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Losing Control, Finding Serenity: How the Need to Control Hurts Us And How to Let It Go

Daniel A. Miller

What Would Your Life Be Like If You Simply Let Go of Control?

At work, they oversee every detail of every project and expect nothing less than perfection from their coworkers. At home, they obsess over finding the “right” person. Then, they criticize their lover or spouse for doing everything wrong. As parents, they practice zero tolerance for their children’s preferred study practices, choice of friends, dress choices, and differing life views. Sound familiar? Everyone knows the type: micromanagers, nitpickers, and domestic despots. Yet, most people fail to recognize the signs of a compulsion to control in themselves or realize the toll of their behavior on their career, their family, their friendships, and their own happiness.

In Losing Control, Finding Serenity: How the Need to Control Hurts Us and How to Let It Go (Ebb and Flow Press, 2011) Daniel Miller pinpoints the dangers of excessive control, which goes far beyond setting limits and standards, in all aspects of life. What’s more, he shows those who feel the pressure to control how to break free and reap unexpected gifts.

Sharing his journey of transformation, Miller reveals what happened when he finally decided to “surrender”: his blinders fell away, new opportunities emerged, and he experienced unprecedented, profound inner peace. Drawing on psychological insights, spiritual wisdom, and the real-life stories of acknowledged “control freaks,” Losing Control, Finding Serenity guides readers through an honest inventory of their control patterns-whether prodding, cajoling, withdrawing, playing the martyr, or intimidating-down to the roots. As most controllers will discover, their compulsion to control is provoked by deep-seated fear, anxieties, and insecurities, then aggravated by anger and resentment.


About the Author Daniel A. Miller

Daniel A. Miller, JD, is the author of the best-selling Losing Control, Finding Serenity, a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalist, and The Gifts of Acceptance, a Library Journal Best Wellness book of 2018, Benjamin Franklin multiple award winner, and 2018 Forward Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalist in Family and Relationships. Like most compulsive controllers, Danny was always driven to succeed. He graduated from UCLA with honors in business administration and finished in the top 5 percent of his class at the UCLA School of Law.

While still in his twenties, he became a popular real estate instructor in the UCLA extension program, and in his thirties he wrote a critically acclaimed, best-selling professional book, How to Invest in Real Estate Syndicates (Dow Jones-Irwin, 1978). He later founded the California Institute of Real Estate Education, which offered state-licensed seminars to thousands of real estate professionals.

Financial success came early to Danny. Celebrities and other wealthy people entrusted him with large sums to invest on their behalf. By his midthirties he could afford to live in the exclusive Old Bel Air section of Los Angeles.

But for all his achievements and success, Danny had no sense of inner peace and serenity. He was imprisoned by his fears, anger, and anxieties—all bedfellows of controllers—and thus not open to the joy and wonders all around him.

After suffering a series of traumatic events and financial setbacks that he could not control—no matter how hard he tried—he finally began a new life journey based on letting go of control and accepting people and things as they are. He surrendered to the ups and downs and twists and turns of life instead of resisting them and trying to control people and events.

Over many years, he learned effective tools and strategies for letting go of control and accepting “what is” with his family and friends, as well as in sports, creative endeavors, and the workplace. In the process, he became an artist, a published poet, a successful businessman, a champion senior tennis player, a happily married man, and a much wiser parent—all while cutting his work time by more than half.

Thus, through letting go of control and embracing life as it is, Danny found a different and more gratifying kind of success—an internal, core sense of well-being. He now writes and speaks about the profound benefits of letting go of control and practicing acceptance. His website features over 145 of his blog posts on the control and acceptance dynamics, his poetry and paintings, and keynote speaker information.

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