Sometimes, I’m an ass, but not as much as I used to be. I hurt people’s feelings. I’m impatient. I’m not a good listener. I don’t try as hard as I should. These are all true. At the same time, I’m so much better than I was ten years ago, and that’s the point: the continuous process of learning and getting better. It’s the process of self-mastery and inner peace.
As I get older, I realize more and more that inner peace comes from self-mastery. This is, of course, the mastering of one’s self. When I was young, I was not the master of my emotions. My emotions mastered me. I got angry and couldn’t control it. I did not control my time or my thoughts. That still happens, but not as much as it did then.
Through daily practice, I’m learning to get better and better. As the mantra goes, “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.”
The shame is when you see people who do not get better. They live every day the same, and at age 50 they are still making the same mistakes they made at age 20. Instead of living 50 years, they’ve lived the same year 50 times. You know someone like this. So do I.
The way to self-mastery, or the mastering of one’s self, is through constant and never-ending improvement. You must become a self-improvement guru. You must work on yourself constantly. As my mentor, Jim Rohn, said, “If you work hard at your job, you will make a living. If you work hard on yourself, you will make a fortune.” What he did not say is that a fortune may well be financial, but it will also come in so many other ways. Specifically, you will become a master of yourself and that is rare in an individual.
“Know thyself,” in the Pronaos in Delphi of ancient Greece was written so many years ago, and yet, so few of us spend the time to do just that. Based on what I see daily on Facebook, we are so busy being critical of others and just wasting time that we take no time for self-reflection or self-actualization. It causes us to live shallow lives, or in the words of Henry D. Thoreau, “Lives of quiet desperation.”
So yes, I still make lots of mistakes. I’m still working on perfecting mastery of myself. But make no mistake, I’m working on it and on me. I’m not yet the man I want to be, but I’m a hell of a lot better than I once was. It is working on yourself that provides the greatest peace. Make yourself better. Make it a daily quest. It will be one you will never regret.
Living Every Minute,