A colleague of mine from “back in the day” read Slammed and reached out to me with feedback. She said, “I liked the book, but it is more about how the world makes you crazy. It’s not about being too busy, it is about actually going crazy, losing your grip. The non-stop world makes us crazy. The real title of the book should be The Wack-A-Doodle World.”
First, we love feedback; keep it coming.
Second, I think she is on to something interesting. We concur that there are a wide range of disabilities that arise when one is fully engulfed in a Slammed lifestyle; depression, irritability, insomnia, eating disorders and on and on. But what struck me in her comment was the notion of cause; the world is causing us to lose our grip.
It turns out this is not a new idea at all. Let’s zoom back to the mid-1950’s when a psychologist named Julian Rotter posited a theory of the “Locus of Control.” Some people interact with the world with a strong “internal locus of control.” This means that they feel they are in charge of their world, they can make changes, they can manage risk, they can improve—by their own will and determination. People with a more “external locus of control” feel that they are dependent on things and people outside of themselves. They did poorly on the test because of the teacher—or the test—or society.
While I can’t agree that the world is causing us to lose our grip, I can see the quicksand features of a Slammed lifestyle weakening our internal locus of control. When we must do more and more to make a difference, we stop fighting and get swept along in the spiral of work and lifestyle demands until, voila, we are operating with an external locus of control—and we are officially Slammed.
There is a huge difference between people who are operating in very “Slam-ready” environments with a strong internal locus of control and those with an external locus of control. The 24/7 schedule, the unrelenting stress, demanding colleagues etc. are there for both groups. But those who maintain a strong internal sense of control avoid the trap of worthlessness and futility that brings so many others down. Being un-Slammed is not about working less, it is about working with intention, effect, and value. Hard work is great, fulfilling, empowering. BS is, well, BS.
So here is the nugget; the minute you feel that the world is acting against you and that you have lost control, take a moment and find a place to reset your stance. In Slammed we suggest, “Always begin with your best understanding of the truth and always get better.” Special forces personnel would say, “Solve one problem at a time.” Find the little wins that get you back on track.
Listen when people complain to you about their lives or their jobs. Listen for the cues that they have lost their internal locus of control, that they feel the world is out to get them. Then help them restore their sense of purpose, value, and agency. That may well be the antidote for the “Wack-A-Doodle” world.