THE PRACTICE OF SELF-CONTROL
Author: Dancing Idiot
Self-control is the ability to controlthe expression of our emotions and desires under stress
Fear, envy and rage are emotions. They come upon us unbidden, both because we are human and weak but also from our hard-wired instinct to survive. Self-control is not the absence of emotion, but the ability to control its external manifestation.
Practice is the regular performance of an activity or exercise of a skill in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency
When we speak in terms of a practice we usually are referring to a profession or religion, as in a doctor practicing medicine. We don’t think of self-control as something to be practiced. Instead, when we speak of self-control, we usually express it as a status, possession or discrete effort as in:
STATUS: I need to be more self-controlled
POSSESSION: She needs to have more self-control
EFFORT: He needs to exert more self-control
Self-control is a skill, not a characteristic
The problem with viewing self-control as a status, possession or effort is the implication that it is something you have rather than something that you do. If it were the former, we should be able to dial it up whenever we need it. It should be as easy as flipping the self-control switch to “on” so that we can beself-controlled.
Alas, we know it’s not that easy. Self-control is not something that can be summoned on demand during periods of stress, any more than one could simply summon the ability to play the piano. Self-control, like the piano, is a skill not a characteristic.
Just as with playing the piano or performing surgery, self-control is not a skill that can be picked up casually, like learning a card trick or how to tie a square knot. Just as a man commits himself to the practice of medicine, by determining to perform it with unwavering determination, he must also commit himself to the practice of self-control.
Self-control requires daily practice
Somes skills really are just like riding a bike. Once you have learned them, you never forget. Just hop back on and start pedaling. Self-control is not like that. It’s more like flying a plane. The less regularly you practice it, the less skilled you will be and the more likely it will be that you will crash under stress. A rusty pilot might get by in clear skies, but periodic practice is required for him to be prepared to land safely in a storm.
It is for the unexpected event that we need practice self-control
Just as the sudden storm proves the pilot’s skill, it will be those unexpected chaotic moments in our lives that test our mettle as self-controlled Leaders. Since (by definition) we cannot anticipate the unexpected, the only way to be prepared for those challenges is to continually seek to improve our self-control in every situation in which we find ourselves.
1 Corinthians 2:1-16
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” –Alphonse Karr
“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” –Duke Ellington
“One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.” –John Stuart Mill
Motivation plays a huge role in your success in anything you attempt. If you want to lose weight, take your workouts to the next level, or get a promotion you must find and feed your motivation.
Motivation will help maintain your focus when you hit those bumps in the road that we all hit. You may get sick while training, may spend a couple of weeks at a plateau as you are losing weight or your competition may get the first promotion. Whatever the bump in the road, they will happen. It’s just the way the world works.
So what is it that successful people do to continue feeding your motivation. There are several factors that are important to continue your quest for success.
First you can create a mantra, or something that you can say aloud and print on paper to look at each day. Believe it or not, you become what you believe you will become. Some people think that mantras are religious but they can be as simple as “I am a calm person” or “I am in control”. The only requirement is that it works in your situation.
Next understand that you need focus. Many people, especially women, are great at multi-tasking. This can work for you or against you. In the case of feeding your motivation it will work against you. Work on focusing on the moment in time that you are living. If you are finishing one project, don’t think about the next one, or dinner or your boss.
Find your quiet place. The world if full of noise, confusion and fast paced people looking for the next great answer. You have to slow down and find your quiet space. There has to be a time you find to recharge your own batteries or you won’t be able to continue to work.
Organization is key. You may have a disorganized nature but it won’t be in your best interest to continue this habit when you are striving for success. If you can’t be organized then find help to get you organized. The space around you is a good indicator of what is happening inside of you. If your space is cluttered it’s a fair bet that your mind is also.
All of this focus and strategist feeding your motivation can sometimes keep you focused inward. People who are successful are also able to recognize the world around them and focus outward. Focus outward to really see the problems and personal matters of others. It is not necessary to commit hours of your time but it is important to help others such as working at a blood drive or food drive, gather blankets for the local shelter or animal shelter.
And don’t forget yourself. In all of the movement toward your success don’t forget about taking care of yourself. While you are focusing on the moment with your significant other or children also remember to find time to focus on yourself. This may be harder that you anticipate since we don’t seem to be wired to take care of ourselves first. And when you are focused on feeding your motivation taking care of yourself may take a back seat. It can’t. Without self-preservation and recharging your own batteries you won’t be feeding your motivation – just killing it