My iPhone, the Weather and Controlling Results
A couple of times this week the subject of creating results has come up in client conversations. (which you’d expect when people are trying to do things in the world!)
The specific conversations have been around the relationship between what we do and what actually happens.
Those conversations reminded me of the ridiculousness of trying to make the world do what we want when we want it…
The world doesn’t do as it’s told!
Because I like to get outside at some point in the day, I’ll often check my iPhone to see what the weather’s likely to be doing, and then plan my time accordingly.
However, the weather doesn’t always do what it’s told — how annoying, right!? The forecast predicted sunshine, so how dare the weather have a mind of its own!
It’s obvious, of course, that the weather isn’t created by the pictures on my iPhone. The phone is merely attempting a prediction based on past experience and some algorithm of wind and pressure patterns.
It’s the Same with Results
This is pretty much how it looks to me when we’re too attached to what we expect to happen in life…
We do stuff, and we create a prediction in our mind about what’s likely to happen based on past experience plus our internal algorithm of imagined interactions with people and events around us.
Yet we’re surprised when the results don’t occur exactly as expected.
Sometimes we’re more than surprised — we get irritated, or anxious, and then we try everything possible to bend reality according to our prediction, rather than seeing and responding to what’s happening in front of us.
“I’m out of flow,” was how one client put it.
Of course, she wasn’t out of flow; she just didn’t understand the science of forecasting, and the relationship between action and results.
She thought she had control, but in fact, there’s a black box in the middle. Something unknown and unknowable.
You’ll drive yourself crazy doing that!
It’s easy to see in the weather example — in fact it’s so obvious as to be laughable — but much harder to catch in real life.
To me, what my clients were describing — their frustration at results not coming in the ways, or at the time, they expected — was exactly like my annoyance at an unexpected rain shower.
“That wasn’t on the forecast!”
The futility of trying to predict, and therefore control our results is exactly the same as me trying to control the weather and force it to act in accordance with my iPhone’s prediction.
Even though forecasts are sometimes right, that doesn’t prove a causal link. If the weather changes, it’s absolutely not a result of something that happens in the back of the iPhone.
When we understand that there isn’t a linear relationship between actions and results, we’re much more likely to be at ease with the randomness of life, and be able to act on opportunities that seem to come out of left field.
I say “seem” because that weird thing that happened isn’t an aberration, it’s simply the way the world works.
Get Used to It
When we understand that most of our results — or at least the opportunities that can lead to results — come from places we didn’t expect, didn’t predict, and can’t control, then we can relax. We don’t need to control the outcomes; just as I don’t attempt to control the weather.
Sure, we can still run some scenarios according to what our internal iPhone tells us, but it’s wise to laugh and pick up the pieces when things don’t turn out as planned. Because that, my friend, is the gorgeousness and the magic of the creative process.
P.S. As soon as you see your plans and predictions for what they are — one version of a possible future based largely on what happened yesterday in metaphorical ‘weather-world’, then you can take yourself and what you’re doing a lot less seriously. And that, by the way, frees up time and energy to do more of what you want and have fun doing it!