Continuing the conversation “Why do things work out well for one person and not another?” I would like to say something about the most essential skill in matters of conscious change. If you asked me to name just one thing that distinguishes people who live according to their own rules from people who do not, I would say without the slightest hesitation: self-control.
In the practice of yoga this ability is sometimes even called “divine self-control” because it is the capacity for self-possession, and therefore inner equilibrium.
Everybody desires freedom in general, as well as its more concrete components: the freedom to manage your time; financial independence, which can also open the door to world travel; working in a job you love; spending time with people who nourish you, and not putting up with things that go against your nature. All of these things that people covet are, more often than not, obtained through rock-solid self-control. This is no coincidence.
Unearned freedom can destroy a person if they are not prepared for it. It happens all the time. On those south-east Asian islands where people go dreaming of a stress-free existence, there is an abundance of drugs and alcohol, particularly among ex-pats. The Russians like to say that their homeland is “grey and hopeless”, whereas on the islands they have the sea, exotic fruits, sunshine and a cheap lifestyle – perfect! But it isn’t that simple. You also need to know how to approach and deal with freedom.
If you have found yourself and weren’t horrified – then you haven’t really found yourself
Of course, not everyone has difficulties with freedom, and I don’t wish to generalize. But let’s not ignore the fact that there are some communities in which it is normal for people to practise yoga in the mornings, and “expand their consciousness” in the evenings (and, unfortunately, I’m not talking about meditation), and that a diet of fried rice noodles is more common among immigrants to the island than a diet of fresh fruit (even though that is apparently why people go there in the first place).
The true freedom to change your life for the better is only attainable through the ability to control yourself; through divine self-control of your entire being. Without it you might wish to lose weight but overeat every evening, or think about working on an exciting new project (standing on the threshold of something big) but are constantly wasting time through procrastination, or you strive for happiness while perpetually letting yourself be dragged down by anger and criticism.
We are witnessing a growing trend of remote working. There are dozens of types of specialists: programmers, designers, content managers and copywriters, editors, photographers, and site administrators don’t need to be in an office to work. The dream of freedom has suddenly become a very real possibility: you can live and work in any part of the world. Choose your own schedule, dedicate a couple of hours to work, or the whole day, become the master of your own time, and thereby master of your own life. Is this not the secret of modern progress? While publishers are printing books on the topic of virtual offices, and somebody laments that their work doesn’t allow them to dream of such things, I would recommend that they observe those who are already jumping on this bandwagon.
The truth is that many, many employees who are trying to work remotely lose motivation. They cannot live off the leash, without the sobering structure of the office and general co-working atmosphere. I’m not saying “all”, but I am saying “many”.
It took me a few years to even recognize this problem in myself and make a diagnosis: “I am not ready for freedom, I can currently only work properly in a controlled office environment”. Slavery is not destroyed by simply removing the shackles.
A person’s self-control is directly proportional to their level of consciousness.
Having often observed what freedom does to people who have no self-control, I made it a rule that I would only ever work with people who I consider to be highly spiritually evolved (hello friends!). This means the ability to work without sticks. Only with carrots. That is, you give a person a task and impose no control over them. They either fulfil it very well with genuine effort (highly spiritually evolved), or quite well (making progress), or they don’t fulfil it on time (making progress, but not on my wavelength, so we probably won’t get on). The more soul someone invests in a project on different levels, the more dynamic its effect will be (which is the goal, after all). I simply can’t allow myself to work with people who have not yet built the foundations of self-control in their soul.
What is self-control? Divine self-control?
Once I heard a very precise answer to the question: “When can a person be considered an adult?”
Where is the line of adulthood, do you think? Is it simply an age boundary: 18 or 21 years old? Where is this line? When do we grow up, if we ever do grow up…?
This answer comes from the lips of Radislav Gandapas and is enough to make you wince:
A person grows up when they become able to say “no” to themselves
And if you think about it, little children cannot deny themselves anything they want. Their desires are laid bare, regardless of whether or not they are beneficial. Children are completely unaware. If their parents tell them “no”, they will listen and maybe even obey, but to deny themselves something they desire is simply impossible for a small child. Now take a look at the adults around you. Could they all say “no” to themselves when it comes to vices, wasting time, laziness and superficial entertainment, negative emotions, complaints even for just 21 days?