Master Your Mind: Are You Letting the Tail Wag the Dog?

Dive deep into understanding the power dynamics in your life. Are you in control or letting the tail wag the dog? Discover actionable tips to regain your power and live a more mindful life.

Master Your Mind: Are You Letting the Tail Wag the Dog?

Unraveling the Power Dynamics in Your Life


Do you feel that you are in a boat with no oars and going downstream and have no control over which direction you want to go? 

In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to feel like we're being pulled in a million different directions. The demands of work, relationships, and personal aspirations can sometimes feel overwhelming. And within this whirlwind, many of you often feel like you're not in the driver's seat of your own lives. Instead, you are in the backseat, driven by external forces and circumstances. We commonly refer to this feeling as the Tail Wagging the Dog. This happens when the minor details, the momentary distractions, or the external pressures start dictating your life's direction rather than your core values, beliefs, and desires. 

But how do we recognize this? And once recognized, how do we regain control? Answers are important because if you do not take control of your life, someone else will.

Let's venture on this journey of self-discovery together.

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Recognize the Signs

"The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance." - Nathaniel Branden.

Feeling overwhelmed is more than just a brief emotion for many. It's a sign that you're not steering your ship. Other signs include constantly second-guessing yourself, feeling restless, or being easily swayed by others' opinions. If you find that external events easily influence your mood or make decisions based on what's expected rather than what you truly want, it's time to pause and reflect. In most cases, the root cause is a lack of confidence, fear of making mistakes, procrastination, etc. Do not beat yourself up on this, as these have crept into your life because you knowingly or unknowingly left the door open behind you. Instead of feeling low, recognize these patterns and take the first step towards regaining control. Ask yourself: Are you living proactively or reactively? 

I have written an article on 3 Powerful Insights To Create a Life Plan and Stop Living on Accidents that will help you discover the insight to create a life plan to help you break free from accidental living and achieve success.

According to an article in the prestigious HBR online publication, your attention plays a key role in shaping your experiences and, in turn, the life you lead. It asks you to emphasize the importance of consciously directing your attention based on your priorities and goals rather than getting sidetracked by distractions. Both external factors, like technology and environment, and internal factors, such as personal behaviors and thoughts, influence where your attention goes. By mastering attention management, you can minimize distractions and gain more control over time, leading to a more purposeful and fulfilling life.

You may also refer to my recent article, Unleash Power Within: Transform Hidden Costs into Time for Health, Family, and Happiness, and you can learn practical ways to identify hidden transaction costs draining your energy and minimize them through preparation, automation, and streamlined communication.

Prioritize Self-awareness

"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom." - Aristotle.

Understanding oneself is not a task that can be accomplished overnight or even in a few years. It is, in fact, a journey that may span a lifetime. This journey is about more than surface-level introspection; it requires a deep dive into the core of who you are and what you are made of. It's about exploring the deepest corners of your mind to uncover your true desires, the fears that hold you back, the motivations that drive you forward, and the triggers that provoke strong emotional responses. Many of them will trace back to as far as your childhood.

Must Read: 10 Remarkable Ways to Uncover & Embrace Your True Self

To truly understand yourself, it's essential to reflect upon your past. Consider the significant events, experiences, and interactions that have shaped your emotions and perspectives. These positive or negative moments have been vital in molding your current self. You must recognize and acknowledge these crucial events, as they provide valuable insights into why you feel the way you do.

However, once you've identified these influential moments, it's equally important to accept them. The past is unchangeable; no amount of wishing or regret can alter what has already transpired. Instead of wasting your energy fighting or complaining over past events, accept them. Understand that they are a part of your story, and while they have influenced you and may define you, but not forever. Let go of any resentment or regret and allow yourself to move forward with a clearer understanding of who you want to be. Doing so will pave the way for personal growth and a deeper connection with your true self. 

Journaling, meditation, and introspection are excellent tools for this. By understanding what truly drives you, you can ensure that your actions align with your core values. When faced with decisions, big or small, take a moment to ask yourself: Is this choice serving my higher purpose? Or is it merely a reaction to external pressures? Make proactive decisions and allow yourself to make mistakes. Do not let your environment decide for you, and not making any decision is considered a decision, too.

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take -Wayne Gretzky

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Set Boundaries

"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others." - Brené Brown.

Sometimes, you struggle to say no out of politeness and do not prioritize yourself or your work. This behavior takes away the control of your time, which is the most precious asset you should protect. That is why you must draw a line or boundaries differentiating what is available to the world and what is yours. It may be discomforting or not aligned with your core personality, but you must make tough decisions. 

In his book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” Mark Manson discusses a refreshing perspective on living a meaningful life. He argues that life's limitations should be embraced and that pursuing exceptional experiences or being "positive" forever is not the key to a good life. Instead, it's about confronting the challenges and limitations with honesty.

Create boundaries; they are not walls but guardrails that guide and help you interact harmoniously with the world around you. Setting boundaries is crucial, whether saying no to an extra project at work, distancing yourself from a toxic friend, or allocating 'me time' during the week. Remember, Self-care Isn't Selfish; It's Necessary. It ensures you prioritize your well-being and don't spread yourself too thin. By setting clear boundaries, you signal to the world (and to yourself) that you value yourself the most and what you won't compromise on.

Reconnect with Your Core Values

"Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do." - Elvis Presley.

In the relentless pace of our modern world, with endless responsibilities and tasks, it is easy to drift away from what holds genuine significance in your life. The noise of everyday challenges can often mute your innermost feelings and beliefs. Yet, these values are the fundamental source of our existence, providing you with a reliable compass to navigate life's experiences.

Recognizing and embracing what you hold dear is essential, whether it's the family bonds, the unwavering commitment to integrity, the thirst for personal growth, or the sense of belonging within a community. Once you identify and understand these core values, they become the pillars upon which you base your decisions, shaping your actions and reactions in every situation.

It's essential, therefore, to carve out moments of introspection amidst the chaos. Dedicate time to delve deeper into your soul and contemplate the principles and ideals that resonate with your true self. 

Some ways you can achieve this are:

  • Self-Reflection
  • Meditation and Mindfulness
  • Practicing Gratitude

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Seek Support

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller

Remember that you do not have to be alone on this path of self-discovery and growth. Therapy, for instance, offers a safe space to delve deep into your emotions, guided by a professional who can provide insights and guidance. Similarly, support groups present an opportunity to connect with others who might be undergoing similar experiences, allowing for mutual understanding and shared growth.

But support can come from more than structured or professional settings. Sometimes, a heartfelt conversation with a trusted friend or family member can offer the reassurance and perspective you need. Opening up about your feelings, fears, and aspirations can lighten your weight and provide a fresh viewpoint on your challenges.

It is essential to choose your environment consciously. Surround yourself with positive influences—uplifting books, motivational podcasts, or individuals who radiate positivity. Pursue those who inspire you, encourage your dreams, and stand by you during achieving and trying times. Remember, the company you keep is pivotal in shaping your mindset and outlook, so choose wisely.


Carol S. Dweck, in her book - “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” introduces the groundbreaking idea of the "fixed" vs. "growth" mindsets. She explains how your mindset shapes your abilities and achievements. If you continue to lean towards a growth mindset, you can take control of your life.

Life is too short to let the tail wag the dog. You can regain control and live a genuine life by recognizing the signs, cultivating self-awareness, setting boundaries, and staying true to your values. Remember, every moment is an opportunity to choose who you want to be and how you want to live. So, take control and steer your life in the direction of your dreams.

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Books to Explore

  • "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle
  • "Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No" by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brené Brown
  • "Atomic Habits" by James Clear
  • "The Untethered Soul" by Michael A. Singer
  • "Daring Greatly" by Brené Brown
  • "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" by Carol S. Dweck
  • "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz

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