Dear Jack, I saw a Pirelli advert the other day… don’t know if you’ve ever seen it. The copy reads: “Power is nothing without control – Pirelli.” I think it’s a classic.
One of the biggest temptations you’ll face in life is the ability to manage your capabilities, to resist temptation and provocation, ignore insults. I see many struggle with this on social media. If you engage in digital fisticuffs with virtual thugs, people can’t tell the difference. You must develop capacity to ignore digital insolence. Some people just want attention. Ignore them.
To ignore insolence is a mark of maturity – and a measure of ethical superiority. If on your journey to the market a happenstance insults you, should you then engage him and abandon your mission? You can’t allow the red herrings of life detract you from your mission in life. Learn to ignore ignorable.
The greatest exercise of power is the power of self restraint. A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out. (Proverbs 25:28). In other words, without self control you’re open source and prone to attacks. Self control is first line of defence.
Control your temper. Never lift your hand against a woman, provocation or no provocation. It’s a character defining ignobility. He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his own spirit than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32). According to Solomon therefore, self control defines strength. And we’ve seen restraint conquer kingdoms. The mighty Roman Empire was invariably conquered by 12 restrained men. The mighty British Empire was unravelled in India by a diminutive figure who preached restraint. And once the Indians attained independence, the rest of the so called 3rd world became empowered. In a space of 20 years, the British Empire dramatically shrunk in size. It’s now a glorified “Commonwealth”.
The ability to exercise control over one’s emotions, capacities and opportunities is vital to manhood. You must develop the capacity to restrain yourself from taking micro or maxi revenge. Never return evil for evil. You’ll transmogrify – become another creature. “No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless – that’s your job, to bless.” (1 Peter 3:9).
There is something called “emergence” in science. A system in which simple actions combine to produce sophisticated results is called “emergence.” Anger leads to “emergence.” Simple actions will combine to produce sophisticated and dangerous results. Don’t join the premier league of those who say mean and hurtful things to others. “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days say nothing evil or hurtful” is Peter’s advice to the young. (1 PeterÂ 3:10).
You can’t tempt an alcoholic with Coca-Cola. In other words, if it’s not tempting, it’s not a temptation. What tempts us allows us to know our weaknesses – the fault lines in us – what we’re prone to. If you feel like flying off the handle at the slightest provocation, that should tell you something. It’s a fault line. Means you have to watch it. If you’re prone to rage, learning restraint has to become a strategic priority. Or else you’ll create emergence. The consequences of emergence no one can predict. The South Africa murder trial of an athletic star now on will eventually boil down to one issue – self control. And as far as babes go if you don’t control yourself, you’ll father children indiscriminately. Or endanger your health.
Men can be self destructive in anger. Especially when they’re angry with wife or girlfriend. In anger mode, men retaliatorily go for foolish alternatives in convexo-concave biological proportions. By the time the anger has cooled down, the damage has been done. Watch your passion when you’re angry. Relationships have their moments.
The concept of power also raises the issue of responsibility and the spectre of manipulation. Words mean a lot to women. It’s why they’re prone to mellifluous deceit. But you’re a gentleman aren’t you? If yourÂ girlfriend trusts you and is beholden to you, don’t manipulate her. Her trust is a great burden – a test of your character.
There’s a place for nobility in a relationship. There are self imposed boundaries. If you borrow money from your girlfriend, pay her back. Makes her trust you with resources. If she decides to give forbearance, let that be her decision. And I’ll say the same to the woman too. You’ll create hurt if you have the money on you and don’t pay back as promised – a certain quiet pain and disappointment.
Women sometimes step in for their men to assist them find their footing. Don’t violate her credit support. She may not say a word but you’ve sent a message. Nobility says pay. Or she feels taken advantage of. It’s all about restraint of oneself not to be tempted to refuse to pay back. This is “proactive restraint”.
Modern trends or no modern trends, you should restrain yourself from not playing your role in a relationship. Should a man pay the tab on a date? My answer: Shouldn’t a man pay the tab on a date! My belief is, by the time you need to bring out a calculator on a date and start using division sign, something’s not right. Even if she’s richer than you there are tabs you should pick. You earn her trust and respect that way. Proactive restraint.
There are roles a man should play in a relationship if you want respect. And the basic principles don’t change much no matter our modern concoctions. A gentleman is a gentleman. Chivalry is chivalry. Love is old fashioned. Establish financial trust in your relationship. Exercise proactive restraint not to be tempted not to do right.
© Leke Alder 2014