Friday, March 23, 2012

Letters to a young man 12

Hello my friend. I've been skirting around saying this outright, in fact I may have said it outright. If so, I'll say it again.

Self-Control is everything. Everything begins with self-control.

Every moment going forward from now is going to have a ton of variability. There may be simply no way to predict what will happen. There is often little that we can control. What we can control, to some degree at least, is ourselves.

To control yourself is power, it is freedom. It can open doors to ways of being that you never thought existed. I've been thinking for a while now that the greater part of dealing with women is learning to control your self-destructive impulses around them. I am convinced of this more and more every day, and I think this is a good thing. I think this is good because, as with all things in life, you are the one thing over which have some control.

You have control over how you respond to crises, as well as to successes. Believe me, I can tell you that you should pay attention to your reactions to both.

You have control over what you eat, what you read, what you think about, what you dream about, what you most want, what you most don't want, and so on. I think you see where I'm going with this.

I've had a lot of time to look back over the last few years and it seems to me that the amount of self-control I've had has been strongly correlated to the amount of happiness and fulfillment in life that I've had.

Begin with yourself. Control yourself. Sometimes it's useful to be spontaneous, bold, fearless. Sometimes it's useful to think before you speak and act. Self-control is the gateway to knowing which is which for you. It's the gateway to being free of fear. Ultimately, it all comes down to you and how you view yourself and your place in your world. The story that you tell yourself. It's always up to you.

Farewell for now.

My book on stoicism.