Self control and self improvement.

  • Self control and self improvement.

Why does self improvement seem so difficult? Every day, one way or another, we are presented with the choice and opportunity to accomplish something that would pay off later instead of now. We only all often make the mistake of not seizing such opportunities.

Take for example activities like going to the beach, partying and all other activities of such sort. You temporarily feel good. These activities provide instant satisfaction, with memories that either last a life time or are immediately forgotten. But in the long run, maybe a year, two or maybe five from now, you look back and see what no actual progress was ever made in your life. Because you refused or were unable to give focus to things that actually mattered and misused the time you had. Not that leisure activities are entirely bad. But we should learn to create a balance in our individual lives. Between when to slack off, have fun and relax and also when to take life serious and do the needful.

We should also all be conscious of a concept called entropy in life. Entropy is the second law of thermo dynamics and stands for the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system. The common idea is that all things inside a system move towards disorder. That is reason for the popular saying “adapt or die”. If you don’t move forward, everything related to your life and you as an individual will deteriorate. That’s one big scare once you think of it. But the problem is this: the degree of deterioration is so small that we’re unable to take note on a day to day basis. We only come to realise after a long stretch of time when the results of our past endeavours begin to play out and danger is looming or disaster has struck.

You probably feel the same way as yesterday and feel as though nothing has changed, correct? Entropy in humans works over a long period. That’s why we feel no urgency in the need to improve ourselves today. We need self control to invest in ourselves despite seeing a lack of daily improvement.

How to develop self control.

  • Direct your energy towards useful pursuits.

This is a common theme with every person who is able to demonstrate a high level of self control. There is always a higher objective or goal. Early Nigerian nationalists, the likes of the late Sirs; Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo are people who strived to the very end to achieve self improvement in various intellectual fields. Which is why despite the numerous hurdles, they were able to fight and secure Nigeria her independence at the time they did.

Our lives might not have the same life and death stakes, but at the end of the day, we all need to have pursuits, a goal, an endgame of some sort, something to make the lives we are living worthwhile. And our pursuits must be useful. Shallow pursuits that only fulfil your materialistic desires will not motivate you to control urges. You need something that you hold so important that you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

  • Eliminate stress.

There’s some evidence that stress sabotages self control. When you’ve had a stressful moment at work, it’s tempting to grab one or two bars of candy to relieve the stress, right?

The same analogy is true for every other stress related behaviour. If you examine your life, you’ll realise that you do a lot of things just to manage this stress. In fact, surely, this is what most of us do. In order to actually and truly manage stress, we must structure our lives in ways that deplete stress levels to amounts we can handle.

Chidimma Nwakama