"Success Is Gauged By Self-Mastery" I should like to say a few words about self-discipline, self-control, or self-mastery which is so important to all of us if we are to accomplish what we set out to do and enjoy the blessings which we desire so much. First, I should like to quote some of the philosophers. Plato said: "The first and best victory is to conquer self; to be conquered by self is, of all things, the most shameful and vile." And da Vinci once said: "You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself." Then he goes on to say that "the height of a man's success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment. . . . And this law is the expression of eternal justice. He who cannot establish dominion over himself will have no dominion over others." In other words,he cannot be a worthy father or leader. Solomon in all his wisdom made this meaningful statement: "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." (Proverbs 16:32) There are two important elements in self-mastery. The first is to determine your course or set the sails, so to speak, of moral standards; the other is the willpower, or the wind in the sails carrying one forward. As I said before, character is determined by the extent to which we can master ourselves toward good ends. It is difficult to say just what builds good character, but we know it when we see it. It always commands our admiration, and the absence of it our pity. But it is largely a matter of willpower.
Source: Ensign, May 1975, p. 75.
Contributed by: Zaady