Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.

It is stated that life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.  What does this mean? Most personal development or  self-development experts would agree that this means “while  you might not be able to control the things around you, while you might not be able to determine what happens to you,  while you might not have any control over the situations, circumstances or conditions of your life, you can control the way your react to them”.

How do you respond in moments of peril? Do you panic, faint, cry out for help?  How do you respond in moments of frustration or anger? Do you lash out? Do you say things; do things that you later regret? Do you remain calm and in control of yourself, your thoughts, words and actions?  It is said that he who remains in control of his himself and his emotions during “difficult times” will find a way to come out on top. This ability to remain in full control of oneself can be referred to as self-control or self-composure.

Napoleon Hill in his book “Law of Success” defines Self Control (the 8th Principle), “as the balance wheel that controls and allows you to direct your action”.  Such ability has both profits and costs. But if you can become aware of the signs and the triggers, and learn practical steps to facilitate that ability, you can master this great feat of self-development.


Self-control is known to bring inner strength, inner peace, which allows one to have clarity of thought. This clarity of thought means that one can make better and timely decision, resulting in taking the right course of action, ultimately leading to the attainment of ones goals. In other words, self-control leads to achieving success.  Self-control robs others of the having power over you. If someone can cause you to lose composure, they can cause you to be off your game, to get distracted, to miss your goal.  If you maintain self-control in a potentially bad situation, you can turn it into a big opportunity.  Ultimately, gaining self-control places power “over you” in the hands of the only person in which is should reside, You!


Lack of self-control can have huge and sometimes tragic costs both to you and others. Lack of self-control places you on the defensive.  This defensiveness can lead you to do things, say things that you will later regret or be humiliated at in retrospect. It can retard your development and stop you from growing.   Lack of self-control can result in damage to other people or things. It can destroy jobs and relationships; it can hurt the ones you love both physically and emotionally; it can tear down things that have taken years to build.  The greatest cost to a loss of self-control is the loss of power over yourself and the giving of that power to another person. If a person has the power to press “your buttons” and make you do things that you don’t want to do or should not do because they are not in alignment with your purpose, your journey, then that person ultimately has power over you. And with that power, they can make you do whatever it is they want you to do.


You know that you have self-control issues when you make snap judgments before studying the facts. You may find yourself talking before listening. You find yourself doing and saying thing that you later regret. Doing or saying things that are uncharacteristic of you.   Lack of self-control in money can mean that you overspend or that you live beyond your means.  Lack of self-control in eating can mean that you find yourself eating if when you are not hungry but rather because of being upset or sad. There are many different behaviors that if observed objectively will be clear signs that a person has lost self-control.


Webster online dictionary defines triggers as “a cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist”. To develop Self-Control, it is imperative that you be notice the triggers that might lead you to have a loss of self-control. Triggers can be as simple as a particular word that another person says. It can also be when you witness a particular behavior.  Say you notice that whenever your boss at work starts pointing his finger at you and raising his voice, you find yourself getting defensive and then responding with negative words. Or let’s say you have noticed that whenever your spouse started questioning you about your day, you find yourself shutting down. This shutting down leads to  our spouse saying hurting things, which might lead you to start responding in kind. Whatever the triggers are, it is imperative that you become aware of the triggers that lead to a loss of self-control so that you can begin to mitigate their influence and control over you.

What to control:

Who might be asking yourself, with that stated, “What should I focus on as I seek to master self-control”?  Depending on the source, the number of things that one might be able and should control can range from a few factors to an innumerable amount.  Factors like:

  1. Thoughts;
  2. Emotions
  3. Speech;
  4. Behavior;
  5. Appetite;
  6. Facial expressions;
  7. Desire;

Is one factor more important than the others? Is there a factor that one should begin to control first? The answer to these questions depends upon which area or factor you are the weakness in. Some experts would argue that, as everything we do is driving by our thoughts, controlling “our thoughts” or “how we think” is the best starting point.

How to:

At this point, the case should be made that self-control and self-composure is a must have ability/skill for a person seeking to be the master of him/herself.  If you aim to achieve your heart’s desire, you will be tested over and over again.  If you respond in ways that take you further away from your destination, you might find your goal getting further and further out of reach. Below are a list of techniques that you can use to help you master yourself. It is not an exhaustive list but one that have helped thousands of folks who have travel the same road as you gain control of themselves and over the lives.  You might conduct additional research and find other methods, if the ones below are insufficient for the job.

The Laughing Technique

The laughing technique is on that has been use by a number of successful folks to help them mitigate the impact of certain triggers. When you feel like you are about to lose it, when you notice that your defensiveness is rising, you should:

  1. Take a time out;
  2. Get away to where you will not be disturbed by anyone
  3. Force yourself to laugh for at least 5 minutes
  4. If you can get away, then force yourself to smile as talk.

The Mantra Technique

Other technique that might help you come back to the present whenever you find yourself getting heated is to repeat positive mantra. This manta should be repeated over and over and over, until the feeling subsides. This mantra can say something like:

“I am the master of my thought, emotions, response, behavior, tongue and life. I will be vigilant and watch for the triggers.  I and I alone have the power to choose my response. I am gaining more control over myself with each passing second, minute, hour and day.”

The Rubber Band Technique

Start wearing a rubber band around your wrist. Every time, you find your being triggered, everything you find yourself engaging behaviors that are signs of a loss of self-control, you should snap the rubber band against your wrist. A painful reminder to remain in the present and in full control of yourself.

Self-Control has been a topic of conversation in the world of personal and self-development for years. It is frequently topic in religion, military, education and parenting.  Just read some of the quotes by famous people in history.  “I have learned that I really do have discipline, self-control, and patience. But they were given to me as a seed, and it’s up to me to choose to develop them”, -Joyce Meyer.  “Self-control is one mark of a mature person; it applies to control of language, physical treatment of others, and the appetites of the body” –Joseph B Wirthlin.  “By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character” –Grenville Kleiser.

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