8 min

(In part) Watch your habits they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny”. – Lao Tzu

By Lorraine Morris


“Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny”. – Lao Tzu

A few weeks back we journeyed down Self awareness street. I hope you have been taking time to become more self-aware and have taken time to:

1. Write down what you believe are your strengths and what are your areas of development i.e., your weaknesses (Do a personality test)
2. Practice your moment-by-moment awareness – ie: become more mindful
3. Ask your trusted friends and family for feedback.




Today, we turn into Self-Management Street, so get your walking shoes on let’s start our walk.

Literature refers to self-management as impulse control ie “not taking a particular action aimed at short-term gratification in order to avoid possible negative long-term consequences.

To not act on an impulse requires that a mental representation of possible future consequences influences the behavioural expression of the impulse before it occurs.

Thus, impulse control involves recognition of an emerging behaviour and the ability to anticipate the negative consequences of that course of action.

In other words impulse control involves us being able to suppress an approaching behaviour.’’

According to Daniel Goleman who has done over 20 years of work on this subject matter mentioned that self-management consists of emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement orientation, resilience and optimism.

When we talk about emotional self-control, it’s our ability to keep our emotions and impulses in check.

If I had to give an example here, it’s you keeping yourself 100% together no matter how intense you are feeling about a situation, it where they offer you another slice of your favourite dessert and because you know you are working on creating a healthy lifestyle you turn it down even though your mouth is salivating because you ate the first slice you thought it was just so scrumptious.

Being able to self-regulate and hold ourselves back impacts our mental, physical well being as well our ability to maintain relationships.

If we tend to always be reactive to situations our lives will be toxic and so when we are able to control and keep our emotions in check we are able to contagiously impact those around us positively.




Take a moment to reflect, how often do you sometimes give in to instant gratification instead of holding off till you achieve your long-awaited goal?

Transparency in self-management refers to your ability to maintain your integrity and your values, even when things get hard.

For example, someone comes and offers you the tender contract you have been praying will come through, the catch however is if only you increase your current costing by a certain amount which you would then need to give them once they award you the contract.

Your action in this case would speak volumes of whether you have mastered or are being mastered in the area of self-management.

Adaptability on the other hand, is your ability to manage self in order to be flexible to the changes around you.

Another competency is your ability to energise yourself to improve or meet a standard of excellence and last when we talk to optimism and resilience it is you being able to rely on yourself to up your motivation levels to persist in your goals despite obstacles and set backs – If I think of someone we may be familiar with who was resilient it would be J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author, her first book in the series was rejected by ten publishers but guess what today she is a multi-millionaire because she didn’t give up but persisted in achieving her goals.




For us to be able to become great self-managers, it is important for us to understand the interdependent relationship between our beliefs, emotions and our behaviour. We all have a right to our own thoughts and emotions but what are the consequences if our thoughts are distorted (remember we are what we think).

Let’s pause again here, and I want you to close your eyes and think of this past week, how often in this week was your thinking Exaggerative? Irrational? Catastrophic? Rigid? Selective? Biased? Self-Pitying? Disempowering? The purpose of this reflection is not really to make you feel bad but to help you to listen to master
self-awareness and how to them manage your emotions.

Now that we have explored the meaning of self-management. I would like to explore a helpful tool that you can use to practice daily, the tool is like the working of a traffic light (the red, yellow and orange robot), we will refer to it as the ‘emotional traffic controller’.

So here is a scenario, you have been good all week trying your best to keep your emotions in check and then bam! Someone comes from out of the blues and drives into the back of your car while you are stationary at a robot.



You feel angry and upset and jump out of your car to meet the person who has driven into you. You shout and scream and ask him how this happened and then proceed to tell him that this is his entire fault and that he is going to have to fix it.

If you have to make use of the emotional traffic controller, here is a better way that one could handle this very same scenario whilst still achieving a desired outcome of holding the other person accountable.

Tip 1: Similar to the red light, Stop or at least slow down your thoughts and immediately stop with what you were about to do. Stopping can vary from a moment of pause to taking a few days, considering your response and depending on the urgency of the situation

Tip 2: Like the amber light, pause and test the validity of your emotions and the assumptions behind your thoughts and your anticipated response. Being aware of your feelings, thoughts and behaviours enables you to make decisions about how to manage yourself.

Tip 3: like the green light, Choose an emotionally intelligent behaviour that aligns with your values and purpose

Let me know how this tip will help you next in managing your emotions! Have a good week ahead, remember you can change only if you want to.


Lorraine Morris is Co-Founder Musikana Foundation – musikanafoundation@gmail.com Instagram @musikanafoundation. Revive and Thrive Hub – info@reviveandhtrivehub.com Instagram @reviveandthrivehub. https://www.linkedin.com/company/revive-and-thrive-hub/



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