“The warfare is in your mind! It’s not in your check book! It’s not in your savings account! It’s not on your job! The fight that you’ve got to fight is in your mind and if you whip it in your head you can whip it in your check book; you can whip it on your job; you can whip it out of your children; but you’ve got to drive it out of your head.” – T.D. Jakes
You’re in a warzone, a battleground of the mind.
You’re fighting for your life, for your sanity, for your mind.
Life is perception. Events that happen to you and around you – are filtered by your mind.
This always isn’t easy to realize. Many of us feel as if there is if there is absolute good or absolute evil, with no gray shades. There can be tremendous upsides to this mentality – especially when playing “the long game”.
But generally…meh. There’s little to be gained by this line of thinking. It makes you inflexible, something that is punished greatly by our ever-changing world. Instead, I invite you to take the Stoic approach to thinking, an invitation to wage war against your mind.
Fighting The Last War
Your mind tends to get bogged down in thoughts of the past.
You start to think about past victories and past failures, how you royally fucked up…etc.etc.etc…blah.blah.bleh.
While I definitely encourage developing references for the future, the problem comes is when the past starts to paralyze future action. Instead of letting the past inform them, some people let it define them.
Robert Greene talks about this in 33 Strategies of War:
“What most often weighs you down and brings you misery is the past, in the form of unnecessary attachments, repetitions of tired formulas, and the memory of old victories and defeats. You must consciously wage war against the past and force yourself to react to the present moment…Sometimes you must force yourself to strike out in new directions, even if they involve risk…Wage guerilla war on your mind, allowing no static lines of defense.”
This sounds exactly what we as young people should be doing – striking out in new directions, taking risks, challenging ourselves, and most importantly of all: waging war against our own minds.
Because… let’s face it:
You are your own worst enemy.Instead of letting the past inform them, some people let it define them. Click To Tweet
The person standing in front of you in the mirror everyday is going to be the person who will do the most damage to you in the long run.
In my personal experience, the battleground has ALWAYS been in my own mind. It hasn’t been out there. It hasn’t been in my wallet. It hasn’t been at my job.
How is this so?
If someone treats you a certain way or acts a certain way to you, you can decide to accept or reject their opinion of you. It’s a very Stoic way of seeing things, but it’s true. An oft quoted Eleanor Roosevelt says:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Your perception of how people slighted you in the past and made you feel like dogshit is just weighing you down.
In addition, your mind will think up allllll kinds of claptrap to throw you off course.
No. Nu-uh. No negativity here, man. No room for unnecessary bullshit on this flight.
Psychological warfare and self-mastery
Waging war against yourself and keeping a positive outlook is not easy. If it was, do you think there’d be so much negative shit on the news?
The battleground of the mind requires a supremely self-mastered individual to come out on top.“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” - Henry Ford Click To Tweet
Falling prey to distractions and what seems bad now will absolutely kill your momentum towards whatever you’re going for. The self-mastered individual has learned how to attain peace of mind and laughs in the face of fear.
This is because he does not keep negative self-images of what he can or cannot accomplish.
Thomas Edison failed over 1,000 times in his search to craft a device that would banish darkness to a relic of our primitive ancestors. He stuck in there and managed to keep an even keel because of two reasons:
That’s it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
He waged war against the mind, the tendency to say “give it up, this is useless. You’re wasting your time.“
You need to do the same. Here’s some tips to fight in the battleground of the mind and make the last war, the last war.
1. Reinforce your inner citadel
You can choose to reinforce this citadel and make it resistant against outside attack…or you can choose to let the invaders run rampant and destroy the interior. Too many people are doing the latter.
Ask yourself: “What am I letting into my mind to influence me?” If you’re constantly soaking up good books, positive images, etc… that’s gonna show up in your personality.
If you’re constantly reading the news with “shock and grab” headlines, watching mind numbing TV, wasting time on your News Feed, or even something like TMZ…you need to stop that shit.
You’re too precious and you have too much potential to wasting your time on negative things and people.
2. Change your self-image
Your self-image is just that – how you see yourself. In his groundbreaking book Psychocybernetics, Maxwell Maltz explained how people after plastic surgery saw themselves STILL as ugly despite having perfect and symmetrical facial proportions.
This is because they did not change their self-image to match the new changes.
You change your self-image by talking to yourself in a positive manner.
You need to see yourself as a capable, effective person who can do anything they set their mind to. That’s how real change is enacted.
3. Take action everyday“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal” - Earl Nightingale Click To Tweet
How is a tree chopped down? By logging away at it until it goes TIMBERRRR!!! Or… not exactly like that, but you get the idea.
In order to enact change in your life, get your ass up off the couch and DO SOMETHING! Don’t just sit around complaining about it. That’s lame. That’s not what we’re all about here.
Even if it’s just a small action, over time it can move the needle. That’s the slight edge effect.
Your mind can only hold one thought at a time. If you’re always taking action towards those lofty goals, you won’t have enough mental RAM to contemplate your failures. It’s even more exciting when you make that little bit of progress.
4. Prove yourself wrong
This is another way you change your self-image. When you “go beyond yourself”, you start to see that the image you had in your mind about yourself wasn’t accurate. You start to think to yourself about what else can you do…what other talents and abilities lay hidden?
To me, this is the essence of life. This is what a rising young adult should be doing in his life. He should be growing and evolving. Not settling into a groove, but constantly pushing the envelope and toying with the limits.
You do this long enough and you’ll start to see what other people consider “fantasy” is very real and very achievable.
Why you need to do this
How much longer are you going to stand in your own way? How much longer are you going to torture yourself with extremely negative thoughts?
If you want to achieve all that’s possible for you, you need to fight against your darker side.
There’s SO much potential in people lying dormant, but it remains untapped because a lot of people slay themselves where they stand.
Don’t be one of those.
The more you make a habit out of taking action, talking to yourself positively, and challenging yourself – the more life will open up for you. Things that were impossible before are now easily attainable.
Now. I want you to do something for me.
Take out a sheet of paper. Write out how you’re going to respond to the four ways I talked about fighting the last war. Most importantly, how are you going to change your perception of yourself and others after reading this?