Teaching: The only behaviour we can control

QUALITY SCHOOL RESOURCES  Choice Theory Axioms Workshop from Murray High School

Axiom #1 The only behavior we can control is our own.

1. Have a student read Axiom #1 aloud to the rest of the group.

2. (10 min.) Allow students to declare whether or not they agree with this
axiom. Each student should give some examples to
support their opinions.

Count up how many agree and how many disagree and write the
number below:

Agree with Axiom #1 Disagree with Axiom #1

At beginning: ________ _______
At ending: ________ _______

3. (10 min.) Brainstorm a list of as many situations as possible in the following

I can’t help it when…. I can make someone….

a. I get angry. a. angry.
b. I get depressed. b. depressed.
c. I feel hopeless. c. frustrated.
d. I feel useless. d. happy.
e. I am sick. e. ready to abandon me.
f. someone breaks up with me. f. motivated.
g. g.

4. (10 min.) Discuss each situation listed and weigh it for its TRUTH VALUE.

For instance:

He: I can’t help it when I get angry. I just lose it and when I’m in that state, heaven
help everyone around me. They’d better get out of my way.
She: Do you have a ‘safety switch’? How do you calm down? What methods have
you developed? Do you think you’re going to end up in jail because you
can’t control your anger?

5. (25 min.) Glasser says the world can be divided up into two groups of
Those we own or TRY to own Those we don’t own nor try to own

a. mother a. best friend
b. father b. classmates
c. siblings c. acquaintances
d. boy/girlfriends d. bosses
e. e.

— In what sense do we own the people in the list above?

— Who do we have a “right” to own or to control in some way? Explain.

— Who tries to own or to control you in some way? For what purpose? How
does it make you feel?

— How do we treat those people who we DO NOT try to control?

— Why is there a difference in these lists?

— Is it ever dangerous to try to control someone else? Explain.

— Why don’t we simply “live and let live”? Why do we keep trying to make
other people do what they don’t want to do? How successful are we at
forcing others to do our will? Explain.

— How successful are other people in trying to control us and in getting us to
do what we don’t want to do? Explain.

6. (10 min.) Which person below can control your actions? Explain.

a. Parent: “Mow the lawn, NOW!”
b. Teacher: “I want you to turn your homework in on time.”
c. Husband: “You’ll regret it if you talk smart to me.”
d. Boss: “I’ll raise your salary if you successfully complete this
e. Friend: “If you don’t come to this movie with me, I’ll go with Sam
f. Mugger: “Give me your money or I’ll shoot you dead.”

7. (10 min.) Introduction to the connecting habits/disconnecting habits….

Questions to consider after the workshop:

1. Why do we even have statements like, “I have to…” or “I can’t help it when…” or
“He made me….”?
— external control psychology

2. How much of our lives are we responsible for creating?
— What can’t we control?

3. Have we improved our ability to relate to one another over the course of
human history?

4. What are some empowering ways to say what we’re feeling when we feel we
have few choices, instead of “I have to…” or “I can’t help it that…

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