All posts by Chris

The Self-Control Muscle

self-control-muscle

Self-control is usually only spoken about after the fact. After things get crazy, you might hear someone say, “Exercising self-control would have prevented [insert catastrophe].” In most cases, though, we simply don’t talk about it. We will attribute a loving family to luck, a rejuvenating relationship to character, or a successful career to time spent laboring. We explain these things in this manner because we are terrified of using the words self-control.  Thus far, my life has presented an exemplar vantage point from which I can study this phenomena.

I never met my father. I grew up with my Mom and older brother, and he moved out when I was twelve. I don’t remember having a meal together as a family after age twelve, and I don’t remember there being any structure for when things happened in my home. Most of the time I ate whatever I felt like eating, whenever I felt like eating. I slept when I felt like sleeping, and I woke only when I thought missing something would be detrimental to my future (based on my own definition of “detrimental”).

The second semester of my senior year of High School was 94 days long. I missed my first-period class 46 of those days because I felt like staying up till 3AM, and 7:30AM just didn’t fit that schedule. I graduated 94th in my class of 414 with a GPA of 3.44, and managed to get a full-ride for four years of schooling from an essay writing contest. The contest required five 1,000 word essays on five different topics. Of course, I wrote all five of those essays in three hours the night before they were due. I’m not sharing these things to brag or establish credibility. I’m sharing them to show that I had no understanding, practice, or concept of self-control…at least through age eighteen. Continue reading…