How to Overcome Your Addiction to Control with the Serenity Method (or: How to Attain Peace of Mind with the Serenity Method)

One of my primary goals in life is serenity, or as some like to put it, peace of mind. I view such a mental state as key to lasting happiness.

Serenity comes down to two words: control and acceptance.

It can take years of maturing through failures and pain to realize that we are not in control of very much.

  • We can’t control people.
  • We can’t control the business environment, the economy, or the government.
  • We can’t control traffic, late airplanes, or a global pandemic.

When we want to control the uncontrollable, we experience frustration and disappointment, which left unattended, can easily progress to anger, or even rage.

To gain peace of mind, we need to relinquish control and learn to accept things as they are.

In most cases, you cannot FIX people and only have a minor influence on other things/situations.

Breaking this habit of control is the single biggest breakthrough I have witnessed in people I have coached.

Here’s how to break that habit in 3 simple steps:

1. Commit to not trying to control people and things

2. Carry a copy of the serenity prayer with you.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference

3. When you notice yourself becoming agitated with people or circumstances, PAUSE. Pull out the serenity prayer, read it, and think about it.

The most challenging part is recognizing the urge to control and remembering to do it.

As you practice this simple method, you’ll catch yourself earlier and earlier.

Soon, it will become your new way of being. You will be free of the need to control the uncontrollable.

And you can enjoy the rewards that come with peace of mind.

About Howard Rambin

Howard Rambin co-founded Moody Rambin, a successful Houston-based full-service commercial real estate firm. He holds a B.A degree in Accounting and Finance Southern Methodist University and was a founder of Keep Houston Beautiful. As a firm believer in Otto Bismarck’s observation that “Only a fool learns from their own mistakes. The wise man learns from others” his latest venture is to share the wisdom he gained through years of hard-won experience by coaching business owners.

To learn more about Howard, visit his website at:

You can download his e-book, The Serenity Method, here:

A Serious PLIGHT of the Business Owners and Execs

In my coaching activities, I have found that there is one common issue present in virtually all of these folks that leads to what I refer to as the 3 Ps:

  • Lower Productivity
  • Lower Profit
  • Lower Peace of mind

What is this roadblock?

CONTROL – it seems that most want too much control over many aspects of their business and other affairs. Often referred to as micromanagers

Almost always, they see others performing certain tasks and their first thought is that they could do it better, faster etc.

This leads to micromanaging, a desire to control too many things. This results in

  • Poor time management – spending time on trivial matters
  • Resistance and resentment from workers who want to do it their way – that are doing their best.

The Need for Control

Unfortunately, this need for control usually carries over to other parts of their life.

They want to be the writer and director of the play that is going on in their daily lives.

But because they cannot control so many things, they lose focus and momentum. Then people resist and the results almost NEVER turn out exactly the way THEY think it should or the way THEY would do it.

Since things are not meeting their expectation, this, in turn, leads to toxic emotions like frustration, which can lead to anger and resentment.

And people DO NOT like to be controlled. Like a dog resisting when you pull their leash. And since people are one of any firm’s most important assets, you need to set the stage for them to succeed and not control them.

Breaking this habit of control is the single biggest breakthrough I have witnessed in business owners that I have coached.

After I point out this issue and the negative consequences outlined above, they are ready to get out of that rut.

They are ready to work ON the business, not IN all the details.

Like right NOW.

Time Usage

They reaffirm what they already know – they should use their time on the highest and best use instead of the minutia that comes from micromanaging – in ALL of their affairs.

But habits are hard to break, so I recommend a process that they repeat over and over until they form a new better habit of “LETTING GO”.

That process is:

  1. I ask that they commit to me and another person, to give up fighting to control people and things
  2. They come to realize that while they engage in that fight, they never or rarely win.
  3. I have them realize the value of peace of mind that comes from accepting people places and things for what they are. In most cases you cannot FIX people and have a minor influenced on other things/situations
  4. They are to carry a copy of the serenity prayer with them and when they become agitated with people or circumstances, they PAUSE and read/think about, the serenity prayer.

A good but simple example is traffic.

 Instead of tensing up and/or shouting, pause and read/think about the serenity prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can.

And the wisdom to know the difference

I have seen this work with many people, myself included.

Their state of calm and peace of mind is immediately apparent and rewarding to them, their coworkers, their family, and friends.

Of course, vastly improved results naturally follow from such freedom. .

Do everyone a HUGE favor, let go of the reins and let the world go around.

Note – This article was written by Howard Rambin, of the MoodyRambin Company. He is a Silver Fox Advisor and is available for consultation, advising, and mentoring.