When was the last time you were in a frustrating situation? Some time ago, I was having a hard time with a cable company. Two people with the company confirmed I was never notified about a bill in which they sent me to a collection agency. The amount? $34.00.
I asked if they would write off the amount or if they would do something to make it right. Both individuals treated me like I had never paid a bill with them. Then I lost my cool and berated the customer service representative. I completely lost control of myself.
I used to be a volatile person. The conflict was not the problem for me. I could deal with most conflicts in a calm manner. However, when someone would make it personal against me, I was no longer able to hold back my frustration, anger, and dissatisfaction.
Losing my head, I would shoot back and become more difficult and mean. Anyone who ended up in the way of these situations would experience the worst of me.
“Self-control is not the ability to say no to bad things. Self-control is the ability to say yes to something so completely that all other options are eliminated.” — Danny Silk
It was shortly after that experience where I had the tables turned on me at my job. Someone tried to run over me to get their way while I was in the customer service representative’s seat. I felt terrible. Not only for the way I was treated, but immediately I thought about how I had treated others. It was almost devastating to me to think about how that person felt when I was so upset.
These two events sent me down a new quest in my journey toward living intentionally. It also provided me with a new reality. Self-control is one of the greatest acts of intentional living. It permeates all facets of our lives. From goal setting and life planning to daily interactions and working through resistance. If we can control ourselves, we can truly act intentionally in all parts of our lives.
“Self-control is one of the greatest acts of intentional living.”
There is good news though. We can create more self-control in our lives. If you are like me or have experienced this in the past in other areas of your life, we need something to help us to have more control over our lives. Now, the example above is something that I have worked through, but there are other areas in my life where I am developing better self-control even today.
Develop Self-Control Now
“I value self-discipline, but creating systems that make it next to impossible to misbehave is more reliable than self-control.” — Tim Ferriss
One of the first ways I have learned to create better self-control in my life has been to create systems to help me. Sometimes the systems are simple. For example, I have a sticky note in my cubicle for dealing with difficult customers. All it says is, “Clarify, Calm, Can Do.” When someone is difficult, or when I feel difficult, I have found clarifying what we are discussing in a calm manner helps the situation. The “can-do” part is what I can do. No one likes to hear what they cannot do. One sticky note has been the best system to keep me from losing my cool with customers.
“Your goals don’t care how you feel.” — Unknown
In life, when things feel out of control and crazy, I tend to go down the “rabbit-hole.” I start to think about all these crazy things and start to lose any control over myself. What I have found is if I look at my goals and life plan, I am able to start to get back on track. It is because I am looking at what is most important to me. And when I focus on my priorities, it helps give me action steps to move forward.
“The price of greatness is responsibility.” — Winston Churchill
We need to take responsibility for ourselves. There is no other person that will help us to have self-control. We are the ones who will choose to live differently and act differently. If we forfeit our choice to have self-control, we will never be able to live the life we desire. Our ability to take responsibility for who we are will give us a great advantage over others and any situation we will encounter.
“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.” — Confucius
Next time you are in one of those frustrating situations, remember you are the one who is in control. Remember you have systems you to develop and maintain your composure. Always be mindful of our goals and where we want to be in life. Most of all, remember to live the life you desire, you need to take responsibility for yourself.