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The Trap of Passiveness: Why We Resist Taking Control

Has "going with the flow" ceased working for you? Time to change!

This ONE by Yolanda Yu

This ONE idea and its manifestations in life and career

Happy This ONE Friday!

Inertia is the very reason why routine works. It is also why we keep repeating a certain pattern, whether it works for or against us. This week, I chanced upon an old friend: passiveness.

This ONE Idea

“"Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them."

— Henry Ford

Why do we resist taking control?

  • Fear of failure. Try swapping the word “failure” with “imperfection,” and you get “fear of imperfection.” Funny enough, nobody would admit they fear imperfection, but it happens all the time. As a result, we let go of the steering wheel, hoping someone else or magical circumstances will take over. Someone else (or often fate) does eventually take over, but not driving us towards where we prefer.

  • Comfort in familarity. The passiveness often stems from earlier life, where we over-relied on authority or a certain structure and were not used to exercising our power. We take comfort in ducking behind the shield without entering the battlefield. The familiar, even when it’s not ideal, offers a sense of safety that the unknown cannot.

  • Avoidance. Perhaps there are many things uncomfortable in the situation. We might feel overwhelmed, confused, and not confident in our capability to deal with it. This discomfort can lead us to avoid taking control.

The tiger in “Life of Pi” is a metaphor for fear.

Breaking away from passiveness

  • Assess the real price you pay for the passiveness in your life

  • Acknowledge your fears and embrace imperfection as part of life

  • Seek support. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to take control. Friends, family, or a coach can make a significant difference.

Question For You

What areas of your life have you been passive about? Can you identify the underlying reasons?

Ready to break free from passiveness? Let’s work together to take control of your life.

Until next week,

Yolanda Yu
Coach and lifelong learner

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Every Friday, I share ONE idea and its manifestations and 1 question for you to ponder. Other ingredients you can expect will be book extracts, quotes, metaphors, tools, resources, and mini-exercises to keep growing your self-awareness.