How to Take Charge

Bill Abbate

Do you feel like you have a handle on yourself? In other words, do you have command of who you are, who you are becoming, and what you do each day? How can you gain this kind of control in your life? Do you know the limits of control you have over yourself? How about over others? Let's answer these questions and more.

Where do you have control in life?

Have you ever attempted to control someone else? Not a good idea, is it? As a parent, you have influence over your child or children, yet how much do you actually control them, especially as they age?

But there must be some things we can control in other people. Sure, you may have limited power over things like your spouse's spending or employee activities at work. But these are very specific areas with limits of their own.

The only thing you have complete dominion over in life is yourself. Yet how well do you control your life? As noted more than 500 years ago by the famous Italian polymath:

"You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself." Leonardo da Vinci

Let's get clear on two terms before going further – self-control and self-discipline. While they may sound similar, they are different yet complementary.

· Self-control is about short-term or immediate decisions by making good choices and exercising your ability to influence or regulate your thoughts and behaviors.

· Self-discipline impacts long-term actions creating good habits that bring order to your life.

How do you control yourself?

Only by developing the ability to manage yourself while being disciplined can you take charge of your life for the long run. Without self-control, you will have little order in your life.

By adding self-discipline to self-control, you gain a tremendous benefit in your life, called freedom!

"Through discipline comes freedom." Aristotle

Who doesn't want more freedom? Let's now discuss the reality of life and how to help you gain more of it.

Most of my readers may not need to hear what I am about to say, but just in case, I don't want to leave the hard truth unsaid, so please don't take offense. If it stings, well, you will know what you need to do.

Simply put, a lack of self-control comes from not taking responsibility for yourself. Shirking your responsibility means you are immature (at least in the area affected).

You want to be a mature, responsible, adult do you not? You can be if you choose discipline over disorder. To become disciplined, you must become thoughtful. To remain undisciplined is to remain thoughtless, especially when you know it is something you should or should not do.

"What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do." Aristotle

By instilling discipline in any area of life, you gain more dominion over yourself.

For example, you are in charge of the food you eat, but you may still lack self-control. Only through self-control can you choose to put healthier food in the right amount in your mouth. Through self-discipline, you can make this change permanent.

Another major area that may require some self-discipline is in our job. Coming out of the pandemic, some of us could have gotten a bit lackadaisical. By disciplining ourselves to keep regular hours, the transition back to the office will be far easier.

Finally, each of us must create clear boundaries in our lives. As you define these boundaries, you can work on self-control and develop new habits of discipline. What are some areas in which you can start? A great place to begin is with your behaviors, thoughts, attitude, and demeanor. As you work to develop control and discipline in each of these areas, life will become far easier for you, providing the freedom you so deserve.

Final thoughts

Practically everyone wants control over their lives, but few have the self-discipline needed. By working on your ability to manage yourself while becoming disciplined, you can gain that command you desire and obtain the freedom that comes with it!

As you develop more self-discipline and self-control, your chance of achieving what you want in life will increase. Set some goals, work hard, and you will position yourself to achieve more than you thought possible!

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment." Jim Rohn

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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