Toy Smith said, "Self-control (discipline) is the fire by which talent becomes ability". We all have the potential and capabilities needed to do great things; however, life challenges can cause us to lose focus on our abilities. To overcome this huge distraction we must execute self-control. Gordon MacDonald says that "when we are afraid of discipline we do the minimum and when we are unafraid of control (discipline) we have no problem doing the maximum". It's simple, to improve ourselves we must be willing to control ourselves.
1. Thinking – Our minds are powerful. What we think about usually becomes our reality. To get to any goal requires a directed focus with controlled thoughts. Achieving goals is almost impossible with negative thoughts. If we don't believe it, then we probably won't do it. This doesn't mean that it can never ever happen, but it does mean that our thoughts are making it impossible for it to be a reality for us.
Work on having controlled thoughts by only allowing the ones that produce success to linger around. Separate your negative thoughts from the positive ones. This doesn't mean that you ignore reality but it means that you control the thoughts you allow to develop. Be thought controlled to achieve the success you desire.
2. Emotions – We are emotional creatures, full of passions and feelings. When we get up in the morning how we feel is usually the number one concern. How we feel usually determines what we do or how well we will do it. Feelings are real, but shouldn't be the final say in what we do. John Maxwell says that we can either master our feelings or be mastered by them. To master them does not mean that we overlook them and act as if they don’t exist but it does mean that we will not allow our feelings and emotions to drive and push us to do things that we don’t want.
Put your feelings and emotions in their place by mastering (controlling) them. When you feel a certain way, think through that feeling or emotion to the end before acting on it. Ask yourself, "What would happen if I acted the way I feel or allowed this feeling to tell me what to do". If you see the outcome is not successful, push it out with positive ones. Continue to control your emotions.
3. Actions – We have heard the phrase, "Actions speak louder than words". Simply put, it’s easier to judge what is being done instead of what is being said. But we must not stop with just knowing that. We must all work at aligning our words and our actions to achieve success for our future.
Let your actions meet your verbal obligations or sentiments. Control your words. Be honest with yourself first by studying what you will be talking about before opening your mouth. If little is known, keep your mouth shut. Words are meaningless without the actions to support them but beautiful when they are supported with loving actions. Select your words wisely and remember few are needed when actions are boldly speaking.
Summary – To live a controlled life for success - think instead of reacting, process emotions instead of losing them, and act out positive desires instead of just talking about them. Don't base today's decisions on short-term feelings but on what's required for the long-term goal. Live controlled!