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Am I In Control?

05-02control

Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

Recently, I read a fascinating article by Shelly Palmer, CEO at The Palmer Group, entitled “Can Self-Driving Cars Ever Really Be Safe?

Palmer opens with the following comments. “Analysts estimate that by 2030, self-driving cars and trucks (autonomous vehicles) could account for as much as 60 percent of US auto sales. That’s great! But autonomous vehicles are basically computers on wheels, and computers crash all the time. Besides that, computers get hacked every day. So you gotta ask, ‘Can self-driving cars ever really be safe?’ The short answer is no. Self-driving cars can never really be safe. They will be safer! So much safer that it’s worth a few minutes to understand why.” She then goes on to build the case in favour of self-driving cars.

Time will tell. I tend to resist the notion of self-driving cars for two reasons. First, except for Toronto’s increasingly frequent gridlock, I enjoy driving. Second (and perhaps irrationally), I trust my driving skills more than those of a computer! That said, this issue reminds me how much I like to personally control my environment versus ceding control to another agency, whether human or machine.

The reality is that a significant percentage of what affects our lives is beyond our control.

Most of us derive a degree of comfort from being in charge without giving much thought to the reality that a significant percentage of what affects our lives is beyond our control. For example, I did not determine most of the variables that define my life: the century in which I was born, the country in which I was born, my parents, my educational opportunities and the list goes on! In business, I specialized in controlling risk. While I could control risk to a degree, I could not eliminate it without eliminating opportunity!

In light of the reality that I cannot completely control most of the factors that affect my life, I derive great comfort from knowing that the God of the Bible is in charge. Because of His perfect wisdom and power and His love for me, I can rest secure in that knowledge that He is sovereign over all life and that He cares for me more that I can possibly comprehend with my own intellect.

In the Bible, Jesus said, “…Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.” (Luke 9: 23-24)

Years ago, I ceded control to God. As a direct result, I experienced an unprecedented peace in my professional and personal life. How about you? Are you tired of trying to control everything? I encourage you to join one of our professional peer groups to explore this and many other big questions.

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.