Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Self-regulation for Success

"The term self-regulation(sometimes also called executive function) refers to the capacity to control one’s impulses, both to stop doing something, if needed (even if one wants to continue doing it) and to start doing something, if needed (even if one doesn’t want to do it)." Source: Tools of the Mind.

Although this is a skill taught as children, I think I missed that class in the school for dragons. It's very hard for me to delay gratification or suppress my impulses when it comes to achieving things that are important for me or that I feel strongly about. I want to do something. I want results now. I want them perfect and everybody must love them.

So as a good dragon, I dive into it head-on and with all the fire I've got inside. I'm very hot about it and I don't care to devote insane amounts of time and passion -and often disregard the rules of pace, method, and practice- because I want to get to my goal yesterday. I want to arrive before I even started. I want shining results but I lack self-regulation. As consequence, everything ends up in a mess most of the time...

...and people don't welcome it as I wanted. Nor do I. Frustration settles. I end up exhausted because I didn't pace myself either. I feel I'm not a good dragon and I have some talent but not enough to succeed because things don't come out as I see them in my mind. (Here the victimizing voice) "I'll never succeed at this. People don't like it -because there are not thousands cheering for me outside the cave-. Worst, in my frustration tantrum, I think I stepped on my cheer leader. Abandon all hope."

I've never heard of self-regulation as a term until recently, when I started High School. I knew I had a weakness for immediate reward and that works against me, but it just dawned on me that talent is not really the problem. Look at this beautiful, state-of-the-art, loved by all, creation. It has everything to be the fastest car. A winner.

But without control it can as easily end up in this.

Brains are more complex than cars but you get the idea. Self-regulation is not easy, for 803 years old, perfectionist, impulsive, stubborn, OCD fire dragons least than all. But listen to dragon wisdom. It's not that you can't do it. It's only that you don't know how to do it. Search, learn, adjust, change. That's the only way to get success.

I'll leave  you with these words I caught from two different ads. You get your own conclusions. 

"When things don't come up as you expect, it's easy to stop believing than to keep the faith in your dream." Spanish ad. (Sorry don't remember the name.)

"Defeat is that doubt in your head, the demon that feeds in your fear, it tells you you're not good enough, that you can't do it, that is not possible...succumbing to that demon, that thought, that's defeat... Before giving victory a shot, I have to defeat defeat." Defeat Defeat Video.

Dragon Hugs!

This post is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can also find IWSG on Facebook - Critique Group.


  1. I don't think the driver walked away from that one.
    Patience is hard to come by when you want it now. Or yesterday. Everything in life is about balance and we often have to fight ourselves to achieve that balance.
    Just don't split the dragon in half.

  2. Patience? What is that? I'm still looking for the magic 'instant' button and can't seem to find it anywhere. Seriously, this is probably (for me) the hardest lesson of writing. I want the story out of my head and on paper now. The books published now. But it's good that life doesn't work that way. Love the last quote, by the way!

  3. I'm like you in many ways. It was hard for me to learn to appreciate and enjoy the journey.

    My family obligations help with that. If I was single and my kids weren't at home, I'd be pulling all-nighters, forgetting to eat, and working obsessively for days at a time on my stories.

    IWSG #134 until Alex culls the list again.

  4. Defeat is definitely a demon that lives in my head from time to time. One I fight as often as possible.

  5. I've been posting this series called Soundtrack of My Life (this is not a, "you must go read all my posts on this" plug... :) but more to say that I discovered fairly recently (in tapping therapy) that so many rotten things that happened when I was in school cemented how I felt about myself in my own mind. (The mean thoughts of others became mean thoughts of my own... about me.) It's taken some serious work to get rid of the emotional sting of those experiences. In doing so, I can now share them via this Soundtrack series. Why? Because by sharing our lives we discover shared experience... and can help each other. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is hit the Stop button on those negative voices (that might not even be our own) which tell us we're not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, etc.

    When our voice becomes in a bad situation, "Well, it didn't go exactly right this time, but it will get better next time," we're getting closer. I think that simply reading positive affirmations in the meantime is "one" way of helping to change the way we talk to ourselves. Let's face it, no one is harder on us than us.

  6. A much-needed dose of dragon wisdom that I needed to read, Al. I have to remind myself to be patient almost daily. Time to starve that inner doubt demon. :)

  7. Also known as "getting out of your own way." I have no patience with the hard work of self control either; I want everything NOW an PERFECT.

    Thanks for the words of wisdom Dragonheart. Hugs to you.

  8. Dragon wisdom, and reminders my impatient perfectionist self NEEDS. Mega thanks - and hugs.

  9. I love dragon hugs! Even though they're a bit scratchy…

    I used to have zero patience and little tolerance for most things. But, life has humbled me. I find as I grow older, the more lines form around my eyes, the more I learn to Live and Let Live.

  10. My old nemesis, patience - a virtue I desire and pretend at times to have. Yesterday is always too late, tomorrow never arrives, and today hasn't enough time.

    Great post, really, I mean that! I keep forgetting it a no-no comment on blogs. Hugs back to you!

  11. That's what they mean when they tell you to stop and smell the roses dear Dragon. Everything must be done in moderation and in it's own time. I have gone through the same thing as you, do it now, do it fast, finish it straight away. Take it from your Grandmother, it doesn't work. I am glad you are realising this. Slow and sure wins the race. Think of the tortoise and the hare. Or don't you have that story in Mexico?

  12. This resonated with my personal life. Last weekend, I looked at my husband and said, "I've been dieting for a full week now. Why am I not skinny yet?" I'm not used to waiting for stuff, but to get what I want, it's going to take time. It's just hard to wait. It's even harder not to drink the full sugar Red Bulls.

  13. Ouch! That crash/car looked mortally wounded. But you aren't FD, and neither am I, thank goodness, nor are most of us on the #IWSG. I like the term "self regulation" because to me it implies that such a thing is possible! I always need reminding about time, about expectations and how dangerous to me they can be. Thank you, wise one.

  14. I don't have to have immediate rewards, but when I throw myself into something, it is 110% and over the top. I know it's not healthy, but I do it anyway. My husband told me he actually admires the way I can devote myself so passionately to something. Maybe if you scale back the immediate gratification, your ability and willingness to give it your all won't be such a bad thing.

  15. Patience, dedication, and DETERMINATION, is certainly the keys for success. I'm with you on wanting it yesterday, BUT we must be realistic...

    God has blessed many of us with INCREDIBLE gifts, BUT if we don't take the time to nurture them, stoke the virtual fire, or keep up with a good pace, we will never be the success we wish to be.

    So many less talented people are successful. Why? BECAUSE the kept at it. NOTHING stopped them. Now of course, luck and being in the right place at the right time certainly does help.... BUT... it doesn't keep them there for long, unless, they have the dedication...

    You, FD, HAVE the talent, you HAVE the determination and will, you DON'T HAVE PATIENCE... it is one of the hardest lessons for us impatient people/dragons to learn...

  16. Greetings Al,

    First of all, my kind friend, humble apologies for my lack of interaction recently. It's a slow process getting the momentum back.

    Patience, with a realistic balance, I believe is the key. No undue expectations and no unwarranted pressure. Your passion and yes, your true inner belief, shall see you onto even better, more profound possibilities.

    Defeat, actually, is when we allow are inner critic to overwhelm us with negative doubts. The inner critic tells lies. The inner child, the inner dragon is wise, patient and inquisitive. This is you.

    Hugs and hope,

    Gary :)

  17. Hi Father Al ... great post to remind us our life is a journey and we can take with whichever way we want ... and along whichever path .. so difficult at times for so many - but if we can count our blessings and realise we do have choices and can help ourselves- and others ... we'll be happier, easier with life and generally more successful ...

    Glad to see you back .. loves those fiery flashes on either side of the Dragon blog! Great colours ... cheers to you - Hilary

  18. Dear Lord, grant me the gift of patience. And I want it today!

    Take heart, Father Dragon. It's an oft spoken prayer. You're not alone.

  19. I think we all need self-regulation and all want instant gratification.
    Great post.

  20. It's so hard to know when to step on the gas and when to find the brake when we're dealing with those slippery life choices, isn't it?

  21. Great positive thoughts, thanks for sharing that!

  22. Al, I fight that battle at times. I see it perfectly in my head but when it's on 'paper' it just doesn't always translate the vision. Being a perfectionist is hard. :-) I've learned the result can be perfected and that it's okay if it isn't perfect. When I write I tend to focus on the idea and the excitement of it all. Then go back and color it in with the rest of the vision. I'll be honest, I don't like editing. I don't. It's a necessary evil and one I've learned the value of but damn, I want right the first try.

    Pacing oneself is vital. That, I don't have a problem with. It's all about being balanced for me.

    What I like about you? You don't give up. You see the problem and work on it. :-)

    Sending you lots of hugs. Dragons really need them.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  23. 'Defeat is that doubt in your head', isn't that the truth?
    Hope your day has been pleasant and productive.

  24. I would fail the marshmallow test too Jay but it is really important to be able to set priorities. The second quote is my favorite and congrats on high school!

  25. I suffer from impatience, so get what you're battling. Learning to appreciate the journey is something some take a lifetime to learn. Don't squander the now.