This Maxim is about more than simple “self-control” in the sense of controlling our behavior in difficult situations. Perhaps a better translation would be to be ruler of yourself in ALL times and aspects of your life. This extends to situations that we would normally consider to be outside of our sphere of control such as employment. We must not be like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderlandscreaming about our tarts. Instead we must strive for our own excellence in a measured, reasonable fashion.
This is far easier said than done as our world is one in which it is easy to get out of control as is evidenced by our fascination with out of control superstars. It is one where balanceis needed between the different aspects of our lives and as balance is dynamic, so is our attempt to maintain that balance through self-control. It is when we do NOT exercise our self-control that our lives spin out of balance and we must then control ourselves more stringently to regain that balance than we would have if we had just maintained the control to begin with.
This Maxim is not one that is always popular, but it is something that is needed if we are to live a measured life. It is one that is needed for us to maintain our adherence to the other Maxims. And it is simple good discipline which makes it easier for us to achieve all that we can achieve.