Mountain Lesson No.33

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The greatest enemy is the one within.

Success. Confidence. Love. Enough. Courage. Resilience. Persistence. Endurance. Happiness. 

What stops you from achieving these states, talents and behaviours?

What stops you from getting what you want? 

What stops you from asking for what you want?

What stops you from defending what is yours?

What stops you, period?

Walking up the Mount Lofty trail last weekend, we all spread out and found a pace and space to listen to our own thoughts. Reflecting on the year that’s just passed and my goals for 2019, it didn’t take long for my little voice to start yapping in my ear…

The path of personal development is decorated with lessons about where we have been (both physically and emotionally), why we have been there, and how to get to where we want to go. In my experience, and that of our great teachers and leaders, the thing that stops us from getting what we want is often referred to as the voice in our head– our ‘little voice’ as my mentor Blair Singer calls it, or The Great Trickster as coined by John Kehoe. It’s the enemy within us.

T.Harv Eker teaches us that everything starts as a thought. A thought leads to a feeling, then a feeling leads to an action, and finally an action produces a result. For example: “I think I’m not good enough to start my own business. Yes, that’s it! I knew it! I don’t feel that I’ve got what it takes. I feel incapable. I feel like I’m going to be an employee for ever. So, you know what? I’m not going to even bother trying.” The action becomes ‘not trying’ and the result is ‘nothing changes’.

Let’s look at a simpler example. Imagine that you just had an argument with your partner. You thought that you were right and they were wrong. Therefore you felt that they should have backed down, and when they didn’t, you felt angry and perhaps your voice became raised. Sound familiar? Because you felt so strongly about your position, you ‘dug your heels in’ and stood firm on your position (stubbornness had set in). You began to feel angrier at the situation and couldn’t help yourself. Your ‘involuntary’ action was to say something in the heat of the moment, something that you’ll regret, and the argument got worse. The result is a very heated environment, unhappy partners and perhaps even threats and insults. It all began with a thought–with how we talk to ourselves.

And we talk ourselves out of greatness all the time. We generally blame it on two things: a fear of failure and what others will think of us. Sometimes it’s a lack of confidence, however we can handle that quite easily by simply being prepared–by knowing our stuff and practicing until it’s permanent.

However, there will always be a first time we try something new, and that’s where the fear can raise its head and get in our ear. The single greatest factor that can overcome that fear–the warrior that can stand up to that little voice– is something magical that comes from the heart. It’s courage. The word ‘courage’ comes the French word ‘coeur’– which means ‘heart’.

Think about it! Isn’t it amazing what we will do for love–cross oceans, perform feats of strength otherwise humanly impossible, behave emotionally and irrationally, ask somebody on a date, go without something to be of service of others, put ourselves in harms way, we’ll even share our favourite ice cream! All the while, that little beast is nagging us, causing us to second-guess ourselves. It says things like:

“I’m not good enough!

I’m not prepared enough!

I’m not tall enough!

I’m mot smart enough!

I’m not pretty enough! 

Who’s going to listen to me?

Nobody likes me?

Look what happened last time!

What if I f*ck it up?

What if I f*ck it up, again?

What if it actually works?”

Do any of these sound familiar? Be aware of what you are saying to yourself. Your subconscious is listening, and it believes you.

So why is it then that we find the courage to do some things but not others? Chances are there’s an element of purpose and meaning that’s more present in the things that we are willing to ask for and fight for.  You need to really want it–the desire has to be great enough. The pain has to be great enough.

The next time you feel afraid to do something that you really want to do, draw the sword of Courage and attack the mofo like there’s no tomorrow. Your courage is a superpower and your enemy is not real. 

It’s all in your head.