Self-mastery

People do not grow when their environment is too comfortable, when they are not challenged. It is in the midst of suffering and hardship that strength of character is formed.

Your character is determined by how you challenge yourself, and how you wrestle with your problems, in a way that is unique to you. This is how character is polished and become diamond-like.

It is not how you compare to others that is important, but rather how you compare to who you were yesterday. If you’ve advanced even one step, then you’ve achieved something great.

A person of integrity seeks self-mastery; a person obsessed with power seeks to control others. A person of integrity takes action, works hard and struggles to overcome his or her inner weakness; a person driven by lust for power forces others to work for his own selfish purpose, never reflecting upon himself.

People who can admire true greatness are happy people. Such admiration also serves to elevate one’s own existence. By opening wide the doors of our hearts we can broaden our own horizons and strengthen our belief in life. A breakdown in this capacity to praise and respect others can lead to inflexibility and self-righteousness.

Only when we learn to channel the energy we direct toward winning over others into winning over ourselves can we begin to develop our humanity.

The question of how to live one’s life and find one’s true life purpose can only be solved by making consistent effort to help others win over the miseries that afflict them. This is the way of the bodhisattva–to exert oneself for the sake of others while striving for one’s own self-realization.

If you become passive, you will find yourself restricted, regardless of how free the environment is in which you live. Conversely, if you maintain a positive, proactive attitude, you will find yourself free, no matter how restricted your environment. True freedom is the caliber or spiritual capacity that enables one to cope with any circumstance.

It’s not about others; it’s about you winning, and winning over yourself. By doing so, you will provide inspiration and encouragement to all around you.

It is a human tendency to blame others before reflecting on oneself. But if you do, you will never find the real cause of the problem, and there will be no real improvement.

Human integrity is determined by the heart, not by cleverness.

There may be times when others seem enviable. But others are others and you are you. Rather than comparing your joys and sorrows to those of others, you should aim to surpass your limits in the situation you are in right now. Those who can do this are the true victors in life.

Anyone who has ever made a resolution discovers that the strength of that determination fades in time. The moment you feel that is when you should make a fresh determination. Tell yourselves, “OK! I will start again from now!” If you fall down seven times, get up the eighth. Don’t give up when you feel discouraged-just pick yourselves up and renew your determination each time.

Just as a diamond can only be polished by another diamond, it is only through genuine, all-out engagement with others that people can polish their character, and help each other to reach greater heights.

People shouldn’t hesitate to exert their all, in a way true to themselves. How can you possibly ever know how far or fast you can go if you’ve never run all-out? To give up even before you’ve tried is actually arrogance-an affront to the wondrous power of life within you and disrespectful to yourself.

The word “character” originated from the Greek words meaning “sculpture” and “impression.” Character, then, could be thought of that which is shaped or etched. It may be true from a medical perspective that our psychological and physiological traits are generally predetermined genetically. Knowing this, however, adds little to our lives. All that matters is how we can better ourselves here and now.

One who has mastered himself is truly free. Freedom lies in the heart of the sage, servitude in the heart of the fool.

So many mistakes are made as the result of that tendency of people to ignore, overlook or disregard those facts that they find inconvenient or unpalatable.

An envious person does not look at those more capable than him and aspire to better himself; he plots to drag them down to his own level. Jealousy is simply an unwitting admittance of one’s own flaws and failings.

On the flip side of arrogance lies cowardice-a lack of courage to face the truth. Likewise, discrimination and envy are also two sides of the same coin.

All great literature, ancient and modern, is a bridge connecting one human being to another, one spirit to another. The quality of our life is determined by how many of those bridges we can cross.

Source: Words of Wisdom

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