The Self-Mastery Muscle

Weight TrainingGood morning! I want to talk about equating Self Mastery to a muscle. Think about the muscles in your body and how you go about exercising them. Have you have ever gone to a gym and lifted weights on a bench press before? Suppose you’ve never done this and you decide you’re going to get in shape by lifting weights at the gym. You start your training by putting 300 pounds of weights on the barbell. When you go to lift the barbell with 300 pounds on it, guess what? You’re going to fail! There’s no doubt about it, you’re going to fail. It’s just too much weight for you to lift. You can’t start off lifting 300 pounds! You have to start off with any easy weight, a weight you can manage, something that you’re able and capable of lifting.

When you work on muscles, you have to start off with a weight you can lift and then gradually work your way up. So maybe you have to start off at 110 pounds. Let’s say you do the 110 pounds for a while and you do it long enough to where it now becomes easier. So the next thing you do is you add 10 pounds to that. Now you’re lifting 120 pounds. You work on that for a while until it becomes easier. When 120 pounds becomes easier then you add 10 more pounds. You continue on up like this, gradually adding more and more weight to strengthen the muscles in your arms.

We can relate it also to running. I can remember training for my first marathon. A marathon is 26.2 miles long. My good wife Lisa was my trainer. We didn’t start off by doing a 26-mile run. We didn’t even start off doing a 5-mile run. I don’t think I had ever even run more than five miles in my life. I couldn’t even run a full mile when I began my training. I’ll never forget the first time we ran three miles. I distinctly remember that when we completed the three miles I collapsed on the ground gasping for air. I remember that I was so thrilled that I had actually run three miles! It was a major accomplishment for me.

The way we trained for the marathon was to run two miles every morning, Monday through Thursday, and then rest on Friday. Then on Saturdays we would do a long run. Each Saturday morning we would add a mile or two to our long runs. So our first long run was three miles. Then the next week our long run was four miles. Then five miles the next week. Gradually, week after week, we worked our way up to where our final training run before the marathon was 24 miles. I remember that day, running the 24-mile long run, and thinking back to our first three-mile run and thinking, “Wow! Three miles is nothing! Running three miles is so easy!” Now we were running 24 miles! We worked up to it gradually over time. If we would have tried to run 24 miles that first day it would have been a huge failure and I would have given up and would have never completed a marathon.

So how does that relate to self-mastery? Well, every thing about a marathon is self-mastery! But a marathon, like weight lifting, teaches us that you can’t do it all at once and this applies to self-mastery in other areas of your life. You can’t change everything all at once.

So I’m relating this all to self-mastery and the changes that you want to make in your life. If self-mastery is like a muscle then you must work on it like you would work on a muscle. You must strengthen that self-mastery muscle by starting off with small and easy things and then gradually work your way up.

So how do you do this? I suggest you look at your life and determine what needs to change. Make a list of all the changes you would like to make. Then take one thing and focus on it. Work on it for a week or two until it becomes easy for you. Then begin the next thing. Gradually strengthen your self-mastery muscle one change at a time.

I have been doing this for a while. In fact I started on August 1st of this year and made some major commitments to myself of changes I desire to make.

More recently, as part of this process, I have focused on exercising every morning except Sundays. That’s what I focused on and now it has become a habit and even perhaps an addiction – a positive addiction.

Currently I am focused on getting to bed on time every night. When I get good at that then I will move on to my next goal. I have a series of improvements that I want to make in my life that I call my self-mastery goals. I can’t do them all at once. So I work on one thing at a time until it becomes a habit, until I strengthen that self-mastery muscle. Then I move on to the next one.

So in summary, the message for today is that self-mastery is like a muscle which needs to be exercised in a gradual, progressive way. Examine your life, determine what you want to change, and then work on one thing at a time.

Master Yourself, Master Your Life

Thank you.

Copyright © 2013 Gary N. Larson

Be Good to Yourself

Take care of yourself

There are some people who go to extraordinary lengths to take care of their car. They wash it, they wax it, they keep it tuned, they get it serviced on a regular basis and they keep everything in perfect working order. They have meticulous records of every oil change and rotation of the tires. Yet these same people neglect a much more important piece of machinery – themselves.

We see people all around us plodding along, making mediocre attempts in their jobs and their relationships. They are crippled in their attempts at success because the energy has gone out of their lives. When obstacles arise they don’t have the strength to rise above them. They are easily defeated. They go through life only half-awake!

When you burn a candle at both ends you will eventually get burned. Don’t squander and abuse the most incredible instrument you have – your body. Give it the care and attention it needs.

Shouldn’t our great aim in life be to preserve and keep our physical bodies in the best possible condition so we can experience and live life to its fullest? Why not make every occasion a great occasion? If this life is worth living then isn’t it worth living well?

In order to live life to its fullest we need to take care of ourselves both mentally and physically. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” What you think about yourself is manifested in your life and pictured in your body. If you are to make the most of yourself then you should never picture yourself as anything other than what you would actually want to be. See yourself as the person you wish to become. Your thoughts and actions are manifested in your body.

Everywhere you go you find people who are half-alive and barely awake. They resemble walking zombies rather than fully charged human beings. The world is full of them. They are the products of physical self-abuse and wrong thinking. They commit emotional suicide by killing every chance they have in life through neglect of their mind and body.

The saddest thing is to have an opportunity come our way and not be able to take advantage of it. Life passes us by because we aren’t ready to live it. We’re bogged down by poor health, fatigue, exhaustion and weariness. We’ve abused the instrument with which we live life with. When the conductor raises his baton, we are unable to join in the symphony. Our talents and gifts go unused. We are silent.

Too many of us overtax our strength and energy by pushing too hard. We live in an X-Treme world where it’s cool to push everything to the edge. We take risks. We eat too much. We stay up too late. Then we go to bed with sleep aids and wake up with the use of artificial stimulants. We have no time for true rest and relaxation. We are fooled by false economies, thinking we are saving time and accomplishing more. It’s a counterfeit sense of accomplishment. We’ve squeezed all the juice out of the fruit and are searching for more where there is none.

They say it’s a sin to be unkind to others. Isn’t it just as much a sin to be unkind to ourselves? Whatever you do in life, take care of yourself. Be good to yourself. Care for and protect your vitality, energy and strength because they are the tools with which you accomplish everything else in life. The person who does this and has no money is rich compared to the person who is wealthy and has squandered their vitality and precious energy. Whatever you do, protect and care for the most amazing machine – You!