COLLEGE PARK, MD –
Self-control is one of the greatest determinants of destiny.
Without it we can’t achieve anything – material or immaterial. But it is so hard to exhibit.
We’ve previously touched on one key of self-control: learning to love what is good for us and hate what is bad for us.
That is a very manual process, however. It is extremely labor intensive – requiring constant vigilance and decision making.
Let’s be honest, it is tiring.
Balancing this effort with a more automated process gives us the best chance at remaining true to our values.
Automation is all the rage in our day and age. We automate jobs, cars, marketing, cooking, and an endless list of other pursuits.
Why not automate our efforts at self-control? We are weak human beings, we have a limited reservoir of energy. Self-control requires energy.
So if at every turn we are having to employ energy to avoid engaging in incorrect behavior, soon we will be out of energy and be left defenseless against vice.
For sure, we have to engage in this manual struggle. But to avoid burnout and subsequent failure, we need to balance our efforts with some automation.
The way to automate our self-control efforts is by engaging in good deeds, fostering good thoughts, and receiving good with grace.
We give with goodness, take with goodness, and think good thoughts. That takes manual labor. It leads to and is balanced by automated, exponential self-control.
If we fight ourselves to not speak ill of someone else, our best outcome is to succeed in not speaking ill of him or her. That’s great, but it stops there and we’ll have depleted finite energy to make the next decision with.
Conversely, if we use that energy to quiet our selves and replace the negative thought about the person with a positive thought, we will not keep ruminating on the negative trait we see in them.
At that point we won’t have to keep employing our energy on the same fight against slandering that person. The energy we put into fighting our negative thoughts against him or her will automate that process.
We will be free from the clutches of the obsession with that person’s negative trait and be able to use our energy to fend off other issues we need to clean up in our lives.
In the same vein, we can try and stay away from sweets by sheer self-control alone. That is, again, an unnecessary waste of finite energy – even if we succeed.
Being active throughout the day, perhaps taking a walk, and appreciating the healthy physical state we enjoy from such activities will make it almost second nature to avoid the sweets. We won’t want them.
That energy can be used in more productive places than the same battle over and over again.
It takes a lot of effort to automate our self-control, but the result is exponential.
We put the effort in anyway, let’s get wiser about how we employ it and start letting it work for us.