While sitting in traffic, you notice a driver behind you who keeps switching lanes. He started behind you, then he changed lanes into the fast lane to your left. Traffic slowed, so he jumped back behind you. As you continue in the slow lane at the same pace, you notice that this driver is accelerating and decelerating wildly. You think, “What is going on with this guy?”
A little further down the road he finally makes it to the left of you. He jumps ahead and squeezes into the small amount of space you were leaving between your car and the car in front of you. He slams on his brakes without warning.
You have two options:
- You contribute to the chaos and choose to let the rest of your day be defined by chaos and extreme emotions.
- Or, you give him some space, hope that he will be ok, and think the best of him.
It is really easy to flip the switch and let our circumstances rule us. We can let it snowball and wreck our entire day. When we do this, we lose our ability to be intentional and focused. We give up our personal rights to having a good day.
On the other hand, when we choose to have a positive outlook on whatever our situation, we give ourselves the power over any situation. Instead of having our day ruined by someone else, we can have the best day yet.
Right to Choose
You have the right to choose your day. It is within your power to do something great. Your day is your own responsibility. What will you do with it?
Most of us give up our control in these situations and forfeit our rights to living freely in control.
When we hold on to our emotions in difficult situations, we step outside of those circumstances. And when we do that, we get to impact the world for good.
Control What You Can Control
There are plenty of things you cannot control. Illness, other people, the weather, to name a few. In those instances, we don’t try to control those people or things. We will have to interact with them, but we cannot control them.
What do we do?
We control how we respond. Our response and self-control in those situations define how things will go. If you respond poorly, you lose control. If you respond well, you give yourself the power and right for a good day.
Why is it important to have self-control?
I made it well into my twenties without much self-control in my life. I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and didn't much care how it impacted the world around me. Then, I got married. I realized that the way I reacted and responded to things around me meant something.
All of a sudden, it wasn't just me. It was my wife and I that were impacted by the lack of control in my life.
It was also around this time I started working in corporate America. Working for a bigger company with lots of rules and rigidity took away my lifestyle of whimsy. In fact, this new job told me that whimsy had to go out the door and I needed to focus on processes and structure.
In the time span of a year, I had a rude awakening to the fact that I needed more self-control in my life.
Self-control is important because we affect others.
I never really understood this until I got married and started working for that big company. My lack of self-control impacted the lives of those around me. If I didn't pull in my ability to control myself, which was the one thing I can control, I would easily upset my wife and get in trouble at work.
So, next time you want to do something on your own, throw a temper-tantrum like a child or assert yourself for your own justice a pleasure, remember that your actions will affect someone else. And, that impact on others might do more harm than good.