Lesson 8— Self-Control
In the previous lesson (Lesson 7 — Enthusiasm) you learned the value of enthusiasm. You also learned how to generate enthusiasm and how to transmit it’s influence to others, through the principle of suggestion.
Now begins the study of self-control, through which you may direct your enthusiasm to constructive ends. Enthusiasm is the vital quality that arouses you to action, while self-control is the balance wheel that directs your action so that it will build up and not tear down.
The Benefits of Self-Control
Self-Control has many positive effects. As you develop it, you will:
- Increase the intensity of your thinking and imagination
- Acquire a pleasing and convincing tone of voice
- Reduce the drudgery in your work
- Have a more attractive personality
- Gain self-confidence
- Strengthen your mental and physical health
- Build your personal initiative
- Overcome physical and mental fatigue more easily
- Spread your enthusiasm to others
Dangers of Losing Self-Control
Lack of Self-control can generate unwarranted enthusiasm which has effects similar to gasoline. Properly employed, it can do magnificent things. But if you spill it about carelessly, you run the risk of a catastrophe. One danger is that your enthusiasm can lead you to monopolize conversation. If you do nothing but talk about yourself, people will tune you out, forget anything worthwhile that you have to say, and refuse to offer you aid and advice when you seek it. You must also take care that your enthusiasm does not cloud your judgment. Don’t reveal your plan to competitors because you think it’s so good. If you can see its value, so will others. Don’t rush ahead when your plans for your definite purpose call for resources or circumstances that have not appeared.
And don’t let your enthusiasm find expression in the wrong things, It’s fine to enjoy diversions which bring other benefits, like relaxing fishing trips or mind-broadening reading. But if you pour all your enthusiasm into these things, you won’t have any left for your definite major purpose, and soon you won’t have the resources for your diversions either.
The Well-Developed Person Maxims of Self-Control
A person with well-developed self-control will not permit himself to be influenced by the cynic or the pessimist; nor will he permit another person to do his thinking for him.
A person with well-developed self-control will stimulate his imagination and his enthusiasm until they have produced action, but he will then control that action and not permit it to control him.
A person with well-developed self-control will never, under any circumstances, slander another person or seek revenge for any cause whatsoever.
A person with well-developed self-control will not hate those who do not agree with him; instead, he will endeavor to understand the reason for their disagreement, and profit by it.
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How to Develop Self-Control
Here are the steps to building your Self-Control:
- First you need to identify in what areas of your life you need to gain more self-control. Where do you find yourself lacking in self-control?
Possible areas could be:
- Eating junk food or overeating
- Addiction to shopping
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Spending too many hours working and leaving no time for anything else
- Addiction to gambling
- Obsessive behavior
- Being quick to get angry
2. Try identifying the emotions that lack control, such as anger, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, resentment or fear.
3. Devote a few minutes every day for thinking about the consequences of this behavior and how your life would be different without them.
4. Visualize yourself acting with self-control and self-restraint. Take one of the instances where you usually act with lack of control, and visualize that you are acting calmly and with self-mastery.
5. Increase your capacity for pressure: Learn how to manage stress by stopping to take a few deep breaths when we feel overwhelmed or tempted
6. Postpone things for later, to gain focus on what’s important now.