I was recently at a car dealership getting the family mini van checked out because the check engine light had come on. As I waited for the prognosis I experienced some events that made me ponder John Wooden's block of self- control in his pyramid of success. I had done a Facebook live session just the day previous over this block. The next day I had 2 examples of self- control being poorly applied and I figured I would share them with you.
The first example was of the gentleman who did not stop pacing in the waiting area the entire time he was there. This individual continuously walked around and was visibly impatient with the amount of time he was having to wait for his vehicle. Without knowing much about this man, I could tell that his emotions were currently orchestrating his behavior. As a polar opposite, the majority of the folks in the waiting area, including myself, had found something to do with our time and were patiently waiting for our vehicles to be repaired.
The second example came in the form of a story that another patron told me. He was telling me of a friend of his who was on his way home from work one day when his car's engine completely seized up on him. Apparently the car had run out of coolant and the engine shut down. Being overrun by emotion, this young man had his car towed to a friends house where he then poured cold water on the engine in an attempt to cool it off. The result was a completely cracked engine block that needed to be replaced.
What can both of these examples teach us about self- control? First of all, I believe that they teach us that none of us are immune to being ruled by our emotions from time to time. The awareness that we are just as likely to be reactive given the right set of circumstances is important. This gives us a healthy fear that we must always strive to keep our emotions in check.
The second truth we can gain from these examples is that our lives should be governed my certain principles and values. The importance of having a personal set of principles and values is that in moments such as the ones above, our principles and values can guide our behaviors and actions without allowing our emotions to taint our responses.
As John Wooden said, when we fail to exercise self- control all sound judgement and common sense get thrown out. This is not as evident in the first example given above but crystal clear in the second example. Any onlooker that knows basic science would know that hot and cold don't mix. The result of a cracked engine block would not be a shock to them. The young man in the story however saw pouring cold water on the engine as a totally viable option because he was possibly tired from a long day at work and his emotions had clouded his judgement.
What principles and values do you hold dear? When you look at your interactions with others and your daily habits and behaviors do your principles and values still hold true? Although the examples given above have nothing to do with athletics on the surface, they have everything to do with sports beneath the surface.
The young man who was exercising extreme impatience cannot expect not to be impatient on the field of play with himself or his teammates. The fact that he has not placed the principle of patience as one of his values will allow his emotions to exude all kinds of behaviors and habits that show impatience in all areas of his life.
You have a choice. Either you can be guided by your principles and values, or you can choose to be run by your emotions.