A Belief Worth Questioning
Bill Cottringer

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.” ~John F. Kennedy.

All the world’s dreadful problems and the unwanted miseries they bring, are caused by one questionable belief that has gone unquestioned for too long. This belief is that some people have the absolute right to control and “own” others, with the imposed certainty that the controllers have more experience, better truths and superior success prescriptions than those they control.

This believe has evolved way too far from its original purpose—to give churches and the government the needed ability to keep people in line when they showed that they were unable to do that on their own. When people misuse their God-given freedom of choice to hurt and disable others, man must intervene. But when necessary control becomes over-control and results in a sense of unquestioned ownership by fiat, things have gone too far in the wrong direction.

Today we have a full-service menu of both real and virtual institutions, parents, spouses, teachers, coaches, psychiatrists and employers over-controlling citizens, children, spouses, students, athletes, patients and employees. The controller’s control with their personal thinking agenda on what is right and wrong and what leads to success and failure. This controlling is driven by the fear that, given free choices of their own, the controlled group will make all the wrong choices and things will go to hell in a handbasket and even that the world will be destroyed. For some reason, I don’t think life would allow that, but just in case, I am exposing the belief for what it is, or at least attempting to do that in this article.

There are two huge flaws in this belief, which should be self-evident.

1. No one reacts very well to being over-controlled. And we all know when enough is enough.

2. It has never worked. And it never will.

Because of the transition from the Manufacturing Age of things, to the Information Age of ideas, the world is currently on overload and quickly moving into unfamiliar waters without a map. What got us here, won’t get us there. The end game here, that some have seen for years, is a major paradigm shift from a win-lose mentality to a win-win one. The traditional win-lose perspective is based in the automatic assumption of the truth and obvious strength of the Control Belief, whereas the Freedom Belief is driven by positive hopes of a win-win outcome for all.

The transition from the Control Belief to the Freedom Belief can only be facilitated with an open mind that experiments with creativity, compromise and collaboration. This is the creative process that drives the entire universe and everything in it—embracing one opposite and moving towards the other, in hopes of finding the middle, or the profound simplicity just on the other side of complexity—the land of good and plenty.

This transition will be met with great resistance by the controllers. Afterall, who wants to give up control when they worked so hard to earn it and even more so to keep it? Nothing changes for the better without people having the courage to question fundamental beliefs that determine the quality of life experienced by everyone:

1. Having an open mind, at least open enough to question the truth of your own sacred beliefs—realizing what you think you know may not necessarily be so. This makes room for better and truer ideas that can improve your own and others’ quality of life.

2. Paying closer attention the here and now in using attentive mindfulness, to focus on the few things we can control—our own present thinking and actions—and letting go of all the rest of the many uncontrollables, like our troubled feelings and other’s annoying behavior. This is the best way to separate useful common sense from useless nonsense.

Why is all this important? Because it is the only sure way to replace widespread unwanted unhappiness with a fair share of happiness. And, the pursuit of authentic happiness can only be realized when individuals become more responsible for their own destiny in using their free choices to remove the chains of oppressive control. Then we begin the path back to re-discovering the true-north compass we were all born with and have forgotten along the way.

“There's nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child.” ~Frank A. Clark.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 652-8067 or ckuretdoc.comcast.net.