The Internal Battle Known as Self-Control

The battle between emotional impulsiveness and doing what’s best for you is known as self-control. The only real control we have in life is that which we exercise over ourselves.

Self-control is the capacity to manage one’s feelings, thinking, and actions in order for something greater to be achieved. When you know how to direct your thoughts effectively, only then can you control your emotions. This then goes on to influence your actions.

If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterwards – Napoleon Hill.

In the late 1970s, when the psychologist Walter Mischel conducted ‘the marshmallow test; he discovered that children who, left alone in a room with a marshmallow on a plate, were able to resist eating it after being promised that they’d be rewarded with two in the future.

Some children demonstrated self-control; others didn’t. Further observations showed that the children who didn’t eat the marshmallow had fewer behavioural problems and better grades than those who did not delay gratification.

And thus, life presents us with options. You cannot always control what happens on your outside. But you can always control what happens on your inside. What we think, feel and how we react creates the reality we experience.

Willpower is the capacity to control one’s actions. The highest possible outcome in moral culture is when a person recognizes that they must learn how to control their thoughts, emotions, actions and behaviours.

Willpower allows people to focus their attention on things even when bombarded with competing information, and it underpins all sorts of success, from academics to the workplace to the boardroom to the bedroom.

Every day, you have the option to act and behave however you choose. The consequences of your behaviour will then either satisfy you or they won’t. Taking responsibility for this truth empowers us to change.

You might be adamant about conducting yourself in a certain way today, but the universal law of cause and effect confirms that your every action and attitude will generate a return – whether this is a positive or negative one for you.

So, the question that you might benefit from asking yourself is: What is worth exercising self-control for, even if it means compromising your short-term happiness or ego today?

You have power over your mind – not outside events. The day that you accept this truth will be the same day you will find deep inner strength.

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