Updated: July 11, 2020
What is self-mastery? The dictionary in our home 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 calm presence, steadfast focus, and admirable discipline and self-control.
“Courage, hard work, self-mastery, and intelligent effort are all essential to 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 goal 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?
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
Have personal goals
Having a vision of how you want your life to be is the first step towards 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.
Do not linger in negativity
We are humans, and it’s but 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.
Stop the blame
The government, the economy, your boss, your colleagues, your parents, your siblings, your friends – stop blaming them for your misfortunes. There are people who have lived through worse circumstances but still managed to succeed in life.
Furthermore, stop blaming yourself for your misfortunes. Needless worry, incessant blame and self-pity never solved anything – they are but chains that are holding you back from reaching your true potential.
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.
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 everyday.
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.
Achieve one goal everyday
Your goals in life are but a sum of different goals, which can likewise be broken down to smaller, everyday goals. Self-mastery is about making sure that those little tasks gets done.
Self-mastery, like any skill, needs time, conscious effort and constant practice. But I assure you, that once you’ve achieved it, life will become easier – better.