Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Murray Spangler, a department store janitor in Canton, Ohio, decided that the only way to overcome the boredom of his job - which basically consisted of sweeping the floors - was to find a more innovative way to do it. His job also made him wheeze and cough, which was added incentive to seek out a better method.

"Why not eliminate the broom?" he thought. And then a second thought came, "Maybe there's another way to get the dust up. Maybe even suck up the dust."

Spangler's questions led him to invent a crude, but workable vacuum cleaner. He then sought out an old friend in the leather business to finance the manufacturing of his invention. The man's name was H.W. Hoover. Not only did Hoover Vacuum Cleaners become very popular, but "hoovering" became, for at least one generation, synonymous with sweeping floors.


William Glasser. It would be a name and theory base that I would become quite familiar with in my college education. His formation of Control Theory and Reality Therapy stem from his core beliefs surrounding individual choice. Do me a favor and stick with me as I share with you the Ten Axioms of Control Theory, the basis of the Glasserian perspective:

  1. The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.
  2. All we can give another person is information.
  3. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.
  4. The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
  5. What happened in the past has everything to do with what we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
  6. We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our Quality World.
  7. All we do is behave.
  8. All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology.
  9. All Total Behavior is chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components. We can only control our feeling and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.
  10. All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.

In a simple nutshell, Dr. Glasser and his theoretical framework advocates the power of individual choice and the responsibility we each have in making our individual choices. For example, he would be a person who would not want to know WHY the dog chewed up your homework, but rather WHEN you were going to redo it and turn it in.

So often we find ourselves licking our emotional wounds and feeling more like a victim rather than a victor at the end of any given day. Can we change the genetic make-up or heredity of our very being? No, but like any painter, we have to work with the colors we have and paint our own unique background and scenery.

Our fellow human being, Murray Spangler, could easily have gone home each day and just complained about the boring job of sweeping up the same old dust. But he went beyond that point and realized that he had control over his behavior and his attitude in addressing his life situations. And he did something about it. He didn't have all the financial resources at his disposal. He didn't come from an affluent background or was equipped with an extraordinary IQ. He just went beyond his original choice to be satisfied with the ordinary and venture into the extraordinary.

We each have the same ability as Murray Spangler: our individual choice to see beyond the actual of our life and see into the potential. It's your choice - grab the broom or grab the Hoover...


Post Note: Glasserian theory further outlines seven caring habits and seven deadly habits of humans from which we draw. Would you like to know what they are? They're listed below for your perusal.


Negotiating differences


Bribing or rewarding to control

Again, it is your choice from which list you draw your habits. Think about it.

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