How To Fight The Enemy That Lives Between Your Own Two Ears

How To Fight The Enemy That Lives Between Your Own Two Ears

One of the main things I’ve learned about life is that before you conquer the external world, you have to master the inner world of your mind.

You might have all kinds of awesome goals.

  • “I want to buy a Lambo.”
  • “I want to feed starving people.”
  • “I want to fly to the moon.”

No problem. The enemy lies not in the outside world. It’s not money, people, or opportunity that’s holding you back. It’s you.

Legendary surfer, Laird Hamilton said it best:

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.”

Self-doubt creeps into your system at the weirdest moments. At times you don’t expect it at all.

And all of a sudden, you have a true inner war on your hands:

  • “What am I doing this for?”
  • “Is it really worth it?”
  • “Why, why, why?”

There’s a war going on inside your head. And you’re not even aware of it.

Here are 10 war strategies that will help you to win your inner battles.

1. See Yourself As A Warrior

First things first: You have to start looking at yourself as a warrior.

You’re in constant battle with yourself.

You have to realize that you’re the person who’s in control of your life. It’s not the economy, your family, spouse, boss, or anything else that you can possibly blame.

That means one simple thing: This is your life. Own it.

Robert Greene said it best in 33 Strategies Of War:

“When something goes wrong, look deep into yourself — not in an emotional way, to blame yourself or indulge your feelings of guilt, but to make sure that you start your next campaign with a firmer step and greater vision.”

Never blame yourself. That’s not what a warrior does. Instead, fight your inner enemy by not giving up.

2. Know Yourself

What makes you angry, sad, fearful? How do you make decisions? What’s most important in your life?

If you want to win your inner battles, it’s obvious that you have to know your enemy.

I’ve made a list of 20 questions that can help you with self-awareness.

3. Have Zero Expectations

One of the biggest causes of inner conflict is that we have too high expectations.

We expect a lot from our spouse, family members, friends, colleagues, boss, etc.

But that’s not the way the world works. You don’t control people. You only control yourself.

Never have high expectations. You will only be disappointed.

Instead, expect nothing.

Stop expecting that:

  • Your friends will always be there for you.
  • You will always stay healthy.
  • Your family will always be with you.
  • You will always make money.

Now, you’re free. Everything you get is a gift.

4. You’re Not Perfect: Accept It

Never beat yourself up for making mistakes.

This is life. It’s unpredictable. It makes no sense. Shit happens.

When you try to be perfect, you’re always at war with yourself. You’re never at peace. Nothing is good enough.

You will never get to enjoy life for what it is. Even though it makes no sense; there’s still enough beauty in life.

You just have to take off your tunnel vision goggles and see it.

This post is also available as an infographic! Click here to download it.

5.Never Burn Yourself Out

Sun Tzu, the most famous war strategist in history, once said:

“In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.”

Always keep in mind that you’re worth more when you’re at full strength.

You might want to achieve something so bad that you put all your energy into it. You work hard. Don’t sleep.

But here’s the thing: You might win a hard fought battle, but not the war.

Life is long. Don’t burn out before you reach the end. That’s pure self-sabotage. Instead, save yourself.

6. Never Question Life

I get it. You work hard, hard, hard. But nothing happens. No results.

You ask: “What Am I Doing This For?”

  • No one reads your work.
  • You’re never promoted at work.
  • No one buys your product.
  • No one hires you.
  • No one cares.

Once you have one negative thought like that, the floodgates will open.

It’s the same as binge eating: “Ah fuck it, I’ve had one spoon of ice cream, I might as well eat the whole jar.”

Don’t get all existential on yourself. There’s no point in doing that. It’s not helping you.

Never question life. Never think about it. It’s a discussion you will never win.

It’s best to avoid this war. Not all wars can be won.

7. Believe In Yourself

How do you believe in yourself?

“Affirmations,” says the ignorant self-help guru aka life coach.

“I’m the best. I’m the best. I’m the best.”

That stuff makes me laugh. It’s not the 80s anymore. You can’t tell that to people.

You also can’t say things like that to yourself if you don’t truly believe it. Deep down we always know that we’re full of shit.

  • Lying to yourself will not help.
  • Lying to others will also not help.

Work, practice, see results, and believe in your abilities.

Not putting in the work? You develop no skills. Hence, no belief.

So go and work. That’s where it all starts.

8. Pick The Slow Road To Success

“Get rich quick.”

We love fake promises because they distract us from reality.

You know better. There’s no such thing as overnight success.

Even if someone promises you the quick road, opt out, and pick the longer, and harder road to your destination.

I promise you this: You will feel 10X more fulfilled when you get there.

The lazy person is always looking for the next best thing.

You don’t care about the destination; you love the journey. No matter how hard it is.

9. Stop Making Assumptions

Never make conclusions based on assumptions.

Always look at facts. Don’t have the facts? Don’t make assumptions.

Also, ignore conventional wisdom. Most stuff you hear and read around you is not true or very subjective.

Avoid inner conflict by looking at facts. Always.

10. Keep Moving

The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that movement was the main thing to life.

No matter what you do, never stand still. Staying still is the same as moving backward. Because life doesn’t wait.

Mental toughness is created by always plowing forward. By facing your adversity head on.

“What does not move is dead.”
– Robert Greene

You don’t become mentally strong by ignoring your inner troubles and looking at your Instagram feed.

No, your battles are not fought on your smartphone. You fight by looking in the mirror.

Win or Die

The battles you fight with yourself are very real. And if you arm yourself with the right strategies, you will win.

Why should you always fight? Napoleon Bonaparte said it best:

“Death is nothing, but to live defeated is to die every day.”

You will never be defeated as long as you keep fighting.

Thanks for reading!

win your inner battles

P.S. My new book ‘Win Your Inner Battles’ is available now.

If you enjoy my articles, check out the book too.

How to Exercise 312 Times a Year

How To Exercise 312 Times A Year

Click here to download a copy of the drawing.

I used to be a chubby kid. Most people thought that was cute. But it got out of hand when was in my early teens.

At age 15 I weighed 230 pounds (105 kg). I was fat. Three years later, I weighed 55 pounds less and I was bench pressing my old weight.

The truth is that being overweight sucks. And if you want to change, you need a reason. At that age, I wanted to impress girls. So I dropped the weight. It was surprisingly simple once I put my mind to it.

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Some Practical End of Year Thoughts

end of year thoughts perspective

Last update: December 11, 2022

Here we are. It’s December and another year is almost coming to an end.

I’ve never had a special association with the Holiday season. In my home we always had the Christmas tree and family dinners but that was about it.

Later, when I worked at a large corporation I was introduced to the huge Christmas parties. It wasn’t for me. I also never understood why people put extra pressure on themselves to hit their targets and have a full social calendar for the month of December.

And somehow there was always drama in December. Relationship issues. Family feuds. You name it.

But since 2015, when I started living a calmer and more mindful life, I’ve been taking a very different approach. When most people are partying and focused on closing the year, I retreat. I’m focused on planning the upcoming year.

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If You Can Believe It, You Can Achieve It

Belief creates the actual fact.

I know what you’re thinking. “This guy probably read a motivational quote on social media and now he’s telling us that nothing is impossible. Yeah right.”

I think the world has no shortage of motivational articles, books, videos, or Facebook posts.

You don’t need a bigger dose of #mondaymotivation. You know why? That type of motivation is not practical. It doesn’t do anything. It’s not useful. It’s the same as drinking Red Bull. It fades quickly.

Belief, on the other hand, is a tool that’s extremely useful. And it’s underutilized by many.

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