Oct 282010
Photo by dropowtt

A lack of self-control can easily lead to a person’s undoing. I explored this issue when I wrote about Darth Vader and his lack of self-control. The importance of self-control cannot be overstated. Those who have it are likelier to reach their goals than those who do not. Yet it is easy to lose sight of the need for self-control as we go about our daily lives. What I have gathered here in this post is a selection of quotes on self-control that you can reflect upon when you need it.

Quotes on Self-Control

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.

The best time for you to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust.
–Josh Billings

Not to have control over the senses is like sailing in a rudderless ship, bound to break to pieces on coming in contact with the very first rock.
–Mahatma Gandhi

We improve ourselves by victories over ourselves. There must be contest and we must win.
–Edward Gibbon

Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.
–Napoleon Hill

He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.
–Lao Tzu

Such power there is in clear-eyed self-restraint.
–James Russell Lowell

He who cannot obey himself will be commanded. That is the nature of living creatures.
–Friedrich Nietzsche

There never has been, and cannot be, a good life without self-control.
–Count Leo Tolstoy

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.
–Charles Darwin

A little kingdom I possess, where thoughts and feelings dwell; And very hard the task I find of governing it well.
–Louisa May Alcott

He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.

The first and best victory is to conquer self. To be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and objectionable.

Taking Action

Which of the quotes on self-control above do you like best and why? Do share your thoughts and comments below.

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  9 Responses to “Quotes on Self-Control: The Vizier’s Choice”

  1. “I am,
    a king,
    because I know how
    to rule myself.”
    - Pietro Aretin

    Self-control is very important thing for a man’s growth. If you can not control yourself, there stops any further control and impact. Great quotes Irving, continue the good work! ;)

    • Hi Marko,

      That’s a great quote by Pietro Aretin. I am glad you appreciate the need for self-control. It is necessary for one to get through life.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments! :D

  2. That last quote by Plato is powerful.

    Indeed, we must exert sheer effort to conquer ourselves. But we should also use as much strategy as possible, too! This is why I advocate reading, at the minimum, 30 minutes a day of something inspirational. This way we can constantly be reminded of not only who we want to be, but how to get there too.

    Also… the more we practice conquering ourselves, the stronger our mastery muscles will become.

    • Hi Bamboo Forest,

      Yes the quote by Plato is indeed powerful. It’s one of my favourites. :)

      I love your suggestion about using strategy in our bid to master ourselves. I agree with you about reading at least 30 minutes a day of something inspirational. This is what I do myself to maintain a harmonious balance in my life. Nourishing our minds with the books we read, the things we hear and what we see and watch is important in attaining self-mastery. Unless we do this on a continuous basis, it is difficult to master ourselves.

      Thank you for the great points you have raised! :)

  3. Hi The Vizier,

    Interesting collection of quotes here…

    I agree that self control is important as it prevents us from getting distracted by unwanted and unhelpful words and actions. Self control helps give us perspective and the time and space to consider what to do next.

    When people have little or no self control, they can do things that aren’t in their best interests – you can still be passionate and exercise self control… that’s an exciting combination.

    • Hi Scott,

      That’s an interesting point you raise about being passionate yet having self-control. I agree with you that it is indeed an exciting combination. Passion will give you drive to achieve what you want, while self-control will ensure that you have the focus and determination to accomplish it.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  4. Great collection of quotes.

    The telling thing is how varied they are with a very similar message. The quotes come from different cultures, span nearly 2500 years, they are quotes from philosophers, writers, self-help gurus, entrepreneurs and even a famed scientist.

    This incredible variety show better than anything the truly pervasive nature of the quotes and the real, “truth” of what they are saying about the overarching importance of self control.

    • Hi Steve,

      I agree with you. Despite the varied backgrounds and the different periods of history that these quotes are drawn from, the message of self-control is pretty much the same. We cannot take for granted the importance of self-control in our lives.

      Thank you for your insights! :)

  5. Self control is the key to your life in your life. All these are wonderful. I especially liked : 26. Your brain shall be your servant instead of your master. You will rule it instead of allowing it to rule you. -Charles Popplestone
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