Self-control Gives Us Power

Self-control is a personal strength, that also affects our relationship and project skills. Not having this skill, can easily result in abusive relationships and make successful conflict resolution almost impossible. Impulsive actions and reactions often result in destroying the budget, poor decision-making and the inability to stay organized. Although self-control may sound very restrictive, in reality, a little goes a long way. And once we start seeing positive changes in our lives, practicing it will become much easier.

Self-discipline, which sounds even more restrictive, actually comes from the Latin word disciplina, meaning education. Therefore, we can either approach the skill as a negative thing (denial: “I can’t do this” and “I can’t do that.”) Or we can think of it as a positive thing (learning process: “Now I know I could do this instead of that, which will result in a far better outcome.”) Either way you look at it, developing self-discipline will result in greater success in the future.

Patience is an important element in self-control. Patience allows us to consider the big picture, and realize that achieving some goals may take time. This does not mean we can't move quickly to take advantage of an opportunity. It means we should evaluate the opportunity in terms of its long-term benefit, first. How does it fit in our overall plan for success? In acquiring patience and self-control, impulse actions should generally be avoided. Since by nature, impulses are things done without thinking.

Overall self-control is a very important basic life skill, and without doubt, a critical success factor.


How can I start building self-control / self-discipline?

I will start by recognizing and appreciating my power.

For people who have always let others determine what they will do and how they will feel, this step may seem impossible to achieve. It is not. It will just take some time.

Building self-confidence would help increase the belief that we can achieve our goals. And as with any other skill, start small. Begin by evaluating negative feelings (anger, frustration, sadness) when you are alone and think about ways you might change them. Is there a specific reason for these feelings? If so, what can you do to address the reason? If not, what can you do to move beyond these feelings and replace them with positive feelings? Positive feelings inspire a positive attitude, which will make achieving goals easier.

I will recognize where my power ends and the power of others begins.

Boundaries are important. Not only do they help us personally, but they are also an important part of every positive relationship. Trying to make someone else do something can result in feelings of frustration, anger and rejection, if they don’t do it. We should definitely try to persuade or influence them, if we feel the situation is important. But we have to know when to quit. The final decision for what they do or say, is up to them.

I will focus on the things I can control.

Regardless of what other people say or do, we have complete control over our actions, reactions, emotions and attitude - our AREA of Control. Acknowledging and using this area allows for at least some control over every situation.

I will manage my stress.

Stress management skills allow a calmer approach to most situations. This results in being able to think more clearly, which is essential in the development of many other life skills.

I will take more time to evaluate situations.

It is important to recognize when others are trying to manipulate our behavior. (Even well-intentioned guidance can become manipulation, if advice becomes demands.) Then make a conscious decision whether that particular action, reaction or emotion is what we want. It might help to think about their motives. Are they really thinking about our best interests, or is it strictly for their benefit?

Remember, it's okay to agree with them; it's okay to disagree with them. As long as you make the final decision as to what you will do and how you will feel.

I will resist impulses.

Sometimes being impulsive can be fun. Most would agree, however, that impulsive behavior can lead to problems or difficult situations. Self control does not mean we should never be impulsive. It means we should consider potential consequences. The more serious or negative the consequences, the more we should considered avoiding the impulse.

I will create a general plan for my future.

Personal goal-setting keeps us on track toward our vision of success. If we know what we want and where we are headed, it makes it easier to decide which actions, reactions and emotions will best get us what we want out of life. This will help us emphasize the positive and eliminate or minimize the negative in any given situation.

I will find balance.

Constantly letting other people control or dictate our actions, reactions and emotions can have very negative results. So too, can controlling our actions, reactions and emotions to the point of becoming no more than a robot. We should not feel that we have to guard ourselves against every person all of the time.

Self-control or self-discipline means exercising appropriate control in all situations. Certainly, with people we trust and respect – and who trust and respect us - we can be more spontaneous in our actions, reactions and emotions.