Updated: July 31, 2023
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What is self-mastery? The dictionary defines it as having conscious control of one’s behavior or having self-command. Just by this meaning, you know that self-mastery is a big word, and indeed it is.
Because I believe it’s one of the things that can help a person succeed, not just financially, but in all other aspects of life.
When I first encountered the word self-mastery, the image that immediately popped into my head was Mr. Miyagi. He is the martial arts guru played by actor Pat Morita in the movie, The Karate Kid.
I believe his character best exemplifies self-mastery. Mr. Miyagi is a person with a calm presence, steadfast focus, and admirable discipline and self-control.
“Courage, hard work, self-mastery, and intelligent effort are all essential to a successful life.” –Theodore Roosevelt.
A person with self-mastery is someone who is in control of his emotions and actions, no matter what the situation is around him. He lives with a purpose and is disciplined enough to work towards his goals with focus, determination, and honor.
On the other hand, a person who has not yet mastered himself often acts on impulse and lets his emotions rule over his actions. He is indecisive because he doesn’t know what he wants. He drifts aimlessly and lives life just waiting for things to happen.
Do you have self-mastery or not?
How do you know if you have self-mastery or not? Well, when you’re given the wrong order in a restaurant, do you berate the server for the mistake? If you’re stuck in unexpected traffic for several hours, do you irritably blame the government for not having better transportation systems in the country?
When a colleague gets the job promotion you’ve been working hard for, do you get angry at your boss, then wallow quietly in self-pity? When you go to bed at night, do you often wish your life was different?
Self-mastery works in many areas of our lives, and there are many ways to harness its power. So how do you develop self-mastery in your life?
“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” –Lao Tzu.
1. Have personal goals.
Having a vision of how you want your life to be is the first step toward self-mastery. Setting goals will give you purpose and direction – which you can then use to synchronize your everyday thoughts and actions. Live with a purpose.
2. Do not linger on negativity.
We are humans, and it’s natural to feel pain, disappointment, and sadness. However, one should not stay weak and linger on these negative emotions.
Always have the strength to see opportunity in every failure – remember that there is always a silver lining.
3. Stop the constant blame.
The government, the economy, your boss, your colleagues, your parents, your siblings, your friends – you don’t have control over these, so constantly blaming them for your misfortunes is futile.
Furthermore, stop blaming yourself for the bad things that happened to you. People make mistakes, and what’s enough is to recognize them, learn from them, and move on. Needless worry, incessant blame, and self-pity never solve anything – they are but chains that are holding you back from reaching your true potential.
Instead, choose to move forward and take action.
4. Develop your awareness.
Be more aware of the people and circumstances that influence your everyday thoughts and actions, and then consciously remove yourself and avoid those situations that contribute nothing to the attainment of your goals.
Stay away from toxic people and environments.
5. Strengthen your willpower.
Staying focused on your goal and having the discipline to follow through is a test of your willpower. Self-mastery is about self-control – and always finding the strength to push further every day.
Remember that willpower is often strongest at the beginning – so always use that opportunity to make the biggest change; then use the positive results as momentum for your next burst of willpower.
6. Achieve one goal every day.
Your goals in life are but a sum of different goals, which can likewise be broken down into smaller, everyday goals. Self-mastery is about making sure that those little tasks get done.
Self-mastery, like any skill, needs time, a conscious effort, and constant practice. But I assure you that once you’ve achieved it, life will become easier. Life becomes better.
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