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Steven Pressfield

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Beating the Opponent You May Not Know You Are Fighting.

Bethany New Year Resolution Video Screen Shot.jpg
Bethany New Year Resolution Video Screen Shot.jpg

I made a video for you a couple weeks ago.  It kind of stinks a lil bit.

The INTENTION behind it doesn't stink and even the IDEAS within it are non-stinky.  But the delivery and the technical aspects of the recording?  STANK.

You might notice that I'm helplessly long-winded, I miscommunicate a couple of points (especially the first one) and from the looks of how I shot this you might think I don't know a thing or three about light and shadows.

Also.  I love that I have big teeth but the angle of the camera here makes it appear as if my face is about 30% teeth, when really it is only 29% teeth.

Do you see what I'm doing here?

I'm burning the grass.

Legend has it that when Napoleon was once losing a battle, he retreated his troops through their own land, burning their OWN grass in their OWN fields as they retreated.

They did that to starve the advancing enemy.  So the enemy would not have any food or water to fuel them as they advanced back towards Napoleon's troops.  And Napoleon would be able to see the enemy coming.

No grass, no food, no power, no hiding.  Burning the grass.

A sales manager once taught me that sometimes you have to burn your own grass.  Mention shortcomings of your own product before the competitor can try to use those shortcomings against you.  Stay one step ahead of the competition so you can cut 'em out at the knees.

Le sigh.

...Le sigh again.

We hu-mans do this all the time.  But less in regards to our PRODUCTS and more in regards to our SELVES.

We speak badly about ourselves so as to disempower anybody who might try to speak badly about us.

As in:  "Oh, you want to say I'm long-winded?  That my video lighting is amateur?  Nope.  Can't say that.  I already said it.  Point disqualified.  Whatchya got now, suckaaaaahs???"

I protect myself from attack.

Let me be the one to come out and say that this "burning the grass" strategy of self-protection?  IT is what sucks.  We think that people are out to criticize us but in the end, the one who is most actively criticizing us is ourselves.

And our subconscious minds BELIEVE the things we tell ourselves, so it becomes self-fulfilling.

And the only opinion of us that really matters is our own.

So as soon as we burn the grass, we lose.

A couple days ago I stumbled upon a link to an article I had contributed to another website a year ago.  So I read it.  And I proceeded to want to vom-dot-com.

I was HORRIFIED.  As in:  itchy-sweat-I-wonder-who-I-can-pay-to-remove-this-from-the-interwebs horrified.  Burn-the-servers horrified.

"What was I thinking??"  I wondered.  "Why would I make myself so vulnerable in discussing such PERSONAL topics on the INTERNET?  How am I so AUDACIOUS as to think anybody would WANT to read my drivel??"

Then I got to the bottom of the post.  Many people had written to say that the post was HELPING them.  Shifting their perspectives.  They THANKED me for my vulnerability.  The post has been tweeted 2,432 times.

Not one criticism.

soulseeds screenshot
soulseeds screenshot

Which gets me thinking.  I'm thinking today about internal Resistance, with a capital "R" to recognize the foe for the powerful opponent that it is.

In spiritual communities, Resistance is the equivalent of Christianity's Devil.  It's the negative force in the world that tries to stop good things from happening.

But it's an INVISIBLE force.  People don't even see it coming.

Stephen Pressfield teaches that Resistance kicks in at its strongest right before we're about to do something good (which usually involves being vulnerable.)  That's when it whispers in our ear that we are not good enough, strong enough, ready enough. 

That's when it convinces us to stay small.

If there is one thing I cannot stand in life it is anybody telling me I am not good enough to do something.  I'll be damned in every sense of the expression if I ever let somebody stop ME from doing what it is I plan to do.

Resistance can go to hell.

So today, I am posting this video.  It may not be the best video any of us have ever seen, but it's a major victory over Resistance.

And that is good enough for me.

(Please note that I especially miscommunicated the advice Nick and my Dad relayed.  It sounded much more positive coming from them.  Oh well.)

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People and things I mention in the video, for reference:

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Want to chime in with some thoughts?  I always love to hear from you.

with love and light
with love and light

6 Comments

Think You Are Stupid?  Unworthy?  LISTEN UP.

8 Comments

Think You Are Stupid? Unworthy? LISTEN UP.

pepere brain comment beneath
pepere brain comment beneath

It is more than a teensy bit distressing to me that several of the most genuine, thought-provoking, downright incredible people I am lucky to know are of the opinion that they, personally, are "stupid."

Knowing the plentitude of brilliance and wisdom these fine humans contribute to our world, I ask myself where the stupidity belief comes from.  Do they think this because of comments from teachers or classmates when they were young?  Did their low grades in school make them think that they are unintelligent?  Is it because they didn't go to college?

OR do they (or did they once) actually recognize the brilliance that I see in them?  And are they afraid that if they OWN that brilliance, people will point fingers at their bad grades and informal educations, thereby exposing them to the world as frauds?   

IS IT SCARIER FOR PEOPLE TO OWN THEIR BRILLIANCE THAN IT IS FOR THEM TO LABEL THEMSELVES AS STUPID (OR [INSERT OTHER NEGATIVE LABEL HERE])?

[Sad sigh.]  Ahhhhh, friends.  I think these divine folks of whom I speak are subconsciously afraid to shine.

[I am no stranger to the fear of shining.  In fact, for a long time, I hesitated to launch this very website because I believed I did not deserve to model the "Let It Shine" mantra.  (More on that subject in my next post.)]

pepere 10 comment beneath
pepere 10 comment beneath

Want to know the worst part about the being afraid to shine?

Our eyes adjust to darkness.

After enough repetitions of telling ourselves that we are stupid (or undeserving or cowardly or ugly or whatever), we actually BELIEVE we ARE those things.

The more we smother out light, the more our pupils dilate.  We adjust to the environment of the dark cave that we built to "protect" us.

Before long, we get so lost in that dark place of misplaced brilliance that we forget what it was like to be bright.  We even IDENTIFY with the darkness.  This negative trait?  It's just who we are, we poor things.

Suddenly, this scary cave that we do know feels safer and more comfortable than the oppressively bright, now unfamiliar light outside.

So when someone notices our brilliance or our beauty or our courage, thereby shining a ray of light on our dilated pupils, we clamp our eyes shut in horror and throw our palms at them in protest.  [The audacity of those light-shiners!]

I mean, SURE, it would be NICE if the light-shiners were RIGHT about us, but can't they see?  We are cave dwellers.  Cave dwellers do not shine, silly light-shiners.  We hide.

Meant-to-shine.jpg
Meant-to-shine.jpg

By this point, we have forgotten that we once perceived this place of negative self-talk as being dark.

We have forgotten that we were never meant to be cave dwellers in the first place.

What I am trying to say is that hiding our strengths from others is DANGEROUS grounds.  When we modestly or fearfully hide our brilliance from others, we not only encourage them to do the same, but WE ALSO HIDE OUR BRILLIANCE FROM OURSELVES.

Here's the kicker.   Most of us build our lives around a fear of shining without ever even knowing it. 

We swipe the rug directly out from under our own feet and WE DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.    We lay there in our cave corners, confused and depressed from a lack of Vitamin D, deliriously BELIEVING that we are actually stupid or weak or whatever.

I sad-sigh again because I know that some cave dwellers are SO deep in the cave (been there!) that they will read this post and think it does not apply to them.  (Don't let this be you, Sweet Reader!  I repeat:  Do NOT let this be you!!)

Steven-Pressfield-the-biggest-bitch.jpg
Steven-Pressfield-the-biggest-bitch.jpg

It took me a good 17 years of therapy and radical self-analysis to realize that I was afraid to let it shine.  Now I see it all around me.

SO, my Brilliant, Gorgeous, Deserving of Goodness Reader:  what positive qualities are YOU not owning?  Perhaps you are willing to proclaim your intelligence, but do you discredit your COURAGE?  Do you downplay your WISDOM?  Do you trivialize your INNER BEAUTY?

WHY????

I do not ask you to demolish your Caves of Self-Sabotage right this minute.  I don't even ask you to know how.

All I ask is that you recognize that these negative things you think of yourself?  Maybe--just maybe--they are not true.

Maybe--just maybe--you made them up.

Maybe--just maybe--you did so because at one point in your life, you were afraid to shine.

Your willingness to take one brave baby step today by recognizing that?

That willingness shows that you are nothing short of brilliant.

rock smile with comment beneath
rock smile with comment beneath

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Want to worry less about what people think of you?  Tune in for my next post, and I'll hand you a key to unhinging that mind-trap.

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(The sign-up widget is in my side-bar, on the right.  See image below for reference.)

Subscribe-by-email-with-notes.jpg
Subscribe-by-email-with-notes.jpg

As always, I very much appreciate your comments and your willingness to share this!  (I want my posts to help as many people as possible...and I need your help to make that happen!)  :)

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8 Comments