it will impact their opportunities for, for growth or career advancement. It, it’s not taking charge, allows you to have both the good and the bad happen. A person who takes charge of something that went wrong, earns respect there. They earn trust somebody that is constantly trying to control everything. So nothing ever goes wrong that I get blamed for, but they’re not going to get that kind of, of a stature.

Kenneth Vogt (19:44):
I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where something went horribly wrong and you know, something big. And we watched someone step up and say, that was on my watch. I, I, I accept responsibility for this. And don’t you don’t, you have your respect for that person. Go up. You’re watching everybody else scrambling for cover and trying to find a way to blame somebody else. And somebody goes, this was me. I did this. I made this mistake. I dropped the ball. There won’t happen again. This is what I’ve learned from it. And this is how we’re going to go forward. Now, whether that’s somebody who is a peer or somebody who was an underling or someone who was a superior, especially in superiors, boy, you want to see that? I wonder if I could trust this guy or this, this, this gal to take care of things. Nothing’s going to go perfect in his world. Things are going to go wrong. Sometimes there’s going to be mistakes. I need to know there’s somebody there taking charge. Even when things go, that is a stature builder. That is, that gives you one of the things that somebody who was aching for control really wants is just the control. Doesn’t get them there.

Kenneth Vogt (21:03):
The other thing about this idea of, of gaining control is that it doesn’t absolve you from the bad you can’t after when some cause things will still go wrong. Even if you took total control, it doesn’t let you off the hook now. Well, I did everything I was supposed to, I follow the protocol perfectly and I made everybody else follow the protocol perfectly. Yeah. But something went wrong. So somebody has got to accept responsibility for that. And if you’re in denial of responsibility, if you’re saying I don’t have any responsibility, I’m not responsible for anything here. Well, okay. Then we’re not going to put you in, in, in charge of anything. We’re not going to give you responsibility. You don’t like responsibility. You don’t want responsibility. Well, that’s not much of a career advancer and, and frankly, it’s more fun when you’re responsible for things.

Kenneth Vogt (21:59):
When you have more sway over what’s going on, that’s, that’s where the real juice is in this. Now I know you’ve worked hard to get to the, this point in your career. That just your education was hard work to get to this point. But then you’ve put experience in, in, in the lab after that, you don’t want that to just be so that you get a paycheck at the end of the day. You know, you want that to be so that you get some satisfaction out of your life and work that you feel like you’re making a difference in a world. You want to, you want to be able to push things, push things out into the world that are gonna, that are gonna help mankind. Well, that you have to understand that there are, there are a lot of businesses where that is not a possibility. It’s not in the cards, you know, and I’m not taking away from anybody who’s in any other kind of field doing things. Because if we’re doing something commercial that somebody values they’ll pay for it. Well, you’re adding some value then otherwise they wouldn’t be paying for it. But here we’re talking about adding value to life or sometimes even saving life or creating life. That’s, that’s an amazing thing. So if you, if you really want to accomplish that, you got to get away from this control thinking and get more into the tape, take charge thinking.

Kenneth Vogt (23:22):
So I went out, looking in the literature to see what does the literature say about this? Does it, does it talk about what happens to people when they’re controlling versus when they take charge? And I found something interesting. I found the cure for this and the cure is self control so and there’ll be, there’ll be two studies. That’ll be in the, in the show notes on this. One of them is entitled. Yes, but are they happy effects of trait self-control effective well being and life satisfaction? The notion here is that it isn’t about controlling others or controlling circumstances. The fact is there’s the, the only thing you can actually for certain control is you self-control, it’s, it’s a novel notion. Now I realize that some people literally I have you know, mental illness where they can’t control themselves, that doesn’t describe 99.99% of us.

Kenneth Vogt (24:35):
And I don’t care if you’ve been diagnosed with EDD or HD ADHD or, or depression, or some other things that, that impact you. I’m not taking away from that. And I’m not saying that, that you don’t, that you can’t be touched by those things. But the fact is, is that you can remain fully functional in the world. If you shift your attention to this notion of being self controlled, and self control, sometimes we think of it as just holding ourselves back. It’s like, it’s, it’s when you don’t blow up at somebody when, when they make a mistake or, it’s when you don’t, when you don’t resort to physical violence in a situation where you’re at risk, you know, yes, that is, that is self-control at its most, most basic level, but here, I’m talking about the self control of what, how you think and what you think about, what do you dwell on?

Kenneth Vogt (25:36):
Do you spend all your attention? All this was wrong, this was wrong. This was wrong. This was wrong. Oh, if I had only taken all, all of this control earlier, I would’ve, I could’ve kept that from going wrong. I’m like, yeah, but was it control of what you did or was it control of others? Was it control of the physical universe and you know, the, the physical reality or was it of you, you know, cause there, there are things that we do that you’ll do in the lab where you can’t have complete control over what’s happening in your experiment. You have as much control as is, is available to you. So the question can only be, did I take, did I take charge of the part where it was up to me? Because, you know, as Nick said, you know, penicillin came out of an experiment that wasn’t done poorly.

Kenneth Vogt (26:26):
It just didn’t get the result. He expected. He wasn’t being sloppy. You know that well that he knew of, we look back now and probably say, yeah, he was being sloppy. But but you know, again, it was all he could do is what he was aware of. So the, the same is true for you in, in any setting and think of all the benefits you get out of this. So if you can just be here and now not be thinking about the past or worrying about the future, not being someplace else, thinking about something, you can be just here and now that’s the part you can control. You work on that, work on what’s right here in front of you right now.

Kenneth Vogt (27:15):
And automatically some things are going to happen. You’re going to stop trying to control other people. And what’s going to happen then is people will stop resenting you because you’re trying to dominate them. You’ll, you’ll be free to that. You won’t have to do anything different with people. It’ll be the things you stopped doing with people. And it’s funny how they’ll pick up on that. And people we’ve all had this situation where there was somebody that was really bugging us. And then one day we kind of realized like, you know what? I’m not like that anymore. I wonder what changed her? Like, you know, I don’t know why, but I just, I like Sally better than I used to. And it, that kind of stuff is just going to keep feeding out there.

Kenneth Vogt (28:00):
If, if you don’t act responsibly, if you don’t do, what’s available to you to do here and now you’re going to resent yourself. You’re going to look back at that with disappointment in yourself. And you know, we don’t need that. And now I want to point out that when you recognizing that, that, that there has been some failure and work and the buck has stopped at you. That’s a very good thing. It’s good to see that. But what I don’t want you to do is then be ashamed about it, be in despair about it, or be angry about it all. There’s all these, these negative reactions to realizing that something was wrong and I’m the source that aren’t helpful. But if you can just dispassionately, see it, you know, Nick talked about not being attached to certain things that earlier, and it’s, it’s more than just detachment it’s it’s non-attachment.

Kenneth Vogt (29:04):
And the reason I put it that way is that, you know, if, if I’m attached to looking good, I’m going to react really negatively. If I don’t look good, whereas if I just blow it off and I, and I’m detached, well, then I don’t care if I look good or not. And I won’t even notice opportunities to look good. Whereas if I’m, if I’m unattached well then in here in the, now in this moment, Oh, there’s an opportunity to look good, great. Let’s do that. And if there isn’t an opportunity, let’s not fight against things and try and make it that way. We free ourselves all because of that self control in that moment.

Kenneth Vogt (29:45):
Now there’s another thing that, you know, well just the title of that one paper I ought to point out to you, you know, being happy comes from self-control. You will actually be happier if you use self-control another, another study that I’ll I’ll reference is entitled. Why are people with high self-control happier? Well, that’s a bold statement. They’re just saying, this is how it is now. We want to know why. Well, the second part of it is the effect of trait. Self-Control on happiness as a mediated by regulatory focus. Now, real, we have talked about focusing in other settings that we will definitely talk about it again, but that’s part of what this is, this notion of focusing on what you can do here and now. So the bottom line with this is if you want to be happy, stop seeking control, take charge, use self-control.

Kenneth Vogt (30:47):
And this is going to allow you to be more successful. It’s going to make other people like working with you and supporting you easier. And it’s going to just play, make you happier. And you can let go of the rest of this because you never were going to be able to control everything. Anyway, that was to call it a fantasy is, is almost elevated too much. It’s a delusion. It’s not going to happen. It’s never has happened. And, and you probably know other people around you that act in that kind of controlling fashion. And you can see from them, are they happy? And are they succeeding in getting this, all this control they’re seeking? Probably not. You know, they’re definitely not. They’re definitely not going to be happy. I don’t even have to say probably about that. You know, they’re not happy. Well, we don’t want that for you. We want you to have a joy filled career doing important work and accomplishing things. So what do you think about self-control Nick?

Nick Oswald (31:47):
Well, I, I was just occurred to me that a lot of this stuff about you know, wanting to control the outcomes and other people. And so on the root of that is fear because you’re you, you think, you know, what needs to happen and you’re afraid of it not happening rather than you setting up you know an experiment to, to tell you what it’s going to tell you, a person who you have hired because they have a certain skill set and ability, and you set them up in the, you know, to do their job and you trust them to do their job and, you know, act on it. If they don’t, you know, rather than doing that, you try and make it happen yourself. And that’s about fear. Now it strikes me that actually the main part of self-control is about just not allowing that fear to be the driver of your intent,now allowing it to drive your intention.

Kenneth Vogt (32:43):
You know, that there’s a cure for fear is courage and understand the courage is something, somebody who does something that looks brave to us, you know, a fireman runs into a burning building and you think, wow, that person is so courageous. Maybe, maybe not. Some people are, are, are thrill seekers. Some people actually, they get excitement out of that. And it didn’t take courage to do that. Courage is something that happens when you’re afraid, but you steal up and you take care of it. Anyway, that’s a courages.

Nick Oswald (33:16):
Isn’t, isn’t courage a habit on that and that, and that’s where you see the people who, you know, the look, as you said, they look like they’re in control that, you know, the fireman is an extreme example. But if you have, if you see someone who is, you know, the leader of a group you’ll generally be, or she would generally be the leader, because in that, in the moment where it’s there’s something scary, you know, fearful, you know, an outcome that fear is about to happen, or at least an outcome that is not, you know, that’s not what they want it to be, they’ll they won’t just shrink back and, and they will stand up overcome their fear and take charge do what’s been done. And, and, and, and that’s what he was a fear. Yeah, exactly. Well, yeah. And it’s not that they’re not afraid. I’m sure if you’re a fireman going into a burning building, you have to have fear because a level you have to have fight or flight response happening because you know, that would

Kenneth Vogt (34:18):
If you don’t, you’re going to die sooner or later, it’s going to catch up with you.

Nick Oswald (34:24):
But, but you feel that it’s, that there’s that book, isn’t it, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. I’m sure I’ve never read that book, but I’m sure that’s what it says. Basically you step into that situation and, and deal with it. But you did, you keep a clear head so that you can think on your feet and the more that you do that, the more that becomes a habit, and then you become one of those people who everybody goes, Oh yeah. And that guy, or that girl oh she, you know, that person can, get someone to rely on. And, and you know, I, as you said, if you’re always running away from things, then that’s not a happy place to be. You know, you don’t, you don’t get much self-fulfillment of that. You don’t, you don’t get much sense of fulfillment out of that. And then you allow events to take control of you rather than the other way around.

Kenneth Vogt (35:16):
Right. And this notion of fear there’s a word we all know, but it’s just the label to one person. Fear means it means something very different than to another person. For some people, if I feel fear, that’s a horrifying feeling. That’s a terrifying feeling for other people. I feel fear. It’s excitement. It’s, it’s, it’s it’s it creates curiosity, like what’s going on, you know it’s the same word, but, but we take it differently. And often it’s actually, it’s the same root feeling, but because we have labeled it as something now, now it takes on a meaning. So in any given moment, you’re, you’ll find, as you go through your day, you feel fear all the time. It’s a normal natural process. If it wasn’t for fear, you know, humans wouldn’t have survived this long. That ha you got know when I’m being confronted with something that could eat me.

Kenneth Vogt (36:27):
You got to know that if I don’t do something soon to find food, I’m going to starve, you know, and when it was black and white like that, it was simple. Now we’ve had the matter of society. Everything is so complex, but you can look back in your own life. Even as a child, things were far simpler. I was afraid of the dark. I was afraid of falling down. You know, I just pure things. I get it. And then it was like, I’m afraid of falling down. Well, this I’m afraid to try that two wheel bicycle. And, and it just got more and more complex until now you find you’re in a meeting and somebody says, Hey, Hey, Sue, could you put together the, the data on X and you have this little moment of that thing. You’re labelling fear. Why, what happened?

Kenneth Vogt (37:24):
Well, you can deconstruct all that and find what is there that caused you to feel fear. But the important thing is here that if you’re, if you’re all about control, you might be in that meeting, working very hard to make sure that nobody gives you an assignment. It changes everything, because now you’re, you’re trying to control the situation or you get given a task. And now if you take charge of that and you say, okay, yeah, I’d be happy to put that together. But I’m going to need until Friday to do that. Oh, okay. Well, you just took charge of the situation. Now, you didn’t jettison the task. You, you still have the same feeling about it, but now that you’ve, you’ve taken charge of the situation so that you can accomplish it. And when it’s done, you’ll get, you’ll get the opposite of fear. You’ll get, you’ll get a good feeling out of it. So, yeah. Well, that’s, we’re kind of going a little bit off topic there, but the point is that this could be a whole new episode, but the point of all this is we’ve talked about how control is, is not all it’s cracked up to be. We’ve talked about how taking charges better. We’ve talked about self control is really the only answer to, to control in your world. And, and we’ve got studies to back us up to, and hopefully conversation today is backed it up.

Nick Oswald (38:44):
Yeah. I mean, I would say just to add to that, a couple of things that one is that, especially in the kind of say boss supervisor to subordinate kind of relationship that sort of control can appear to be a thing of strength that, that is that, you know, you’re controlling someone else and therefore you are, you know, the superior one, but it’s not, that’s actually a position of weakness. I, and lack of self-control and so that’s one thing to bear in mind that if you’re in this situation where you are on the receiving end of someone else trying to control you and Oh, there’s something else I forgot. Nevermind. I think it was really good, but if it comes up we’ll we can talk about it next time if it comes up.

Kenneth Vogt (39:39):
So let me wrap it up with this. If you want to be happy, stop seeking control, and if you want to be happier yet, implement self control and let go about everyone else. Yep.

Nick Oswald (39:52):
Okay. Thank you very much, Ken. That was again, another very insightful installment. But before we headoff, I’ll just remind people that if you want to see to listen to all of the episodes of the happy scientist or see what other episodes are available, you can go to and all the episodes and shownotes are there, including the shownotes for this episode, which is number, what number is this? 23. Wow. Number 23. And and then you can find links to the the studies that Ken cited during, during this episode you can, if you want more, you can also join us on facebook scientistclub. And we’ll have some bits and pieces in there that you will find interesting if you like this stuff. And before go also just remember that X was one to nine of the podcast. We talk about the foundational principles of human needs, core mindsets, and charisma factors, which we refer to in this and other episodes. So if you find this material useful, it might be good for you to go back and listen to episodes one to nine, if you haven’t already done. So, and again, you can do that. So that just leaves us to wrap up and say, thanks again, Ken. And we’ll see you next. We’ll see you next time. Okay. Bye.

Outro (41:32):
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