7 Strategies to Cultivate Self-mastery
Every day I get up and face my demons. They are the ones who whisper, “That’s a rubbish idea.” “Who cares what you think!” “Who do you think you are?”
It’s an incessant chorus that aims to keep me from showing up fully as myself and doing the work I am here to do.
We all have them, these inner demons. Success depends on our willingness to face them head-on and to master ourselves so that we transcend the forces that are working to hold us back.
Self-mastery is often thought of as self-control, the ability to use personal will to avoid the temptations that threaten to derail you.
While self-control is part of it, self-mastery is more than that. It is founded on an unwavering faith that it is within your capacity to envision possibilities for your life and to achieve them.
So, how do you cultivate self-mastery? Here are 7 principles to put into practice:
Know yourself. Who are you? What do you want? What makes you tick? What scares you? What are your secret dreams? Asking yourself these questions builds self-awareness and an understanding of your particular make up. Make self-awareness a priority in your quest for mastery. It’s vital that you understand the instrument you’re working with to shape your life.
Get real. We live in a world that makes it difficult to be truly ourselves. Showing up authentically in every situation is probably one of the toughest battles you’ll face, yet also your most rewarding quest. Be real about who you are and your particular brand of weirdness, and dare to show up fully at all times.
Let go of the need for approval. You could be the most brilliant person in the world and some people would still think you were an idiot. Don’t let your need for approval define your dreams and how you live your life. It’s enough that you love and accept yourself.
Embrace failure. No-one is born a master. To get to a point of mastery you must be willing to stumble along the way. What matters is that you pick yourself up, learn the lessons and move on.
Commit 100%. Have you ever noticed that really successful people have “their thing”? What’s your thing that you are completely committed to? Self-mastery requires that we constantly confront the demon of doubt that warns us to only dip our toes in. Don’t listen! Immerse yourself in your dreams.
Be willing to walk away. When you are the master of yourself, no-one and nothing can be the master of you. You therefore have the freedom to walk away from anything that doesn’t serve your highest interests. That goes for people too.
Live in the present moment. You can’t master what you’ll do tomorrow. You don’t even know whether you’ll have tomorrow! Who are you now? What are you thinking and feeling in this moment? What can you do differently now that’s in line with who you are becoming?
Self-mastery is the hero’s journey of the modern age. Ultimately your success – however you define it – depends on your ability to be the “master of your fate” and to lead your life from the inside out.