“A great talent never surrenders to changes in mood or allows its own peculiar temperament to run amok. It towers above such vulgar lack of composure. One of the great effects of wisdom is self-reflection, and if you can recognize your present disposition, you can master your own mind, conquer your moods, and not be dragged tyrannically from one sort of foolishness to another.” – Baltasar Gracián, A Pocket Mirror for Heroes
Hitting the reset button is about not letting external factors control or affect you (as much). Hitting the reset button is the action of dispelling negativity and disillusionment as soon as it enters the brain. It is about taking a preemptive approach to how we respond to life throughout life. In the face of adversity or negativity many of us choose a nonconstructive response or position. These negative responses come to us in the form of cowardice, envy, anger, loss of confidence, loss of self-control, and a number of other forms. As negativity begins to seep into our psyche, we begin to dwell on the circumstance, growing it into a monstrous encumbrance in which some of us never fully conquer.
Hit the Reset Button!
Hitting the reset button successfully over a period of time, like anything else, will eventually become habitual. This particular process of exercising self-control and awareness has the potential to spring from habitual practice to an instinctual one. As you read the opening quote; I hope you were able to place yourself in the company of “great talent”, recognizing just how many changes in mood each of us experiences each day. As you continued reading through the quote, I hope you were able to recognize the call (need) for self-reflection and the tremendous power this practice can have over our minds, moods and behaviors. And so, this is where we will begin:
“You cannot master yourself, if you do not understand yourself. There are mirrors for the face, but the only mirror for the spirit is wise self-reflection”. – Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom
- Know Your “Y” – As you practice daily self-reflection it is important to first know who you are as a person along with your Y’s. Y’s have no boundaries or limits but should at least focus on you the person, your behaviors & habits, thoughts & motives, and moods & responses. After careful examination and understanding of your Y’s, you should reasonably be able to foresee a mood, for example, and avoid it, for this is an ill of the mind, and the wise act towards this Illness as they do toward bodily ones.
- Knowing your Y also presents great advantages in the area of self-control. To know your Y is to know your reasons, responses, and behaviors. The heart has no problem properly identifying what it wants, it’s the mind that struggles with properly identifying the need. Sure up your mind, know your Y’s, and self-control is within your grasp.
In all things, we can exercise self-control. It is a choice we have and yet, not one that we often make. This is because we cannot have complete self-control without understanding.
“Things have no less need of circumstance than of substance. In fact, what we run into first aren’t essences but appearances. We begin knowing from the outside in. From the rind of behavior we judge the fruits of talent. We judge even the person we do not know by his bearing.” – Baltasar Gracián, A Pocket Mirror for Heroes
- Understanding who you are along with the understanding of other people and circumstances is essential for accumulating accurate understanding. For instance, there’s a honking, screaming driver weaving in and out of lanes and is now stuck behind you. In a snap judgement, you may label this person as a world class jerk. But what if they’re not? What if it actually turns out that this same driver is rushing to the hospital to aid their loved one who's just been injured? Is this person still a world class jerk or has empathy and understanding already began directing you down “Guilt Street”? In this example, you can see how easy it is to confuse observation with understanding. Without proper knowledge of self, others and circumstance, understanding is nearly impossible.
- When different circumstances and behaviors involving other people arise be careful not to judge and be more open to understand. A person that knows their own mind can reach the hearts of many.
With understanding comes a tremendous need for both judiciousness and intelligence. After all, what’s understanding if you cannot apply it correctly and in the right circumstances?
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Hitting the Reset Button. In it we will wrap-up the discussion with judiciousness & intelligence and Composure & Courage.