After the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game, a friend said, “Well, I guess self control will be the topic of your Monday Motivator this week.”
Of course, for most of us, our lack of self control doesn’t play out in front of thousands of people. It’s easier to hide, but the results can be just as devastating. When I think of my own big failures, they were most often caused by my not being able to control my big mouth, my emotional reactions, or my procrastination. We need intelligence, we need skill, but without self control, we’ll never go as far as we could.
I once had a colleague who was obsessed about being disrespected. She was often at odds with other colleagues, students, store clerks, and even strangers on the street because something said or done that she saw as a personal affront. She then attacked. Often the recipients of those attacks were stunned, since they were not aware that they had disrespected her in the first place.
She was also often in trouble with her boss, who stressed that she had another option instead of attacking; she could simply not respond. Looking at the situation from a distance of decades, I see now that she had very little control over her actions. There was something about her self-esteem (or lack of) that meant her first reaction was going to be to protect herself from any and all attacks. And she was not interested in learning other ways to respond. Later, she was angry again when she was overlooked for promotion because our boss didn’t want anyone in a leadership position who couldn’t control emotions and think before acting. Then I moved, and we lost touch. I hope her life got easier.
I write about self control now at the beginning of the year because many of us are making resolutions. We want to be better, more successful people. But we need that element of self control. We need to be able to hold off on a reaction and choose the better path.
It is a hard path that is hidden by thickets of excuses. Just read the interviews with Cincinnati players today. But it’s worth choosing.