How to hack your anxiety and control freak-ery

How Roman Emperors and ancient greek philosophers dealt with anxiety
How to hack your anxiety and control freak-ery
Jake McNeill
June 10, 2021
5 min read
Copy link
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can & the wisdom to know the difference — Serenity Prayer

We’re all rebellious entrepreneurs. Artists. Makers. Creatives. Creators.

We’re hacking the system. 

We’re sticking our middle finger up to conformity and the drudgery of working 9-5 in some shitty cubicle watching our life tick away, hour after hour, day after day. 

The number one goal? 

To live a life that is true to ourselves and not what others expect of us. 

In order to do that. We need to create art, build products and services that solve problems, and soothe souls.

Then we need to build an audience and connect with them. 

Building an audience can be overwhelming. There are so many channels. And every market is crowded.

Carving our careers online is not easy. It’s a crowded market. It may not work. 

Our greatest enemy? 



Because it is the root of our mediocrity. When the outcome is uncertain we hold back, stay in our lanes and create bland art, products, or services out of fear of rejection and failure. 

We protect ourselves…our egos. 

Uncertainty breeds worry, which breeds anxiety. 

This makes us feel out of control. 

Fear/control loops

Feelings of not being in control create fear. And fear creates a need for more control. 

It’s a vicious circle. Which keeps us stuck in a circle of uncertainty. 

Uncertainty grows and becomes a threat. 

“Am I good enough?”

“What If I fail?”

Uncertainty + threat = anxiety 

Control Freak-ery

The more fearful we are, the more we try and control our environment.

We are attempting to regain control and avoid pain. 

We know failure is painful — even shameful. 

Most high achievers are control freaks.

We boast about it like it’s a badge of honour. Completely oblivious to the fact that really we are in control of nothing, other than our self-imposed worrying and overthinking. 

Trouble is, the environment is uncontrollable. 

  • We can’t control what people think of us.
  • We can't control the future
  • We can't change the past
  • We can’t control if they approve of our projects. 
  • We can’t control if our audience will buy our products or services.
  • We’re actually in control of very little. It’s just an illusion.

We make most of our decisions on auto-pilot. 

Subconsciously we think we are protecting ourselves. In fact, we are imprisoning ourselves.

We create all this miserable nonsense ironically in a way to protect ourselves from all the miserable nonsense. 

Controlling the controllables

This anxiety hack has been around for over 2000 years. 

It goes back to ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. It has stood the test of time.

Stoic philosophers called it the dichotomy of control. 

Once we accept that we control very little, we can then focus on the areas we can control - and excel in them.  


How often do the things you obsessively worry about come true?

How often does ruminating about past mistakes made you feel better?

Worrying and ruminating are a waste of precious energy.

Control the controllable and everything else will follow. 


We can’t control the outcomes but we can control how we react to them. 

And how we react to others.

  • We can control our workload, creativity, and authenticity. 
  • We can control our focus and mastery.
  • We can choose to be vulnerable. 
  • We can choose to connect with others. Deeply. 
  • We can choose to serve. Unequivocally. 
  • We can choose to make a difference, however big or small that may be.

Disregard everything else. If you can’t control the situation, forget about it.

Nothing you can do will change the situation. 

Next time you are facing a problem follow this chart. 👇

Ask yourself if you can control the situation. If you can, then deal with it.

If you can’t, then forget about it. 

Nothing you will do will have an influence over it and you will just create your own misery in being unable to solve it. 

Use thought stopping to control your self talk


A bit about me

I help maverick artists and creators make a racket in crowded markets, crush the creative blocks that hold them back, and build engaged audiences

Every creative rebel’s worst enemy?

Creative mediocrity: Being bland. Staying in our lane. Creating in our comfort zone and following the crowds.

The Goal?

To create authentic work that matters. Take creative risks, avoid creative burnout, and turn audiences into superfans. 

I’m a former multi-platinum artist manager who got burnt out and became a creative blogger, coach, and consultant.

I’ve challenged myself to write 50 articles in 50 working days. 20 down, 30 to go.

Find out more information on my website or connect on my LinkedIn

Share this post
Copy link
Subscribe to the newsletter
Mental Models For Multipotentialites To Maximise Their Potential. Cost? $0. Unsubscribe anytime✌️
Read about our privacy policy.
✅ Great stuff. You're now subscribed to my newsletter!
Hmm, something went wrong with the subscriber form. Please send me a quick email to let me know.

Related posts

Read more of my posts about related topics.
💪 Your Ambition Is Crushing Your Potential 😫
May 4, 2023

💪 Your Ambition Is Crushing Your Potential 😫

👉 Why We Fuck Up Our Ideas And How To Avoid It
Read post
😱 Welcome To Fucked Up Club 🥳
May 4, 2023

😱 Welcome To Fucked Up Club 🥳

😜 The Surprising Creative Power Of Fucking Up
Read post
😀 Multipotentialite: The Happiness Dilemma ✅
May 3, 2023

😀 Multipotentialite: The Happiness Dilemma ✅

🤓 The Four Part Divergent Thinking Framework For Clarity, Purpose, And Peace Of Mind 🙌 😎
Read post
Jake McNeill

Ready to unfuck potential?

Let me help you get shit done!🤘