Mark Blasini


Productive control vs. preventive control


A while ago, I had written a post defining what control is. In that post, I defined control as the ability to generate, directly or indirectly, desirable outcomes and/or to prevent or avoid undesirable outcomes.

From this definition, we see there are two types of control. The first type of control is what I would call productive control. This is the type of control that allows you to generate desirable outcomes.

The second type is what I call preventive control - the ability to stop or prevent undesirable outcomes.

Both types of control, while important, are not made equal. If I had to choose which one is more important, I would choose productive control. This is because you do not have real control over a situation unless you can steer it in the direction you want to go.

Preventing bad things from happening is important, but bad things will always happen. Crises will always pop up. Life has a tendency to constantly challenge us, to present us with problems, issues, dilemmas.

Most of us (whom I would describe as tacticians) try to keep up with these challenges. But life's rate of producing them is much quicker than our rate of overcoming them - no matter how educated, clever, or persistent we are. It's this kind of situation that puts us into tactical hell.

The real defining feature of an effective life strategist is his or her ability to make any situation better. To focus on how to improve the situation and open it up to much better prospects.

So yes, try to increase your preventive control. Know how to solve and prevent problems. But never do so at the cost of increasing your productive control. Productive control should be your priority.

This is how you steer the ship and make it to dry land.