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The Illusion of Control

July 20, 2015

Wisdom from Ronnie!

Ronnie McBrayer

controlControl is an illusion, you infantile egomaniac.” So said Nicole Kidman to Tom Cruise in the movie, “Days of Thunder.” It was a fictional scene, of course, but I’m sure it’s a mantra she repeated often over the course of their decade-long marriage.

That digression aside, the quote itself is absolutely the truth. Control – over others’ behavior, personal circumstances, world events, the universe – is a fantasy. It was Dr. Ellen Langer who wrote the book on the subject. Her work is entitled,“The Illusion of Control.” She believes, and her research backs this up, that human beings have a delusional sense that they can influence the outcomes of certain events, even those events over which they have no command.

Summarizing one of her experiments, she gave a group of subjects lottery tickets with a chance to win big money. Some tickets were random “quick-picks” and some were numbers chosen…

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