Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Self-Control Correlates with Increased Contentment

Focus on the parts of life that you enjoy and that you can control or influence, it will bring you increased contentment. Dwelling over the fact that hot girl at school/college/work will never date you, or turned you down, is not going to make you happy. Dwelling over the fact that some people in the judicial system have it in for fathers and men is not going to make you happy. Plus you can’t do anything about it anyway, so why fret over it? It’d be like a farmer whining because he can see storm clouds on the horizon when it’s harvest time (‘the’ time of the year when he needs sunshine). What’s the point in whining about the bad weather? The farmer can’t control it? He won’t be any better off for whining or ranting about it.

The same mentality can also be seen in protestors who go on marches demanding tax breaks (or whatever) when the government has absolutely no intention of giving it to them. The protestors seemingly get some perverse satisfaction out of knowing that their protest is futile and pointless. It’s almost like the protestors ‘want’ to be the underdog, and ‘want’ to be oppressed, and thus knowingly protest (which is the equivalent of complaining/whining) in vain.

All in all whining is thus a sign of someone who wants to be disempowered. It’s a sign of someone who hankers for that feeling of ‘being wronged’ or ‘being oppressed’ or ‘being in the minority’. And that’s not a good psychological trait to have because it means that you’ll sub-consciously seek out those kinds of roles in your life – the role of always being ‘wronged’ of always being on the losing team, of always failing, on even at the most trivial things.

By saying this I’m not saying that you should ‘man up’ or ‘suck it up’ or ‘like it and lump it’ or ‘take it like a man’ because such words are not helpful and will only perpetuate the malaise. The people who tell you to ‘man up’ just want you to be oppressed, and what’s more, they take schadenfreude-like pleasure in it! Instead I’ll point you back to the first sentence of this entry:

Focus on the parts of life that you enjoy and that you can control or influence, it will bring you increased contentment.

In short, make the best of the situation you’re in, and, most importantly, focus on the things that you ‘can’ control. Be aware of the things that you can’t control, but keep them in the background, slightly out of focus. Don’t let disempowerment dominate your world view. Instead focus on what you can do and what you can control. Anything that you can exercise control over will give you a greater feeling of satisfaction. This has been proven true scientifically:
The more self-control people reported having, the more satisfied they reported being with their lives. And contrary to what the researchers were expecting, people with more self-control were also more likely to be happy in the short-term. In fact, when they further analyzed the data, they found that such people's increased happiness to a large extent accounted for the increased life satisfaction.   
Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/07/study-people-with-a-lot-of-self-control-are-happier/277349/
This doesn’t mean that by wanting to control things that you’re a ‘control freak’ or a ‘megalomaniac’ for even wanting to have control, you can still have Good Will/Intention towards the things you control, and do good by them. If you do this then you’ll be more likely to take pleasure from life and less likely to sit around and whining about what you can’t do anything about.


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