I don't know many people who would admit to wanting to ruin themselves, but there are a lot of people who are doing everything they can to accomplish that very goal. They certainly don't view it that way, but if you look at the way they live, you can see it happening.

I knew a man who was very strict with his daughter. This strictness was more than simple discipline. He felt he had to control every part of her life. Of course, he never liked any of her boyfriends. While his daughter was young, he could get away with being an all-controlling parent.   

                                                             Will this baby follow his dad's footsteps, or march to the beat of a different drummer?

The sad part of this was that he thought he was a good parent. It is certainly every parent's responsibility to protect and discipline their children. But it must always be for the purpose of helping them grow up to make good decisions on their own - not simply to dominate.

As will happen in every case, there came a time when the girl grew old enough to get out from under the dominance of her dad and make her own way. When she did, she ended up marrying the very kind of guy her dad despised. Not only that, the resentment had built up in her life so much that it caused her to move away from him, to not even speak to him for years.

Now, I don't know whether or not she consciously did all of this for spite, but the result was that her dad was devastated. In spite of his wrong actions and attitudes, he still loved his daughter very much. The years of alienation were a torture that ruined his health and other areas of his life as he let it get to him.

This father did a destructive thing, in his parenting. But parenting is not the only place that this happens. Many people do it in other areas of life and the result is the same - personal ruin. It happens when individuals try to live another person's life for them. Whether it is as a parent, an employer, a spouse, or any other relationship you operate in, you cannot live another person's life for him. This is probably the fastest way to self-ruin that exists on the planet today.

The same problem is all too common in the workplace. When a boss or supervisor tries to micro- manage a person to the point of controlling every little action, it creates rebellion. The person will try to sabotage the authority figure, or will quit. This puts the one who is trying to be in control in a position of always struggling to keep the other person in their place. After a point, fatigue sets in, and things begin to spiral out of control.

Do you micro-manage your household?Here is the problem. The nature of human beings is such that each person has the ability and the internal drive to exercise their own free will. People will go to almost any extreme to accomplish it. Families have been destroyed, companies have been bankrupted, wars have been fought, all in the name of achieving freedom.

Why not take a different approach? Instead of trying to control people, simply define the parameters that need to exist for the organization to run smoothly, and allow people to make their own way within those limits. Instead of generating rebellion, this will make a person feel appreciated and respected. It will make them appreciate and respect you, in return.

If you want things to be different in your life, then don't look to see how you can go about changing others. Look for ways to change yourself. You simply can't go inside of another person's head and change them. Try and you will destroy yourself. But you can do things to change yourself. Then, instead of ruin, you will find the growth and fulfillment you are looking for. 

Dr. Freddy Davis is the owner of TSM Enterprises and conducts conferences, seminars and organizational training for executives, managers and sales professionals to help develop greater effectiveness and productivity. He is the author of the book Supercharged! as well as the Nutshell Series of books for strengthening business. You can visit the TSM website at www.tsmenterprises.com, or you can contact Freddy directly at 888-883-0656 or davis@iname.com.