Daily Prompt #10: Losing Control

A friend and I were driving the other day when the vehicle began to spiral out of control.

“Ever felt like you’d lost control of a situation before,” he asked as the car leaped over the bridge’s guardrail and hit the water.

“Of course I do,” I said. “Anyone who’s in control of a situation all the time would be god, and anyone who believed they were in control of a situation at all times is either delusional or very miserable.”

“Good point,” he said, water starting to slowly fill the inside of the car. “But, let me ask you this: what would you tell someone who can’t stand the idea of losing complete control over a situation?”

“Hold that thought,” I said, reaching for the seat belts to cut them with a pocketknife. “I would say that being able to truly ‘go with the flow’ would be the best course of action to take.”

“And how would you propose someone do that exactly,” he asked after bobbing his head out of the water.

“Honestly, losing control of the situation is the best way to maintain the most amount of control over it,” I said.

“Explain Zen master, sir,” He said with a smirk.

I climb up onto the embankment and explained. “So, picture this for a moment: you’re standing in an open field and suddenly there is a ring of fire that shoots up, entrapping you within a space the size of a living room.”

“Don’t see what the living room space has to do with this, but go on,” he said.

 “Well, continue imagining the ring of fire. When you understand that you can’t control the fire but can control how you react to it, you’ve gained that much more power. In a situation like that, you have two choices: one, you can just focus on the fact that the flames are not going out, but spreading inward toward to you; or two, you can remember you have on a heavy coat and simply toss this over a part of the blaze and escape,” I said.

“I kind of follow, but I’m still a little lost to be honest,” he said as the paramedics arrived.

“The moral of the story –No ma’am, I’m fine. No I don’t need to go to the hospital. Thank you– where was I? Oh! Right, so if you panic during a situation and only focus on the fact that it’s undesirable and you have absolutely no control over it, you’ll end up making it worse for anyone else who’s going through the same thing; you may even get them hurt if you cause too much panic. You’ll end up fueling the fire, so to speak.”

“Oh, okay. So you’re saying that keeping a level head under pressure can, at the very least, help the person with more control by standing out of the way and letting them handle it?”

“Exactly,” I said. “And if you’re good enough at thinking with a level head and keeping yourself composed, you may be the one that everyone stands out of the way of so you can do your thing and figure out how to escape the situation.”

“That sounds like a hero, honestly,” he said.

“I can tell you this, any person who says they don’t get scared during certain situations is either a liar or a crazy person, but having the guts to feel that fear and not lose control of yourself during that kind of situation really does qualify as a hero’s trait,” I said.

“Okay, next question: what do we tell my mom about her car?”

“Just stay calm, we’ll think of something,” I said.

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