Self-mastery, your ability to manage your emotions, thoughts and actions, is a matter of life and death.
Isn’t that a little dramatic, Naomi?
No, I’m deadly serious.
This past week two people with low self-mastery collided, resulting in one of these people dying.
In the middle of a viral pandemic, while emotions and fear are high, the President of the United States took to the podium and promoted a chemical, chloroquine and its less-toxic cousin hydroxychloroquine, as a potential cure for the COVID-19 virus. While these chemicals are used in some medical circumstances, they are not approved by the FDA for use as a cure for COVID-19.
The President of the United States said he felt good about it. He didn’t have any facts or data to back-up his feeling, but he repeatedly promoted this chemical as a hopeful miracle cure to the general public.
Meanwhile, an American couple living in Arizona heard the President promote this chemical. They were worried. Though they did not feel sick, and were quarantined at home, this couple heard hope from the President. The wife found a variation of this chemical, chloroquine phosphate, in the cupboard. The chemical is a common product used to clean fish tanks. The Arizona couple decided to be proactive, get ahead of the virus, and ingested the chemical.
Within 30 minutes, both husband and wife were rushed to the hospital where the husband died and the wife was placed in intensive care.
Now, you might be saying Naomi, come on. How stupid can they be? They should have known not to ingest a chemical used to clean fish tanks.
Before you judge these people, let me try to explain.
Self-mastery, your ability to manage your emotions, thoughts and actions, is a powerful tool. When developed and used with definite purpose, self-mastery can propel you to great success. In contrast, a lack of self-mastery can hold you back or even put you in harm’s way.
Picture a veteran NFL quarterback playing in the Superbowl. He has worked hard all season to get to this moment. He’s studied the plays, conditioned his body and now must perform. He’s nervous, but calm. He gathers his team around him and gives a little pep talk. He reassures them that they’ve trained together for this moment. Then the team gets to work driving toward the win.
Now imagine it’s the fourth quarter and the game is tied. The wide receiver gets injured and a rookie player is subbed in. This is his first Superbowl. Tensions are high. The game is on the line. He’s scared and excited and overwhelmed. The rookie looks to the veteran quarterback for guidance. The quarterback gives the rookie reassurance and support, but in the end the rookie wide receiver is responsible for his own performance. He may not have as much experience, but he should have done his homework and prepared.
Winning takes self-mastery from every team member. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
The President of the United States is called upon in times of crisis to perform like a Superbowl quarterback. Hopefully he has done his homework, practiced his plays and has surrounded himself with a winning team. He must manage his emotions, thoughts and behaviors so he can lead everyone toward the end goal.
The American public is like that rookie wide receiver. We’re nervous and a little frightened. We’re looking for support and reassurance that everything will be ok. We trust our leaders to guide us and have our best interest at heart. But ultimately, we are all responsible for our own emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
We must be self-masters in our own lives.
During this pandemic, the President of the United States has failed the self-mastery test. He is not managing his emotions, thoughts and behaviors. He has not practiced, planned or prepared a winning strategy. He doesn’t rely on his team of experts and is giving guidance on topics he knows nothing about. He doesn’t stop to think about how much power his words carry and the consequences of those words.
The couple from Arizona also failed the self-mastery test. They were not managing their emotions, thoughts and behaviors. They blindly followed a person who gave them terrible guidance. They failed to take responsibility for their own lives. They never stopped to think that perhaps ingesting a chemical designed to kill the algae in their fish tank could kill them too.
The overall lack of self-mastery, from both parties, is tragic. And if you still think I am being overly dramatic, consider the fact that aquarium stores across the USA are sold out of chloroquine phosphate. Thousands of people are poised to ingest this poison unless they get control of themselves. And they are still getting terrible guidance from a President who is unable to manage himself.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.”
You MUST develop self-mastery so you can control your fate. See with open eyes, listen with open ears, and think with an open mind. It’s a matter of life and death.