Assumed Control

To “assume control” means to begin to take control or responsibility over something. Over the weekend, I read a passage from Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly where she mentioned that she is a fan of the band Rush. In my formative years as a drummer back in the late 80s and early 90s, it was almost a rite of passage to go through a Neil Peart phase, so I too am familiar with the band. For whatever reason, in that moment, the song “Grand Finale” off the band’s 2112 album came to mind. Side-one of the record is a 7-part, 20-minute composition that ends with a repeated radio transmission saying, “We have assumed control.”

I kept hearing this play on loop in my head for several minutes, and the longer it repeated, the more I started to hear a double entendre. To assume, means to suppose without proof, to reason, to think, to believe, to infer, etc. All of which are the opposite of the phrase “to assume control.” I started hearing the phrase, “We have assumed control” more as “We assume we have control,” “We have, what we assume, to be control.”

Choice is the one of the few things we have control over. Even when faced with an undesirable outcome, we can choose how we react to that situation. Furthermore, at some point, things are out of our hands regardless of how well we prepare. For the athletes that just ran the NYC marathon, there were two actual winners out of the more than 50,000 participants. Does that negate all the training, preparation and dedication of everyone else? Were all of the runners trying to win? For those that were, is their achievement fruitless because they didn’t win? Victory may sometimes have clear external parameters, however, we can also internally choose what success looks like. Beating ourselves up for a prolonged period for not achieving what we desired is more of a failure than simply choosing to own it and move on. What outcome will change the more we wish it had turned out differently?

Sooner or later, something more than us has a say in how things will play out. We can assume control over how we take ownership over things that happen, but we cannot assume control over things that are greater than us – that are outside our capacity to control.

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Aspiring Stoic and Doting Father

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