Yes, Together We Can
by (Capt) Ravi K Mahajan
12. EMOTIONAL CONTROL - TOLERANCE
Never Give in to your Emotions. Always Control Them.
Never Display them or let them Control You.
Emotional Control which is also vaguely called self-control, is of utmost importance as you wade through life. Coupled with Tolerance, emotional control helps you become a powerful personality. Such power is often radiated by a person by his sheer presence anywhere. He is often called a trouble shooter. He inspires confidence in everyone coming in contact with him. He never loses his temper, nor is he ever angry. He has unlimited patience and is a keen and attentive listener. In short, emotional control and tolerance are a way of life with him. He is trusted and confided by his family, friends, associates and subordinates, everyone alike.
Though emotional control-tolerance is inbuilt in some, but most of the people can inculcate these qualities, as they go up in the ladder of life. Even those with certain degree of inbuilt emotional control-tolerance, have to keep honing this unique life skill, for a peaceful and tranquil living. This is done by constant practice, inspired by a strong will to succeed in life. The practice is neither easy nor difficult but repeated sincere efforts trying to inculcate, would definitely make you perfect. Practice lies in never giving in to your emotions, always controlling them, never displaying them.
Mastering the art of Emotional control-tolerance is a key to gaining mastery over our lives. Once, you have mastered this art, others will seek your company because of the comfort, companionship, friendship and togetherness, they experience in your company. And mind you, what I know of people, their likes and dislikes, behavior, everyone looks for these humane qualities in a friend and the company he wants to be.
Why is emotional control-tolerance so necessary? Because sound decisions need application of sound intelligence and sound approach. When you are under the influence of emotions, intelligence does not work. Hence, do not take important decisions when under emotional stress and duress. At such times, always postpone, procrastinate. When you are upset or angry, your emotions cloud your real intelligence and wise judgment. So wise people, seasoned persons or mature persons, always abstain from decision-making, when under the sway of emotions.
Good or bad, pain or pleasure, right or wrong, win or lose, these are the ways, life is all about. After having done your best, when nothing more can be done, leave the rest to Him. That is the time, you need to be detached. Do not become too emotional with the results, which are not in your hand. Take everything, good or bad, in its stride. Do not become too happy, when you win, too desolate if you lose, because both are part and parcel of your life, result of your actions, which you did to the best of your ability. But actually, the results are His gift to you and gifts are always accepted whatever they are, with grace, humility and dignity. If you do not like the gift, resolve to do better next time, so that better results are gifted. There is no point in being overjoyed or morose. God’s gifts are His pleasure and must be accepted with humility, dignity & poise.
Your reaction must be very measured in every situation. When you win, show magnanimity towards the loser because, next time situation may reverse. So always make it a point to display a measured response, from which others can judge your level of maturity and temperament. Emotional control-tolerance is most needed when things go wrong, which they often do. Get over the impulse to blame others for that, instead of resolving the matter. Study the matter with a calm unbiased mind, taking everyone’s viewpoint into account, then take action basically to improve the things, not blaming anyone. However, if someone needs to be told, tell him when alone. If you blame someone, his first natural reaction will be, to defend himself or blame someone else which, often complicates the issue.
Even if you have worked hard on improving yourself or empowering yourself, through various methods suggested in this book, but are low on Emotional control-tolerance, it will be difficult for you to lead a rewarding life, because it is through emotional control-tolerance you touch others’ lives in a constructive way and if you are bad at controlling your emotions, true success will always elude you. So controlling your emotions is the first step towards the goal of self improvement or self empowerment.
This lesson must be read after you have read and adopted the lesson on ‘Enthusiasm’ in this book. You have to balance between Enthusiasm and Emotional Control for a successful life. Your enthusiasm should always be in control of your emotions, never exceeding them. For a successful rewarding life, you have to seek and get others to cooperate with you willingly and enthusiastically. That is possible only if you keep a tight reign on your emotions, never displaying them, always controlling them.
Very simple principal of life is that we have control only on ourselves and our actions. That is where we must focus our energies. In a tense situation on the road or in meetings or in domestic affairs, you can control any situation exhibiting cool temperament and friendly disposition. There are people all around who want to fight for anything. Avoid meeting them at their level. Incidents, both good and bad would happen in your life. Always stay clear of the garbage of hot head, loose tongue and throat power which would land you in trouble most of the times.
For a moment, think of all those poor unfortunate jail inmates, spending most beautiful years of their lives behind bars, which they should have been spending with their families and friends in a normal way. What a waste. Almost all these unfortunates are poor in emotional control-tolerance. At a turning defining moment in life, when they needed to exercise emotional control-tolerance, they gave way to emotions, resulting in anger, loss of temper and a hot head, which brought them to act the way they would repent throughout their lives. But, nothing can be done now. Neither the situation can be retrieved, nor the act resolved. They have to suffer, suffer and suffer, so much humiliation and disgrace. Ask them now and most of them would wish, they had exercised restraint and kept their emotions in control. They are suffering because of momentary loss of emotional-control-tolerance or patience.
Abraham Lincoln made himself immortal in world history, not only for having fought hard with all the adversities and innumerable obstacles while on his way to become the President of America, but also for showing unparalleled and exemplary restrain and self control, as the President of America. When he was the President, he found some of his close cabinet colleagues to be disloyal to him personally, but otherwise he found them a big asset. He ignored their personal disloyalty to him, and retained them in the cabinet, while he could easily have sacked them. He took full advantage of their wisdom and counsel for the benefit of the party and the country he was leading. That is the stuff great men are made of. Such are the examples you also must try to emulate and inculcate in yourself, while on road to success and glory in life.
How many innumerable times, we lose our temper to regret later. Sometimes, it is the spouse, other times it may be children, sometimes it could be subordinates, who cannot retaliate. But, whether they can retaliate or not, our conscience pricks later, if we have lost our temper or cool in the heat of emotions, when we should have acted with more poise and restrain, could have been more circumspect and even tempered.
Howsoever, badly we may try, we cannot overcome that feeling of feeling small within ourselves because of poor display of our emotional control-tolerance. Story of a small child expressing his love for his father in the most unique manner and father, on the other hand, caving in to his sudden violent emotions, must be mentioned here. How, an otherwise mature and sensible person, with momentary loss of emotional control-tolerance, swept into anger and repents with a guilty conscience for rest of his life.
Father brought home the most prime possession of his life, a swanky car worth a crore of rupees, perhaps. His children and all family members were greatly excited. While the father was having tea inside the house, came the bad news through another child, that car has been scratched all over by the younger child with a stone. Most unfortunately, father got so wild and in his rage, he beat the younger child badly. But when he went out to see the car, his priceless possession, he was ashamed at his momentous loss of emotional control, to read what the small child had written with a sharp stone on the car, ‘I love you, papa’. You will agree that such over-reaction leaves a scar on your psyche for whole like, a guilty conscience. No good deed can ever rub such an heinous act from your conscience.
A person with a well developed emotional control-tolerance, does not react as this unfortunate father did. For a moment, readers may put themselves in the shoes of this unfortunate father and imagine how they might have felt after having beaten the small child for such a loving action. Watchword for a rewarding living is ‘do not give in to your emotions and you would able to manage any situation quite easily’. But if your reaction is instant, as of this father, any ordinary situation has the potential of embarrassing you for life. If you are the type, work on it. You can easily get out of this sad habit without much effort. Please do it lest you also find facing mirror difficult for the rest of your life like this unfortunate father.
Anger is often the result of momentary loss of emotional control. And anger, any times, feeds on anger which results on more anger, blame game and accusations, all negative traits ready to take you downhill in life. Any situation created for you or you find yourself in, is not within your control but your reaction is. That’s what you must and have to control to become a person of substance. By exhibiting emotional control during difficult situations, you can become a cut above the others. When you control your mind and emotions, everything is in control in your life, you are in command. When you lose control, others are in command and you let yourself become a tool in their hands. It is like puppetry wherein you are held by strings in someone’s hand and have to dance to their tune.
Most inhuman acts about which we repent later, are performed in moments of temporary loss of emotional control, which we normally call anger. Under the influence of anger, you lose self control, power of reasoning, clouding of vision or foresight and sense of justice and fair-play. Since anger is negativity in its purest form, under the influence of hatred and revenge, it might give some fleeting sense of winning the battle temporarily but the war is lost the moment you lost your emotional control. In the process you lower your self esteem as did the above unfortunate father or the person in the next para.
Another incidence of momentary but self-destructive loss of emotional control-tolerance comes to my mind from a recent unfortunate incidence happened in Chennai. Nearby boys used to frequent the bungalow of a retired defense officer to pluck fruits from his well kept garden. As per papers, this unfortunate person might have been shouting frequently earlier at those boys not to enter his bangalow. One Sunday afternoon, a group of boys came to the house to pluck the fruits for which he had told them many a times not to do so.. The retired person got so infuriated that he took out his gun and shot one of the boys. The person was later caught, has been arrested and the matter is in court with a fool-proof case, as claimed by the authorities.
Nobody can imagine that person ever had the intention of doing what happened but for the momentary loss of self-emotional control, the person might have to pay for whole life. Imagine the condition of his family specially wife and children. Such incidences in varied severity are common, wherein one has to pay very heavy price later when nothing can be done, for the momentary loss of emotional-control or anger or hot head or heated exchanges.
Lessons learnt from such unfortunate incidences are crystal clear. Maintain decorum, dignity, cool head, whatever the provocation, whether you are in the house, in your office, on road, or in a meeting, anywhere, always and every time. Control your emotions. Do not let your emotions control you.
If you want to be a loving person, trusted and admired by everyone, then exhibit a cool temper, disposition or expression and never indulge in destructive traits such as hatred, envy, jealousy, revenge, which give rise to fear, dissatisfaction and discontentment in life. A person with well developed emotional control-tolerance, does not go into ecstasies or over-reacts in any situation. He elevates himself by exhibiting remarkable emotional control-tolerance and patience.
One area where emotional control-tolerance effects every individual’s life, is marital relationship. Two persons from mostly totally different backgrounds, nature and character are brought together in marriage and have to live together. It is literally, like that song in old hindi film ‘Bobby’, ‘Hum tum, ik kamre me bund hon, aur chabi kho jai’. (me and you are locked in a room and key is lost). Comes emotional-control-tolerance. A house becomes a home or heaven, where both partner exhibit this great quality while living together. Wherein, the same house may become hell for both the partners, if either both or one partner is poor in emotional-control-tolerance. That is the power controlling your emotions or self-control, exert in married life generating bliss or hell. It’s not difficult to make a choice.
Other areas where you badly need to apply self or emotional control, are greed, craving to own things, one-up-man-ship, putting down others and being spendthrift etc. World is full of things you would like to own, spending your hard earned money. Most such acquisitions give you only a temporary pleasure or fulfillment, but sooner than later, that feeling of emptiness will engulf. These things also lead to being selfish and self centered, qualities despised by even those who themselves, may be selfish and self-centered.
In fact, you need to apply self/ emotional control in every aspect of life, to become a person, you would like to be. Do not be a creature of imitation. Do not be a copy cat. Be yourself. God has made you unique and you must preserve this unique gift from God. Do not demean yourself by aping others. Instead, apply self or emotional control to become a better human being, where your salvation lies. This is like discipline. Initially you may not like to apply the principals of self/emotional control, but soon you would always feel better, the way you have acted with restrain. Self/emotional control generates those inner feeling of happiness, satisfaction and contentment, which are not possible, if you give free reign to your likes, dislikes, anger, revulsion etc.
This lesson on Emotional control is clubbed with another important quality in life, which is of utmost value but is diminishing in most of the people, which is Tolerance. Unfortunately, in our society, intolerance levels are increasing, while tolerance levels are going down. Every day in the newspapers, we read crimes, even murders happening, because of intolerance and at times, on petty matters.
Indian system of joint family is mostly over or falling apart. Divorce cases in courts are increasing. Road rage is on the increase and at times, takes very unfortunate turn. Caste clashes, specially, in the rural areas, are on the rise. Social tensions are on the increase, because of the income disparities and reservation policy of the government. Earlier, leaders showed the way. Now people or vested interests, show the way and leaders follow, to keep their seat of power intact. All these are cases of intolerance only.
Unfortunately, things can’t continue like this for long or forever. We have to change ourselves individually and collectively. We must understand one thing that we all have to live together in this world. There is no alternative to that. No single race or nation can monopolize this world. Only way, human race can survive on this planet, is by sharing, self/emotional control and by becoming honestly tolerant of each other. Since human race is the only species on this planet, which can think and lead, this planet, thus, is our responsibility and we are its savior.
All great leaders in this world, at any time in history, had to have this quality, ‘emotional-control-tolerance’ in great abundance to reach the pinnacle. Without this, they could not have reached & become what they ultimately did. While going up in the ladder of life, one has to make other people cooperate and support him and be loyal to him. And people cannot be loyal unless you treat them well, treat them with utmost respect, dignity, patience exhibiting utmost self-emotional-control-tolerance.
This lesson on ‘Emotional-Control-Tolerance’ may be incomplete without a word of advice to my young readers for whom basically,
this book is written. During my school and college days 1956-1963, we could always identify some hot heads in classes, in college campus and outside the college. Those boys liked themselves to be called ‘Khalifas’, ‘Singhars’, ‘Huzoor’ or other such names. When we, the ordinary ‘mortals’ addressed them as such, you could see and feel a hidden grin, which you often see on the faces of mostly perverted persons, when they subjugate another person. These like-minded boys often formed groups to dominate in outside of classroom activities in the colleges. These divergent groups would often have fights between themselves to dominate each college activity like College Union Elections, strike or any agitation. Most of them, with each others’ support, were the angry, agitated lot, devoid of Emotional-control-tolerance to almost zero level.
Results were obvious. Fights with soda water bottles, bamboo sticks or hockey sticks or other such ‘weapons’, were common. In fact, these boys were always ready for a fight. You could always see mixture of boys from rich, not so rich or poor families in these groups. Though I had nothing to do with them, but knew most of them, their background from each divergent group. That was the reason, I never had to be afraid of them like other boys. I have kept a tab on many of them and know them till this day.
A word about ragging in institutions. I have never been able to understand its purpose, except that perpetrators get that perverted pleasure, subjugating or humiliating their juniors. In my opinion, frshers who are joining the new institution, should be made to feel welcome and helped by the seniors, since in a short span of an year, these new ones will become old ones and may become their colleagues. Once you have passed out of the institution, college seniority of a year or two, does not matter at all. But you have left a permanent scar on the mind of a junior, who, in due course, may become your boss by merit. Though, I have advocated in this book to adopt the policy of Forgive and Forget, but few do that.
This book is not for entertainment but for learning from my experiences, specially for our young ones. Once again ‘wise learn from their experience, while wiser learn from others’. All those aggressive boys, ‘Singhars’, ‘Khalifas’, ‘Huzoors’ or those seniors who would mindlessly rag the juniors, I have mentioned in above paragraphs, have one thing in common, now when I see them. All of them, without exception, have been a failure in life and have been in bad state, since they left the college. Those who wanted jobs, could not get one. Those rich boys who would flaunt both money and power before the other boys, became penniless in due course. Though they belonged to rich families at that time, but where child was only one, he could not adjust in the business and slowly all that his father or forefathers had left or accumulated, went for a toss. Others who had siblings, other siblings did not want to have anything to do with these spoiled brats. They spent whatever share of business or property they got or ate it. Most of them face very tough times, once they left the college and entered the field for jobs, professions and businesses. Only very few, whom circumstances made to change drastically, were able to manage.
Now read carefully. Reasons for those failures are simple. They were low on ‘emotional-control-tolerance’ and instead of nurturing those virtues of ‘emotional-control-tolerance’ or ‘patience’, these boys pursued things which were detrimental for them at that time and much worse later in life. In fact, these things went against the law of peaceful living. Things, in life, simply do not work that way. No one wants hot heads, angry, brow beating type of people around them to scare away others ‘normal’ types. Every organization wants Peace in their organization to Progress. Things only work out with cooperation, support and with an attitude of give and take. To be successful in life, other people, whether clients, customers, employees, associates etc. should want to be with you. The moment they find your attitude overbearing, they move away.
Group or mob mentality might have worked for a short period in college. You may do all those destructive things in a group and become very aggressive, but remember one thing. You have to face the consequences all alone, whether it is rustication, expulsion or legal-penal case. When one gets into trouble, you are left all alone. And trouble will always be there for you, if you keep doing things like subjugating others against their wishes, or boss over them for nothing. Now, nothing can be done. You are alone. Your family members might be with you, but they too hate being with you. Only your mother may think that it is the result of bad company, you have been keeping. But your mother thinks like that because she is your mother and is under the wrong impression that being her son, you can do no wrong. And her opinion of you does not matter, because that opinion is formed by natural love and affection, which a mother has for her child, rather than on facts. So if you have got into that type of company, leave it right away. Do not ever do any of those things in the college. You have been admitted in the college after great labour and expense. College is for learning and to make a career. Pursue those worthy goals and focus on your studies and carrier, nothing else. The institution you are in, is a temple for learning, making a sound foundation of your life and whatever labours you put in now, would help you later in life tremendously. So build a strong foundation with your efforts without diverting yourself from your goals.
College is not only to learn the profession you have been admitted for, but also to develop life skills such as the quality of Emotional-control-Tolerance and Patience, which would help you to become a better person for your own benefit, not for others’. You will never get this chance again. If you miss it, remorse, repentance, shame or guilt would only be your life time companion.
While most other lessons in this book are individual qualities, emotional control-tolerance touches others. Hence, it is our individual and collective responsibility to practice emotional control in every situation and become more tolerant of each other, showing due respect and understanding to everyone’s viewpoint. This is a question of our very survival as humans on this planet. And answer is very simple; either we practice utmost self/emotional control-tolerance in every walk of life and live as kings, which we actually are on this planet, or parish, fighting with each other, because of our intolerance. It is our collective responsibility and we should not let each other down.
In the uncontrolled and unsteady, there is no consistent intellect. To the inconsistent intellect, there is no Vision.
He, who has no Vision, has no Peace.
And who has no Peace, can never be Happy.
Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard, than anybody else expects of you.
Head should mostly Override Heart.
Whenever there is tussle between Head and Heart,
To handle yourself, use your Head,
But to handle others, use your Heart.
When you can be both Brilliant or Pleasant,
Always Choose Pleasant.
One Wise Head is Better than Hundred Strong Heads.
It is often better not to see an insult, than to avenge it.
VIOLENCE is the last Refuge of the Incompetent.