Master the Masters: How to Have Emotional Control – IX Skill #7

By: Jim Murphy

This is the 7th in a series on the 7 skills of Inner Excellence.


  • Emotional control is based on the lens through which you see the world.
  • Self-control and emotional control both come from the stability of your heart.
  • How you see the world and what’s in your heart determines what (behaviors) come out when the pressure is on.

Master the Masters: How to have emotional control

“He’s not going to make it. He’s not comfortable being uncomfortable.” – Lou Piniella, MLB manager, speaking about a rookie’s frustration with failure (Inner Excellence p. 185).

 Imagine you’re playing in your first Masters golf tournament (which in 2020, is next week!) and on your way to Augusta National someone cuts you off in traffic, gives you the finger, and swerves at you—and you did nothing wrong. Then the driver slams on the brakes, gets out of the car and pounds on your window. What do you do? What if instead of Masters week, it was the week before, or you were a fan, not a player, would that be different?  

How you respond in that situation reveals your ability to use skills 1-6: how to compete, how to believe, how to focus, how to relax, how to handle adversity, and how to have freedom under pressure. Your response reveals what’s in your heart, which will be guiding you the rest of the day. You have every right to respond in anger, but the question is not about your rights, the question is… can you stay on the path of your dreams when obstacles come?  

How you respond to any adversity—or any person—is the result of the experiences you’ve had and the beliefs that have formed in your heart (and subconscious). So how can you respond in a way that gives you the best shot at having a great experience in the biggest event of your life?

Here’s 4 things to remember:

 1. Why you compete: I compete to raise the level of excellence in my life, to learn and grow, in order to raise it in others.

 Including three IX principles:

2. All things are here to teach me and help me, it’s all working for my good.

3. Everyone does the best they can with what they have in their heart.

4. The problem is not the problem, the problem is the state you enter when you think of the problem. 

Every time you compete (or face adversity), you get the gift of seeing what’s in your heart and who you can become in this moment. Emotional control is much more than choosing to be disciplined, it’s focusing daily on the IX mindset and remembering the 3 principles above.

With this mindset and these principles, you will become the person you were meant to become, and everything else will be added to you.

Love Jim

I’m about halfway done narrating the audio version of the Inner Excellence book. If you have the Kindle it should sync between the two. There will be bonus materials (interviews from pro athletes) as well as small changes throughout the book. The audio version will be about 10% new material. Coming soon!

Note: IX is the abbreviation for Inner Excellence (rather than IE). It also stands for the nine characteristics of the best possible life, that is, one filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

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