The Power of 30

This is one of my favorite new tricks. It’s especially fun because it came about organically, through experimentation as I tried to find ways to control my ego’s impulses.

The Power of 30 is one my key tools of self control. It’s quite simple, but unless you practice self mastery I doubt you will get much use from it.

The mechanics of this are as follows:

  • Have an intention to self control. There must be something specific you want to get better at. For example, I’m working on overeating. I want to learn to control the impulse to add another helping to my plate, to master the impulse for a lifetime.

  • Notice that you have an impulsive thought. You must be able to catch yourself in the moment. This takes practice, but anyone can do it. See more about that HERE.

  • Start counting backward from 30. Focus on this and nothing else. Maybe your breath. Maybe.

  • When you are done, assess the state of your impulse and decide if you need to do it again.

That’s it. The mechanics are simple and they work for me. The key is intention and awareness. Do you want to have this control?

Look, I quit smoking cigarettes after 20 years of Marlboro Reds. I know that some addictions are tough. But controlling your impulses is so much easier when you have:

  1. Focused intention. Pray, meditate, deeply ponder, do whatever it is you think will work for your psyche, but you have to find a way to strip away the doubts that you can do it. You need to replace that with a focused intention.

  2. The awareness to catch yourself. This is my greatest asset. Thanks to my cold shower training I am very aware when I am being hijacked by feelings and egotistical thoughts. I liken it to the runner who uses the muscles in their feet compared to the person that wears heavy soled shoes their whole life and doesn’t even know their feet have muscles.

  3. A plan! You have to an idea of what to do! You need to act when the impulse comes.

Count down from 30.

It’s a great number. It’s just long enough (most people count a little slower than a second, so you’ll probably be counting for 35-40 seconds) to settle yourself back down and regain control. You can reset your intention and congratulate yourself on your powers of awareness.

Give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the results.