Self-control is the hardest skill you'll ever have to master.
From birth until the day you move out on your own, pretty much every facet of your life is controlled by someone else. Parents, teachers, babysitters, the secretive nameless guardian who taught you to kill from the quiet embrace of the shadows. There's always someone looking over your shoulder to prevent you from fucking up. "Don't run in the house, you'll get hurt." "Don't stab that guy, you'll go to jail again."
So from the time we're old enough to rationalize, we're trained that nothing is truly under our own control, and if we do happen to fuck up, the most we have to fear is getting grounded, spanked, or yelled at. When you enter adulthood, that all changes literally overnight. Except for the spanking thing.
For the first time, you'll be put into situations in which the only person you have to answer to is yourself. How will you react? Take away the teacher, and do you start slacking off? Take away mom and dad's rules on junk food, and do you start eating at McDonald's every day? Take away the police patrols, and do you strip naked and set houses on fire, cackling like a crazed hyena?
This is what we're dealing with when we talk about things like addiction, teen pregnancy, and obesity (the type that's not tied to a physical cause, of course). It's an area in which the only person who is going to give you hell is your future self. Are you prepared for that? I wasn't. Hell, I'm not sure I know anyone who was. Because keeping yourself in check when the temptation is there to just take the easy way out is excruciating. "Man, I don't feel like cooking tonight. Maybe I'll just order a pizza again." Yes, others may voice their concerns about your choices ("Dude, you're pushing 300 pounds, and you've eaten pizza every day for two months"), but nobody is going to step in and force you to get your shit under control, unless it's flat-out breaking the law. That's your thing now, and failing to master that self-control could fuck your life right on up.
It's probably best to just accept this one right now. I didn't until I was in my mid-30s, and it damn near killed me. You're better than that. But if all else fails, at least remember this article in 15 years. I'll either be one of those guys I mentioned earlier who's completely full of shit, or it'll feel strangely prophetic.
John has a Twitter, where he regularly gets mistaken for John Cleese.
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