In the words of Leonardo da Vinci "One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself".
Self-mastery is the ability to recognise, understand and manage the different aspects of your personality, and in so doing, to create a higher quality of life experience. It is the ability to make the most out of your physical, mental and spiritual health and below are some areas of your life which will help you on your path towards developing effective self-mastery.
All self-mastery starts with you: The road map you will create to take you to where you want to be. You need to be self-disciplined and committed to your vision and to always keep it in the forefront of your mind. Write your aims down, and share them with others, so that you will be accountable to yourself.
Accept people: Once you accept people for who and what they are, you won't waste time and energy being frustrated in trying to change them. Everyone is different and that means we have to learn the life skill of people management. Not everyone thinks and acts as we would like.
Don't wait for perfection: Appreciate who you are, what you are, and what you have so far accomplished. You may not achieve the same results as your idealised role model but the important factor is to work your way towards getting there while not expecting it to happen overnight.
Look after your body: Your body is an incredibly complex machine that needs daily maintenance, so make sure you give it the nutrients and exercise it needs for optimum performance. If it becomes damaged in part, it has the ability to self-heal, provided you recognise the fact that you, yourself, need to help the process.
Self-discipline: People who demonstrate strong self-mastery are not controlled by their emotions. They learn to control their fears, their likes and dislikes, in order to move forward unencumbered by inner doubts but reinforced by facts and the unemotional assessment of risk, gain or loss.
Appreciation: Always be aware of the gift of health, the natural world, your family, your children, your education, your place in the community and in society, and the peace that spirituality can give to you in times of hardship or stress.
Communicate: You have the power to make someone smile just by openly smiling yourself and by making time to talk to others in a way that could make all the difference to their day.
Cognitive Restructuring: This technique involves modifying the automatic negative thoughts that occur in an anxiety-provoking situation, to a positive mindset that enables you to manage the challenge instead of mismanaging it. You need to always remind yourself of your natural talents and experience. If you convince yourself that you can win, then you may well do so. Unfortunately, however, the opposite holds just as true!
Concentrate: Try not to have a ‘butterfly mind' that flits from one topic to another. Focus your mind on one thing at a time and gain the fulfilment of achieving a goal and then feeling that sense of satisfaction before moving onto something else.
Emotional Intelligence: Those that have gained self-mastery are usually well aware of other people's needs and emotions and take them into consideration when communicating. Of course, in a negotiating context, that can be the winning factor.
Let go: We are all reluctant to let go of the past and focus on the future. This is often because the past is more comfortable to deal with, as it holds no secrets, whereas the future is bound to hold many unknown challenges. However, letting go is essential to move forward unencumbered with the ‘baggage' of previous relationships.
Self-mastery is a life skill that takes times and effort. It's a continuous process that should be integral to one's daily life script for everyday living.
Once you have mastered it, you will also be able to help others to achieve it. And that in itself, can be one of the most satisfying and humbling experience of our own lives.
The author is a BBC Guest-Broadcaster and motivational speaker. She is CEO of an international Stress Management consultancy and her new book, Show Stress Who's Boss! is available in all good bookshops.
- Self-mastery starts with a vision
- Self-control leads to self-mastery
- Self-mastery is a life skill