Your life is a movie. You are the hero. Your mission is your goal.
There’s just one problem.
There are many enemies standing in front of your goal.
Your goal could be a big life vision, to live a peaceful life or both. But no matter what your mission is, life will throw challenges at you.
Challenges may come in any shape or form but there are common enemies who try to stop you from reaching your goal.
So, who are these enemies?
Let’s meet them one by one and find out their weakness.
1. Energy Vampires
It’s those people or activities in your life you must escape from.
So, how do you beat the energy vampire?
It starts with self-awareness. Notice what thoughts, activities, environments or people make your life miserable.
Check if you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT).
Once you identify the sources, you can avoid them or make a recipe to counter such situations.
Hungry? Grab some healthy food. Angry? Find peace or be grateful. Lonely? Speak with a loved one. Tired? Give your mind and soul some rest.
Another example is to balance negative thoughts with positive thoughts. When you feel cranky or overwhelmed, do therapeutic activities. Spend time alone, meditate, be grateful, breath, exercise, write, and the list goes on. Every person is different so you need to find your own recipe.
2. Impatient Chimp
The chimp wants momentary pleasure. It wants instant gratification at the click of a button.
It has no concern for future consequences. It wants short-term gains even at the cost of a long-term benefit.
The problem is that pleasurable activities are simply based on chemical activities in the brain. They may make us suffer in the long-term.
The small everyday decisions set the foundation for our long-term happiness in life.
Choosing to do an important task before checking social media first may sound like a small decision but it can have big consequences. The same goes for choosing what to eat for your next meal.
To beat the impatient chimp, develop patience and strong principles.
Change your values so you can identify yourself as a strong-minded person.
Think long-term. Be patient. Feel proud and take pleasure in delaying gratification.
It’s satisfying to check items off on the daily success checklist. This way, you will feel good at the moment and make long-term gains at the same time.
3. Lizard Brain
The lizard brain is the reason you’re afraid, the reason you don’t do all the art you can, the reason you don’t ship when you can. The lizard brain is the source of the resistance ~ Seth Godin
The “lizard brain” is the Amygdala region of the brain. It is part of the limbic system and processes emotions.
It is responsible for the fight-or-flight response. When it senses danger, it amplifies and gives you all the reasons to ignore positive thoughts, emotions or actions.
Steven Pressfield calls it resistance. You can identify its presence when you procrastinate, avoid discomfort, or find excuses.
The lizard brain can stop you from becoming the best version of yourself. So how do you deal with it?
Simple. You ignore it and take the action anyways.
Make the first step tiny to get the ball rolling. Once you have the momentum, taking further steps becomes easier.
Another way you can get over resistance is to perform a pre-performance ritual.
Lastly, craft your environment so you can beat the lizard brain every time it creeps up.
Let’s say you’re procrastinating on important but difficult work on your computer. The lizard brain may give you multiple reasons to avoid the work.
Here, you can drink a big glass of water as a pre-performance ritual. Then, you can break up the task and take the first smallest step.
To craft your environment for momentum, you can
- Use Pomodoro or any other custom timer technique.
- Listen to classical, video game, ambient or other music that does not distract you.
- Block all distractions using an app or a web extension. Put your phone on aeroplane mode. Become unreachable.
Act first and think later. As you take the action, the lizard brain will quiet down.
4. Inner Demons
Inner demons are deeply rooted fears and insecurities. It’s how the imposter syndrome operates.
Here are the common inner demons and ways you can beat them:
a) Fear of Failure
Even if you fail, you win. Because you learn what not to do and now you can do your next experiment. Failure can become a friend if you embrace it.
Do your best. Pivot. Repeat.
Don’t expect success with every action. Success feels so much better when it’s unexpected.
b) Fear of Rejection
It comes from ego and lack of self-confidence. When you accept yourself 100% and you’re comfortable with yourself, you don’t need the approval to feel confident.
Yes, approval does feel good and makes you more confident but don’t let rejection hurt you. It’s not about you. If you lack skills, develop them over time. If you’re not a good fit, find something else.
Become vulnerable because only you hold the key to your esteem.
c) Fear of Success
Many people see success as something only ‘successful’ people can achieve. They think they don’t deserve success. They are afraid of reaching their full potential because they are afraid of giving up an ordinary life.
What’s stopping you from succeeding? Who are you NOT to achieve great heights? You don’t need to chase success, but if success follows your actions of growth, let it come.
Stop coming in your own way. Let yourself succeed. Success is not impossible. It just takes its time.
d) Fear of Uncertainty
Nobody knows what will happen in the future. You don’t need to fear the unknown. Part of life’s adventure is to get lost and find your way back.
Be open to new things. If you don’t like it, try something else. But if you never try, you never know what you may experience and what you’re capable of.
You have only one life to lose or gain anything. Make the most out of it. Face the fear of uncertainty now or suffer in regret for the rest of the life.
e) Fear of Change
Many people stop themselves from growing because they worry about what others might think of their ‘new’ identity. Or they form a negative opinion about themselves.
They think: “I’m a fat person so I overeat.” or “I’m shy so I can’t be good at social skills.”
Your identity is who you want to be. If you want different results, you must embrace change at every step. Let go of who you or other people think you are. Raise your standards. Recreate yourself every day.
Do one thing every day that scares you ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Live your life in offence mode. Don’t defend against the inner demons. Face your fears to conquer them.
Fear is not always bad though. There is good fear and bad fear.
If you’re afraid of losing your freedom, work your butt off every day to attain freedom. If you’re afraid of ill health, make healthy lifestyle decisions every day.
So, fear can be good if you use it as fuel to make a positive difference in your life.
The difference between success stories and an average person’s story is that the people who succeed, get good at beating the enemies of personal growth in their life.
Turn your life story into a thriller movie by rising like a superhero and beating energy vampire, impatient chimp, lizard brain, and the inner demons every time they strike.
It’s not a one time battle. It’s an ongoing series of episodes in your life where you repeatedly have to overcome them to fulfil your life mission.
Now, it’s up to you to craft your movie.
Do you have the courage to take the role of the hero?