The importance of self-control is paramount. Without self-control we will end up hurting ourselves, hurting the people around us, and making our lives a mess!
Sometimes a lack of self-control can take more of a passive form. A river without banks will not flow in any specific direction. Over time it will turn into a stinky bog. A similar dynamic can occur in our lives if we don’t have any “banks”.
What does it specifically mean to have self-control? Well, self-control is when you tap into your personal power to tell yourself what to do no matter how you feel. There are four main areas of self-control:
1) Your Words: Words are powerful. In history, words have been rendered to build and tear down kingdoms. In similar fashion we can use our words to build ourselves and people around us up or use them to tear down. To possess self-control over our tongue is to possess a special gift. If we say whatever we feel like saying, it has been likened that our tongue is like an uncontrolled fire that will consume us. Our tongue has also been likened to a rudder on a ship, steering it in proper course; we will shipwreck if we don’t use it correctly!
2) Our thoughts: In reference to the example of a river without banks, if we do not control our thoughts we will develop some “stinkin thinkin”! Our minds will become a stinky bog of negativity. This disposition will affect our demeanor, our physical body and nervous system, our conversations, and the way we live our life. Ultimately if we do not control our thoughts, we will have no control over our lives and will greatly suffer. Most successful people were not naturally wired so. Their minds were diligently conditioned to think in the right ways. We need to get rid of negative, bad thoughts and dwell on empowering good thoughts!
3) Our actions: This is what we do. Obviously, if we do not control our actions we will destroy our lives, our relationships, and our opportunities. We experience great pleasure when we learn to tell ourselves what to do and do it no matter how we are feeling. How often have you used the excuse, “I didn’t feel like it?” What was the outcome of that choice? For most people it is regret or some immediate repercussion. There is not a single athlete in the world that did not learn to take action even when they didn’t feel like it.
4) Our feelings: We cannot help how we feel, but we can control how we respond to our feelings. We can learn to not let our feelings master or us or dictate our reactions. The biggest aspect of maturity is really quite simple: we learn to let our emotions pass through us without acting on them impulsively. Ever felt like you wanted to punch your sibling/yell at someone in a parking lot/tell your parents or your boss off? Probably not good ideas! Controlling your feelings is to let the impulse pass and look for more constructive ways to express your anger, fear, or whatever you are feeling. Fight or flight? Well…take a deep breath, maybe neither!
Self-control is so important in order to live a meaningful, fulfilling life. Even more powerful is when we learn to move in the exact opposite spirit. This opens a whole world of opportunity! If we feel like giving up, instead we press in harder. If we feel like lashing out at someone, instead we say something encouraging. If we feel like binging on junk food we make ourselves an organic smoothie. You see how that works? We command our actions and ultimately the responsible for the outcome of our life.