Strengthening self-control with positive thoughts

November 11, 2016 17:36
You should encourage your children to develop self-control for they will inevitably encounter adversity and challenges in life. Photo: Xinhua

“Mind your thoughts, as they will stir up your emotions; mind your emotions, as they will evolve into words; mind your words, as they will fuel your behavior; mind your behavior, as it will become habits; mind your habits, as they will shape your personality; mind your personality, as it will decide your fate.”

I have shared this verse with my students during a session on self-control. 

I got it from one of my former students, who is now cheerful teenage boy.

He told me he shared it with his classmates and it was well-received.

I am very glad that he is willing to share what he believes in with his classmates.

Self-control is the ability to control our feelings, emotions and reactions.

It is important because our thoughts determine how we feel and behave. A positive mind will help foster our health and wellbeing.

Our thoughts guide our language and actions. Not only do they affect the people around us, they also help shape our personality, turning us into an optimist or a pessimist.

Exercising self-control is like working as a shepherd who guides a group of wild goats running inside the head.

No matter how bad the situation is, we can view it positively.

For instance, when you wake up and head for a hot shower, you find out that the heater is out of order.

You can spend your time and energy complaining about your bad luck, or you can look for a repairman or try to fix it yourself.

Negative thoughts can make you miserable while proactive thoughts can generate positive energy and light up your day.

It is important to encourage children to develop self-control for they will inevitably encounter adversity and challenges in life.

How people react to a situation depends a lot on how they view the issues at hand.

Some people prefer to wallow in self-pity and allow themselves to be defeated by adversity. 

But there are tough people who don't easily give up and look at challenges as opportunities.

Same dilemma, different outcomes.

When children face a difficulty, we hope that they can cope with it. That said, we should be their shepherd, giving them reassurance and direction, and helping them develop self-control and positive thinking.

Adults should always serve as role models and act with proactive thoughts.

Our sons and daughters sometimes behave in ways that we find hard to stand.

But we should not lose our temper, we should stay calm and patient, and always provide them with constructive feedbacks.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 10.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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