Updated: Jul 11
Self-control. One of the most important elements of human behavior. Antonyms: rashness, unrestraint, indiscipline. One could also add irrationality because when panic or rage take over, logical thinking goes out the window. Blow a gasket is another term for it. When gaskets blow, all kinds of hell can break loose . . . with all kinds of demonic consequences.
A candidate for the worst place to get an itch is in your ear. Just about every brain cell impels one to stick something in the ear (usually a finger) to stop the infernal itching. When riding a motorcycle at 75 mph sandwiched in the middle of three lanes with helmet on when the ear-itch strikes, there’s only one salvation: self-control.
Imagine relaxing in the prone position in a dark forest with a half dozen mosquitoes buzzing your face. One’s whole being urges swatting them away. Unless it’s a bamboo forest, and you’re lying in ambush in a combat zone, and a superior enemy force is thirty yards away. The only salvation from discovery and gunfire: self-control. To swat the mosquitoes away could easily mean biting the bullet, literally.
Alpine mountaineering is a fun but dangerous pursuit. Crossing crevasse-riddled glaciers comes with the territory. Oneself or a rope team partner can fall into a crevasse . . . which is often a life or death situation. Salvation can depend on a key response on the part of self and/or rescuers: self-control.
In Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why author Laurence Gonzales outlines (with many case studies) the first and most important factor when faced with an emergency or ultra-stressful situation: don’t panic! Loss of self-control, self-discipline, can make all the difference in the world.
Whether it’s a life-or-death issue or something on a much-reduced scale, self-control/self-discipline is a key component for a favorable resolution to the problem. Since panic seems to all-too-often be a natural reaction, self-control is something that needs to be recognized and cultivated. There are books, online resources, and seminars galore on the subject. Key: to recognize the need for it and pursue some avenue to embrace it.