Your individual road to success will have no shortage of challenges. Every achievement you’ve made has likely required you to overcome certain amount of difficulty, forcing you to develop as a person. The positive steps you make in life is associated with an equal step forward in your strength and character. Since your potential is unlimited, then your challenges will be countless. Nevertheless, by possessing the right virtues, you won’t have to worry about difficulties that may be around the corner. One of the most important virtues you can ever acquire in life, is self control.
Keep it together, even if the rest of the world doesn’t
The world can be a great paradox at times. In some instances, human potential seems limitless, amazing, and sublime. And sometimes, it seems like society itself is unraveling, making religious scholars and philosophers forecast the end of the world sooner and sooner.
But, there’s only one person you can control, and that’s you, my friend.
Your ability to recognize and control your own emotions and behaviors, no matter what happens outside of you, will keep you successful, safe, and sane. This is one of the many attributes possessed by the greats of the world. Great people of every endeavor have the ability to stay focused under pressure, use their words wisely, and keep a sensible, sober-mind when chaos arises. You will be one of them.
Don’t focus on others
We will never know why people do what they do. It really doesn’t matter. We can’t control them. Just remember, people are fighting their own battles. Battles we can’t see. We have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes of someone’s life, we only receive their output. Give them some slack, and don’t falling victim to a own lack of self-control.
Great husbands and wives know to communicate, even when they’re stressed, hurt, or confused. Great leaders know not to panic in an emergency, and how to talk to interact to inspire their best work. Building self control naturally produces discipline. So your good habits can be repeated. Being in good health, or having a great physique, requires the ability to control your diet, exercise, and mental regimen.
Self control is not holding back. It’s exponentially better. Self control is separating yourself from your emotions, and allowing your brain and heart to work together to make good decisions. Emotions and sensations are fickle. They may be helpful, but, when left unchecked, your life can be controlled by feelings and hunger, and not by prudence and wisdom. You can destroy your body if you can’t control what you eat, and you can destroy your life if you can’t control your actions.
Self control requires balancing your emotions and intellect. Therefore, building it is an exercise of mind and body. Here’s how to build it when something happens:
- Acknowledge the emotions that you feel. You can even say to yourself, “I feel angry”, or “I feel afraid”. By doing this, you are being honest with yourself about your feelings, but you’re also separating yourself from it so you don’t become it. Emotions can form, but you can choose to act on them.
- Breathe. Though simplistic, breathing becomes very shallow during periods of tense emotions. Breathing deeply will literally get more oxygen to your brain, and regulate your heartbeat. You’ll be able to think clearly and keep your emotions in check. Now, you’re in control.
- Act. Now that you are aware of the situation, but you are still in your right mind (not overly-emotional, not tense), you can make a rational decision and solve the problem. Remember that people are fighting their own battles, and you can only control yourself.
That’s it. If you can do that for little problems, you’ll be ready for the big things life throws at you.
One final note. I mentioned that you can’t control others. This is true. But interestingly, your ability to control yourself will often result in good outcomes when you interact with others. You will diffuse tense situations, and build the love and respect of people around you. In truth, controlling yourself is the best shot you have at positively influencing the behavior of others. Keep that in mind.
Continue to develop your self control, and you’ll be golden.
Ancient wisdom for your journey:
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. – Prov. 25:28, KJV