What does it take to become successful in life? Is good marks in college the key to success? Is it intelligence? Is good family background the ultimate key to success? What about ability to exercise self-control and keep temptations in check! There are many studies that indicate that one key attribute of successful people is that they do not allow their heart to rule their head. Psychologists have found that self-control is strongly associated with the label that we call success.
The failure to control the self is often related to how you see the activities that are related to self-control. For instance, do you see activities like eating in moderate quantities or being punctual as a necessity or something that has been imposed on you by an external force? Millions of youngsters fall prey to vices like overeating, lazy lifestyle, binge drinking, smoking, etc. People, more particularly the youngsters, find the constant battle with basic urges is frequently too great and their self-control buckles.
Exercising self control
For many self control is a difficult concept to grasp. This is because, as humans, we are often governed by our emotions. Compulsiveness, addictions, obsessions, irrationality and other self-destructive behaviours are the part of today’s youth culture. From overeating, procrastinating, impulsive buys, drug and alcohol abuse, a lack of self control in your daily life will eventually catch up with you if it hasn’t already.
Self control is something that becomes an inextricable part of our personality. If you are capable of exercising self control, then you might not even know about it. On any given day, you might be feeling depressed but you will not try to drown your sorrows by overeating or drinking. You might be late for work, but you will abide by the speed limit. These are some of the things that you have learned from life’s experience.
Basically self control can be defined as a combination of will, commitment, courage and taking responsibility. Self-control is all about free will and choice. You have to exercise it because you know that it is in your best interests to do so. If you are not habituated to exercising self-control then you will try to justify your irrational acts by thoughts like – what is the point of self-control when you are going to fail in the end anyways.
At times we become selective about our bad behaviours, we may control one bad behaviour, but we may not be able to control another bad behaviour. Self-control means that we have to be able to control to a large extent each and every act that our conscience tells us is a vice. You have to make a beginning by trying to pinpoint the exact areas of your life where you feel like you lack self-control the most. These areas may include eating, alcohol, smoking, procrastination, shopping, anger, etc.
Ideas for developing self-control
One technique for developing self-control is meditation. You can also try to begin your day with prayers and reading of scriptures. Such acts are proven to lead to improvement in your emotional intelligence. An active lifestyle is also necessary for development of self-control. If you’re having trouble in resisting the impulse to walk over to the office next door to let somebody have it, just keep on walking. You should have the impulse under control by the time you get back. Starting your day with a brisk walk in the neighbourhood park is also a good strategy.
Nothing lasts for ever, not even desire. Whenever you find yourself in a grip of a temptation, the rule of the thumb should be that you have to wait for at least 10 minutes before succumbing. You will often find that the great wave of desire is now little more than a ripple that you have the power to step right over. In many attempts at self-control there can be a vicious cycle of failing to control oneself. This can also lead to feelings of intense self-hatred and disgust.
A vicious cycle of failing to control oneself followed by feeling intense self-hatred and disgust is common in attempts at self-control. At times, these emotions can lead to over-indulging in the offending behaviour. When you slip up, it is critical that you forgive yourself and move on. While it is necessary that you should not ignore how the mistake makes you feel, you should refrain from wallowing in it. Instead, you should shift your attention to what you can do to improve yourself in the future.
Decoding human nature
Because of human nature, even the most self-disciplined person can succumb to something they know to not be good. The key is to always strive to do what’s best and not let the first time you “give in” again to become the first of many “giving ins.” Having control over all aspects of your life is empowering. Demonstrating self control is a lifelong process that takes daily practice. The important thing that you must recognise the moments where you are struggling with self-control. Rather than giving in to impulse, you should strengthen your self-control.