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Real Talk with Judge Dawson

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of August 20, 2014

Cycle Breaker Leadership Principle number 8 is “Develop Self Control.” I recently wrote about the basics of applying this Leadership Principle and how applying it in our lives will help us reach our maximum potential. Now, with the recent shooting in Ferguson, it’s important to expand on this topic and discover ways that we can quickly move our lives to a place of peace, safety and success.
There is no denying that in this society there is an extreme need for self control. Professionals, which includes police officers, are often quick to over-react just in the name of authority. It’s at these times our emotions flare up leading to us over-reacting. However, professionals are not the only ones loosing control. Everyday people, when faced with feelings of unfairness, sometimes overreact in response to any perceived unfairness. In the Ferguson case, as we wait for the facts to become clear, one thing for sure is that whenever there is a questionable death, there is a possibility that people did or will overreact.
The Ferguson tragedy and others have led me to identify two areas where we need self control the most. #1. We need to use self control before we do something that could derail our future.

2. We need to use self control after a tragedy has occurred. It’s at those two times when our ability to stay calm and to consider the big picture, will determine if the situation will go from bad to worse.

For this expanded discussion on self control, I like the definition that states self control is “the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.” How do you use self control before you do something that could derail your future? This discussion is important because too many people find themselves in destructive situations simply because they didn’t do the proper pre-planning. The first step is to “pre-plan” your life by clearly defining the vision for your future. By this I mean a vision for every area of your life: your finances, your education, your profession and your relationships. When you clearly identify your vision you will know where you are going. Knowing where you are going will keep you from “floating” in any direction. That means, when you are faced with a decision to take action, controversial to your vision, you will be less likely to take that action and you will be more likely to make the right decision. How do you use self control after a tragedy? Once a tragedy hits, it takes a lot of discipline to keep from losing focus on your overall vision. In fact, sometimes the pain and disappointment is so severe that you may consider abandoning your vision. This is when the power of “Emotional Intelligence”comes in. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize emotions in yourself and others, so that you can regulate those emotions and make good decisions in the face of negative situations. When you intelligently use your emotions, you will avoid over-reacting in your initial and later responses. Remember life is long and many of the situations we find ourselves in will be just small parts of our story. Let’s make sure we are not doing something in the “now” that we may regret in the “future.” Though I make it sound easy, I know it’s not. If you want to learn more about Cycle Breaker Leadership Principle number 8, “Develop Self Control” join Judge Dawson’s Cycle Breaker/Finish First program on Monday nights at 5:30pm at the East Cleveland Municipal Court. East Cleveland Municipal Court’s Judge William L. Dawson is on a mission to help people to Finish First, live their best lives and be Cycle Breakers!

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