Chapter 9. Self-Control

Goal: to continually have self-control

Maintaining a cool head and calm disposition (self-control) stabilizes emotions in stressful situations

Maintaining a cool head and calm disposition (self-control) stabilizes emotions in stressful situations

Despite a positive attitude and effective communication, you can make a mess of your life and create lots of unhappiness if you don’t consistently have self-control. Self-control is understood as power or restraint over one’s impulses, actions, and desires. A lack of control occurs when we lose power over our emotions, they bubble over controlling our words and actions: it disturbs our inner tranquility and those around us. Emotional control impacts a cluster of strong emotions and improvement can evoke dealing with past hurts. Additionally, emotional control, self-confidence (trusting oneself to do what’s right), and self-efficacy (believing you can do something) are all interrelated; enhancing or reducing one of these traits will likely affect the other two.

Recall that self-control is one of the universal virtues and is a key aspect of emotional intelligence. Self-control is a much more powerful and well-supported cause of personal success (than self esteem).

—Roy Baumeister [1]

Building Self-Confidence Enhances Self-Control

Self-confidence can be defined as “trusting one’s qualities, abilities, and judgment.” People who are self-confident believe in themselves. They trust who they are and their ability to make good decisions Inversely, insufficient or low levels of self-confidence (more fear and anxiety) make it more difficult to maintain self-control. In summary, consider that some of us need to build our self-confidence concurrently with greater control by:

  • Enhancing competence (ability to do things well and to successfully resolve issues) and self-efficacy (belief that you can define and resolve your own challenges) by goal accomplishment (Chapters 20-22)
  • Creative own mastery experiences (See Chapter 19).[2]
  • Surround yourself with others who provide you good role models and support.


Some people cannot realize their own self-control challenges. They must trust the opinions and advice of others who care about them. Others truly can’t be helped with self-help strategies and need professional support.


Related Blog Posts


[1] A. Long, “Chasing Success: Why Emotional Control is More Important than Self-Esteem,” Elite Daily, 2015, retrieved on June 8, 2016, from

[2] The Mind Tools Editorial Team, “How Self-Confident Are You? Improving Self-Confidence by Building Self-Efficacy,” Mind Tools, retrieved on June 9, 2016, from