Lesson 83: Keep control of yourself

Published 2:41 pm Thursday, July 22, 2010

I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside.

Dr. Wayne Dyer

It always amazes me that so many people are willing to give up control of their own bodies and/or minds. Sometimes they give control to another person, and sometimes they give it to a substance or emotion.

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Loss of self-control can take many forms, from bad to extremely bad. On the extreme end of the scale is the alcoholic. His life is controlled by the bottle; although he may tell himself that he can manage his drinking, its really the drinking that manages him. The same is true for drug addicts or compulsive gamblers. These arent bad people; they just have no control over their own behavior.

While addiction may be at the far end of the scale, loss of control on a smaller scale can be foolish at best and dangerous at worst. Want an example? I had a friend in college whose major form of recreation was getting as drunk as possible every weekend.

Joe was an excellent student deans list, pre-law, the whole bit and he never drank during the week. But starting each Friday afternoon, he actually worked hard at getting drunk. And he stayed drunk all weekend. His antics at parties often proved to be an embarrassment to his fraternity brothers and whichever unfortunate young lady happened to be his date. He would say crude, hateful things, dance on the table in his boxer shorts, and worst of all get behind the wheel of his car and drive. One night at 3 a.m., he tripped in the parking lot of our dorm, and I took him to the emergency room to get his knee sewn up.

Its a miracle that Joe made it through college without seriously hurting himself or someone else. Fortunately, he eventually came to his senses, stopped drinking, and is now a respected attorney and family man.

Joes story is neither extreme nor rare, and although he lost control frequently, it doesnt make sense to ever give up control. And there are so many ways it can happen: Getting drunk or high. Losing your temper. Making a decision based on emotion. Letting someone else talk you into something youre not sure about.

Personally, I hate the feeling of being out of control. It just doesnt make sense, and it can be dangerous. You know that you have complete power over your conscious thoughts and actions. Remember that, and always stay in control.

Excerpted from The Graduates Book of Practical Wisdom: 99 Lessons They Cant Teach in School by C. Andrew Millard, published by Morgan James Publishing, available in bookstores and online. &opy; 2008 by C. Andrew Millard; all rights reserved. For more information visit www.wisegraduate.com.