Self Control Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2017-06-14 12:00:00 No comments

My Agile Life: Only Me - Steven Savage

When I began doing my Agile Life, I had a most interesting experience; I had only myself to blame for anything.  I was the only responsible one when most anything went wrong.

Something was late? My fault. Something not done well? My fault. Very, very few cases of things that wreren’t due to me. To blame anyone else would have required a Herculean effort of self-delusion that I just don’t have the energy or lack of morals for.

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Reading those words reminded me of something Brad Warner said in one of his books: When you assume full and total responsibility for everything that happens to you, even the things you think you can't control, you have a change of perspective. You find that it becomes impossible to blame others for your problems, and so you become all the more focused on responding intelligently and wisely to your circumstances — the only real control any of us actually have — instead of trying to "control" them by way of abreaction. (For more on this, see the chapter "Bad Hair Day" in Warner's Sit Down And Shut Up, in particular pp. 218-219.)

Steve's particular way of approaching this is by way of a life methodology. Some people find spirituality in general (or Buddhism in particular, or Zen in super-particular) to be too mushy for their tastes, and so they might cotton more to Agile or some other entirely nonspiritual framework as a way to get their life in order. Nothing says the two are incompatible; it's more about which entrance you choose for that particular stadium.

What matters is waking up to the particular insight Steven outlines above. How you get there isn't really the point, as long as you get there in a way that is personally relevant.

Here's something else I've been getting into the habit of emphasizing whenever I discuss this issue: You do not get to tell other people to do any of this. The fact that you learn to take full responsibility for your own actions does not mean you get to strong-arm other people into doing the same thing. Everyone has to come to this particular thing on their own, in their own way, for it to be of any use to them. The minute it becomes an external demand or an imposition, it becomes pointless.

Self-control helps me finish my books. Check out my (new!) novel Welcome To The Fold, and showing your support for it by registering at Inkshares and adding the book to your "Follow" list! Failing that, you can always buy one of my existing books, available on Amazon Kindle and in dead-tree format.

Tags: Agile Buddhism Zen philosophy