Reliance and Self Control in an iPhone World

For the last few months, my iPhone has been getting progressively worse.

I’ve tried to clean out the dirt and grime in the charger port, but it still forces me to hold the charging cable suspended at an 87.54 degree angle with exactly thirteen tons of metric pressure pushing up to get a charge.

It all finally hit the fan last night when I couldn’t get the dang thing to work, and while trying to apply the metric tons of pressure necessary, the cable-head itself broke.

I’ve spent the first 45 minutes of my morning feeling frustrated beyond belief. I’ve been scouring the internet for simple fixes, researched how I might be able to tear my phone apart and replace the charging port, and come to the conclusion that I hate life. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

It’s a phone.

Why do I care so much about a phone? You’d think I was fretting about a dying relative by my mopey nature and random outbursts of anger. But this phone has become so much a part of how I do things – of how I run my day and how I function in this world – that being without it for even a few hours or days makes me feel naked.

And now I feel a little disgusted with myself.

Because I am currently allowing a device that is literally smaller than my hand ruin my day. Because I let it get this far. Because at some point in my life I decided this small device was so necessary in fact that I would intertwine it with the way I do things. And for years I’ve reinforced this mentality until I find myself here, broken iPhone and irritated expression.

I fumbled through one of my favorite pieces of advice from a good book, and I found a list of things humans should try to embody.

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and… what’s that last one? Oh yeah…

Self Control.

The peace is hard enough to come by in this world of constant distractions. When’s the last time we even heard silence? I read a statistic that back in 1940 it took approximately 10 hours to record 1 hour of silence, of a complete absence of sound. In 2010 the same 1 hour of silence took 3.5 months to record. But even while I struggle greatly to find that quiet place, that struggle is microscopic in comparison to my lack of self control.

I can’t skip a meal without my day being ruined.

I can’t go a few hours without a phone.

I can’t skip Game of Thrones on a Sunday night (and literally watch it on Monday) because even this… a television series… is too great a sacrifice for me.

When athletes train, they spend countless hours preparing their body for the grueling season of activity ahead of them. They do this, put in the time and the work and the preparation, so that they can perform at the highest level possible. And all of that work comes to fruition when the season begins, and those who worked hard rise to the top of the ranks above those who didn’t give it their all.

It’s not about abstaining from things just to prove I can. Nor is it about feeling better when I lack something.

It’s about control.

I want to have control over my body and my mind, not the other way around.

So for today, I’m going to ignore the fact that my phone doesn’t work.

I’m going to turn it off because it won’t charge anyways. But I’m going to leave it off. And I’m not leaving it off because I want to feel better about myself for today. Or because I want to prove I can do it.

I’m going to leave my phone off because I need to learn a little more self control and a little less reliance.

Because there is no greater season than life. And we should all be training constantly for it. Trying to be better. Working towards the type of people we are capable of being.

And I think we could all use a little more self control. Don’t you?

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Thoughts on Excess and Self-Control

Have you ever heard the phrase “Everything in moderation, including moderation”?

I feel like when I first heard that phrase, my reaction was more focused on the first word.

Everything.

I wanted to do everything, to try everything, at least a little bit.This isn’t to say I started walking down shady alleys in search of hardcore drugs with a wallet full of cash, but the idea that the world was somehow open-ended to me drew me in, until I started to break down my cultural ideaology.

For some reason, we’ve grown accustomed to the idea that, because we have more we should use more/do more. The concept of Maslow’s Pyramid of needs seems to come to mind, despite its apparent flaws. The more time we have and the more safe we feel and the more money we earn, the more we tend to get bored and want more to do.

That’s sort of a twisted concept isn’t it? It’s almost as if having more leads to wanting more. The mere concept of self-control has become decadent, a lost notion from a forgotten time.

All politics aside, during the NYC demonstrations that were flooding the streets talking about the 99% and how we are all a part of it, I couldn’t help but wonder what the rest of the world thought of us. Now don’t misunderstand me – the cause itself, the idea that we need to help those who need it, that I can get behind. The idea that there is unfairness and cruelty and greed, these are all things that need to be brought to light and to justice. But my point isn’t that injustice needs to be addressed, but the fact that we have the literal physical time to protest it means we are, in many ways, better off than the rest of the world. I don’t have the statistics in front of me but I would venture to bet, in the scope of the whole world’s financial wealth, all of America is likely in the top 1%.

This isn’t a degradation of a social cause, but an observation on a state of mind. 

To me, the fact is if we all had the ‘means’ to buy a new car or a new house or even a cheeseburger at McDonalds every day, we probably would. In fact, if we had the means and didn’t use them, we might even be looked down upon by our peers.

Self-Control isn’t fashionable.

I feel, and maybe I’m alone in this, but I feel like this cultural norm needs to be rewritten. Why should we be ruled by our own desire instead of ruling over it? Why is it more acceptable to succumb to peer pressure or to desire than it is to hold true to oneself? I feel as though we need to rethink our stance in the social sphere and begin to respect and find respect for those people who do express a firm grip on self-control and quit rewarding the opposite.

I desire to be someone who does what he wants to do not because he cannot control himself, but because he has an unwavering ability TO control himself. I want to be someone who can stand as firm alone as I can in the company of many. I want to be that guy.

What do you think?