Controlling the uncontrollable

We need to believe that we have control over our lives. In our work, studies or personal life, we set ourselves goals and make plans to achieve them. We feel that if we apply ourselves we can accomplish great things in our lives, and this gives us the motivation we need to persevere. We have become accustomed to this style of thinking.

Unfortunately, there are some areas of our life that we have little control over. For example, when you were young you didn't decide how tall you would be as an adult. This is a biological process that cares little about our hopes and desires. Similarly, conception is a process that is largely outside of our control. It is a finely choreographed dance, and many things need fall into place with precise timing in order for a sperm to fertilize an egg. We may have influence over some aspects (such as the timing of sex), but even in a laboratory situation scientists can't force conception to occur. I think we all know this at some level, but it is very easy to fall into a trap of thinking that if we do everything correctly, conception should happen. Thinking this way can lead to unnecessary frustration.

Imagine trying to influence the weather purely by thought:

Obviously this isn't possible, but if for some reason you believed you had this ability you would be constantly frustrated and upset at your perceived failures. "Trying to control the uncontrollable" is a common thought process for some people, and one that psychologists often seek to correct.