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Discipline to Success:

The Physical Temperance Attribute

We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature has placed in our power . . . The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. 
Patrick Henry

continuation from BLOG post: part VII.d

Physical Temperance:

Moderation or self-restraint in action, thought, or feeling. Habitual moderation in the indulgence of the physical appetites or passions; not excessive in degree.

The physical temperance attribute is the second of five character attributes for character well-roundedness. It is also the second attribute in the inverse pyramid scale. Physical temperance is the control of physical appetites and passions. Unlike the physical attribute discussed in the last chapter, which seeks physical attainment, the physical temperance attribute seeks physical control. We can segment the physical temperance attribute into two areas:

There is a distinction between physical habits and physical indulgences. Habits are physical actions that we do subconsciously. Some habits are good, such as brushing your teeth, while other habits are undesirable, such as chewing food with your mouth open. The physical temperance attribute identifies these undesirable habits and sets a goal to rid ourselves of these habits.

What are undesirable habits? That depends on where you are from. I am not an authority on personal manners. But you can find a number of experts on the subject who can identify areas where you can refine your character. Some starters may include the following:

Undesirable Physical Habits:

  • Being interruptive
  • Being rude
  • Being abrasive
  • Using foul language
  • Biting your Nails, Spitting, etc.

Physical indulgences, on the other hand, are the personal wants of physical appetites and passions. The physical temperance attribute moderates physical appetites, and desires that often control our lives. Some of these indulgences include dangerous addictions to alcohol, tobacco, drugs and other substances. Again I am not trying to be an expert. You need to research your inner self to determine where addictive behavior affects your performance. Some examples may include the following:

Examples of Physical Indulgences that Require Moderation
(or complete elimination):

  • Smoking
  • Excessive Drinking
  • Caffeinated Drinks
  • Use of Drugs
  • Late Nights
  • Excessive Eating
  • Excessive Work
  • Excessive (you define)

The two listings are brief but paint a picture of why bad habits and physical indulgences weaken our ability to succeed. Physical temperance is the control over these passions that translates into increased physical discipline and self-esteem.

Physical temperance goals require more energy than the physical development goals discussed in the last chapter. The inverse pyramid scale shows that internal energy increases because physical temperance demands continuous attention for the whole day — like resisting the temptation to bait your nails.

Note from the scale that external energy increases for the physical temperance attribute. Your control of undesirable habits and appetites may require outside services such as alcohol prevention centers. Some indulgences like substance abuse may require great levels of total energy to control — perhaps more total energy than any of the five attributes.

It can be extremely difficult to control an addiction. But physical addictions are isolated cases that require special attention. Most physical temperance goals use less total energy than the education, social and spiritual attributes. The physical temperance attribute thus becomes the second attribute in the hierarchy scale that rounds the character.

Next week: we get into more detail on building physical temperance.

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Krayton M Davis

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