In The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna instructs Arjun, “Reshape yourself through the power of your will; never let yourself be degraded by self-will. The will is the only friend of the Self, and the will is the only enemy of the Self.” He further adds, “To those who have conquered themselves, the will is a friend. But it is the enemy of those who have not found the Self within them.” In other words, a person of self-control attains inner calmness and lives a peaceful and tranquil life.
Ancient philosopher Heraclitus also said, “To be self-controlled is the greatest of excellence.”
If we think about it, self-control is a virtue that everyone admires. And people who cultivate it get the utmost respect. That’s why we look up to exceptional people like Olympic athletes, astronauts, business moguls, Navy SEALs and other military officers.
A self-controlled person is like a diamond who doesn’t break under intense pressure. He keeps his calm and his luster no matter what circumstances or adversities he’s surrounded by. He overcomes his fears and shortcomings and performs his best in the service of his mission and his homeland. He is “self-conquered” and he is the embodiment of excellence.
When we gain control over ourselves, everything falls into place. This is why it’s important that we invest our time and attention in studying philosophy and pursuing personal development, and implementing what we learn in our day-to-day life. We have to learn how to control our minds, our thoughts, our emotions, and our desires. So that we can be our best selves and shine like a diamond under intense pressure when the tides are against us.
Self-control is hard. But it’s a noble pursuit. If we want to become a person of virtue and excellence, we have to practice it. If we want to inspire others and earn their respect and admiration, we must conquer ourselves first.