Executive In Life (Part One)
In your life, you are the Executive involved, or maybe not. If you are feeling challenged, fulfilled and in balance between your personal, work, family, and relationships; if you are feeling fulfillment from all of your efforts, then you are, indeed, the executive of your life. For you, your personal power of control to make life happen is paramount. For you, your feeling good about your self-involvement is directly proportional to the mental health skills you apply. When faced with conflict, you embrace your self-efficacy to make change happen.
However, if you are like millions of other people who are trapped, work at jobs they cannot stand, in relationships where every interaction is a confrontation, and life seems to be a financial burden to be lived, rather than a problem to be solved, then you are not the Executive of your life. You surrender your personal and social power over to control to the world outside of you.
Creating and maintaining a positive, functional, rewarding mental health is a system of skills
By not embracing your executive functioning, your executive power of control, the system, which is you break down. When the system breaks, you break; you seemingly fall apart and feel overwhelmed. As in all systems, exposure is influence, exposure to the weakest link in the system. When that weakest link is your perspective of your personal self in relation to you live, your social self, you are vulnerable to manipulation and self-destruction.
The Executive In Life
The Executive In Life is you. I know that reads a bit strange, in fact my wife, who is a Ph.D. educated expert on language acquisition, pointed out to me that it should read: Executive “Of” Life. I toyed with “Of” and “In” and went back to my original title, Executive In Life.

To know the world, is to experience the world.
To know the world, is to experience the world. Experience teaches. Faced with a choice, people experience their lives. In any situation, people choose to either surrender or embrace their personal control. It is through our perspectives of control and the ability, the power to implement that control that dictates the experience. Many, however, choose to surrender, give over to their worlds, those involved, the venues lived, and situations faced their personal power of control. The surrendering of power of control is the underpinning to the dysfunctional addiction mind-set, domestic abuse, work place violence, and situational hostility. Everything else is behavior.
Behavior is our outward display of thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Look to a person’s behavior and you will be able to understand the goal.
• The person in pain who has surrendered his power of control over to his pain, is helpless and hopeless to manage, chooses to compensates through abuse of his prescribe narcotics.
• The person in a one-sided relationship, who has surrendered her power of control over to her insecurity, is helpless and hopeless to feel good about her self, chooses to compensate through settling in her relationship.
• The person who cannot fathom his ex-wife in the arms of another, who has surrendered his power of control over to his fortune telling, is helpless and hopeless to feeling confident in his independence as he chooses to obsess over his thoughts.
• The person who identifies himself through prestige, surrenders his power of control over to his helplessness and hopelessness to find comfort in his efforts, brags about the thousands he makes on the stock market.
• The person in line, who is intolerant of others, surrenders her power of control over to others and compensates for her inadequacy through her anger-based aggression.
• The person at work, berated, often criticized and chastised for his efforts, surrenders his power of control to his fallacy of fairness, compensates for his insignificance by enforcing entitlement-based coercive power and control over his family.
• The person in life, alone, sad, unfulfilled, who has surrendered his power of control over to his intimidations, compensates for his emptiness, his substancelessness by abusing substance for substance.
Life is an opportunity to be lived. There is only one opportunity. The gauge of this opportunity is how we live. When people are not satisfied, they look outside of themselves and point as to why. When people are disappointed, they look to others for cause of disappointments. People do as millions other do, they choose to stagnant and lock themselves to self-defeat by surrendering power of control over to whatever they are experiencing on the other side of their eyes. Our eyes look out and not in. People tend to look outside of themselves for validation, relief, and purpose. When they do, they open themselves to be influenced by others and the situations at-hand.
In life as you know it, you are the one common denominator. Everything of your life, how you live it, experience it, struggle within it, enjoy it, everything begins and ends with you. From this perspective, you are the one with executive power, you are the one with executive control; you are the one with executive power of control to HOW you live, to HOW you experience your life.
Here, just across the boarder of Massachusetts, in a small New Hampshire community where I live, history abounds. There are hundreds of small graveyards dating back to the 17 hundreds. Walking through these hallowed grounds, the tombstones read the date born and died. Years past, as a young man, I used to look at these stones and figure out how long they lived their lives. Today, I look at these stones and think of not how long; rather I try to imagine how they lived between those two dates. How we live is a matter of opportunity. What that means is availability with choice. Opportunity is availability with choice. If we are closed to the opportunity, no matter the availability, the choice is gone.
Life is an opportunity. The great intimidator in life is time; you cannot stop it. The seconds it took to read this sentence are now gone, they are gone from your life, never to be experienced again. Millions of us waste our lives by needlessly surrendering our power of control over to the worlds we live. Needlessly, so many of us surrender power of control out of the conditioned thought that there is something wrong with us mentally. We readily buy into the the condition of mental disorder and quick fix of medication. Can’t concentrate, take a pill. Can’t relax, take a pill. Can’t sleep, take a pill. Can’t have sex, take a pill. Feeling constipated, take a pill. Have no energy, take a pill. Feeling down on yourself, take a pill. Can’t feel good, here is a better pill. For all that is listed, the best pill in the world takes one hour to swallow and that is exercise. People are so easily spoon fed into believing the quick fixes they find outside of themselves, they do not want to employ the effort. Immediate gratification is the new want replacing competence and independence. If you do not think so, try to take the android cell phone, notebook computer, Ipod, and Play Station away from someone. Watch and see lost power of control in action.
We all have the opportunity of control. Being in control feels good. Being in control feels good because the seat of our pleasure centers to our brains, the nucleus accumbens, which is a collection brain cells, is reported as key to pleasure, laughter, addiction, aggression, fear, and something I find interesting, the placebo effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleus_accumbens). Adjacent to the limbic system, or what I call the “feeling brain,” the nucleus accumbens projects its neural activity to the basal ganglia system. Located at the base of the forebrain, and intricately connected to the cerebral cortex and thalamus, the basal ganglia are associated with learning, more specifically choice in action (e.g., behavior switching). The “behavior switching” or what I call “choice in action” is influenced by the networking of the brain, “including the prefrontal cortex, which is widely believed to play a key role in executive function http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basal_ganglia.
Executive functions are employed in five types of situations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_functions:
• Planning or decision making
• Dangerous or technically difficult situations
• Error correction or troubleshooting
• Responses in action to new situations
• Overcoming habitual responses or resisting temptation.
The executive functions of our brains are put into action when it is necessary to implement power of control over external situations. For example, after choosing not to drink, the involved walks into a bar to meet a friend. In this situation, absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells of the bar, the involved might automatically think of taking a drink. However, the involved has chosen not to drink, and is in the process of teaching his or her brain the necessary skill of executive power of control. In such a case, the executive functions of the brain are engage to dismiss the want of a drink. This is not to state cause and effect, what dictates the outcome is the involved perspective of power of control. Surrender power of control, and the involved drinks. Embrace power of control, and the involved continues to teach his or her brain how to maximize personal self-efficacy.
When you surrender your executive power of control to the person standing in front of you in line, across the counter, next to you at work, your fellow employee, your boss, your teachers, your classmates; you experience a threat. You experience stress. Stress is the body’s way of communicating to the brain that there is something going on that needs to be addressed. We regulate our stress through our perspectives of power of control. When we surrender it, we experience distress, and when we validate it, we experience it as despair. When we validate our distress, we literally mentally beat the shit out of ourselves and wear ourselves down. The amount of mental energy it takes to take someone down, to wear someone down to the point of looking outside of him or herself for relief is insurmountable. This is the ultimate in lost power of control. It is helplessness and hopelessness at its worse. It is total surrender of the self.
There are not many of us still standing who have faced the emptiness of total lost power of control. If it were not for one thought, I would not be putting these words on paper. November 15, 1985, I sat in my apartment, shades drawn, empty beer cans all about, void of will, direction, hope, feeling. With a loaded 357 magnum in my hand, I wrapped my mouth around the barrel and put my finger on the trigger. Feeling the serrated marks of the trigger on the back of my finger a thought popped into my head. That single thought was: “I do not want to go to hell!” I put the gun down, cried, and continued to drink. Growing up Irish Catholic, caught in the transition from the First to the Second Vatican Counsel, the fear of God was a double-edged sword. The fear of God set the stage for the irrational perspective of fanciful fictional bull-sit, guilt and shame, that I validated as real. Alcohol and drugs numbed, eliminated that bull-shit. Guess where my power of control was?
When you surrender your executive power of control over to your parents, your partner, your children, your pet, you are experiencing a threat. When you surrender your executive power of control over to the person driving in front of you, next, or behind you, you are experiencing a threat. When you surrender your power of control over to a substance, an action, or an object, you are experiencing a threat. The way I use the word “threat” is to mean a subjective perceived challenge against our zones of comfort. Our zones of comfort are the personal and social self-perspective boundaries we create to keep ourselves safe and secure. When your safety and security are threaten, you experience that visceral sensation, that physical concern, that twinge of alertness that is warning you as a toothache warns you that something needs to be addressed. It is our bodies way of waking us up to take action. The irony is “safe and secure” is self-defeating. Rational boundaries or expectations do not interfere with power of control, they regulate. Irrational boundaries, however, intimidated, anchor us in our protective insecurity as when faced with challenges. By our very nature to maximize and approach pleasure over pain, comfort over discomfort, we are predisposed to maximize our power of control, to be our Executive In Life.
Predisposition necessitates conflict.
In all we do, there is conflict. In varying degrees of frequency, intensity, and duration, we experience conflict. It is not the conflict that dictates the consequences; it is the opportunity of choice. We choose to surrender our power of control as we choose to marginalize the responsibility to teach people how to treat us. When we do, we choose to allow others to treat us as they will. It matters little what our stage in life is, whatever we experience, we allow happen. We allow happen because we chose to give over, surrender our power of control. What happens next is a matter of what a person knows. What we know is a matter of experience. Experience teaches, but only if open to the lessons and choose to participate. To participate is to learn and practice the Executive In Life skills and doing so we maximize our executive functioning abilities.
To not satisfy the want of competence and independence is to risk incompetence and dependence.
By our very nature, surrendering power of control is the antithesis, the opposite of the human condition. The human condition is a wanting condition never satisfied. The want is competence and independence. The need is survival. To not satisfy competence and independence is to risk incompetence and dependence. To risk incompetence and dependence is to risk survival. The want and the need are cyclical; they are at opposite poles drawing pull from each other’s drive. Drawing pull from each others drive, the human condition is motivation.

Author's Bio: 

Peter Stone is recognized nationally as an expert in the areas of: Anger Management, Domestic Abuse, Workplace Safety, Executive In Life Coaching, and Addictions. He is the CEO & Clinical Director of MyDiscover Incorporated and can be found on www.MyDiscover.org