Win Your Inner Battles: Defeat The Enemy Within and Live With Purpose

Notes & Highlights

Win Your Inner Battles: Defeat The Enemy Within and Live With Purpose

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” -Sun Tzu

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” - Abraham Maslow

The ultimate reward of life is a tranquil mind, a mind that is free of fear, a mind that is confident, and takes on every challenge it faces. Success means we experience life instead of endure it. Life does not have to be a struggle. But fear makes us suffer an inner war.

Fear once served as a mechanism that protected us. Nowadays, fear has turned into our enemy and it rips us of our freedom.

You have to win your inner battles. Only then can you live life on your terms.

Let’s decide that we: Lead—not follow Create—not consume Stay positive—not negative Solve problems—not complain Bring joy—not melancholy Are powerful—not weak

We quit too early. We feel anxiety when we think about what awaits us. At the same time, we think that we deserve more and get frustrated when our life lacks substance.

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

Many talented people take their talents with them to the grave because they are afraid to follow their dreams.

“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” - Bertrand Russell

The primary function of fear is to warn us of potential danger. Without fear, humanity would not survive. If a wild animal attacked you, fear would alert you, which triggers a fight or flee response.

Evolutionary speaking, fear comes from our reptilian brain. Although while we do not need fear in the same way anymore, evolution has not adapted our brain yet.

Your brain can’t distinguish the difference between an actual physical threat, or a threat that’s made up by yourself. The only thing that matters is to understand what fear feels like. Because that’s the only way you can fight it, by knowing your enemy. You’re at war with yourself. To fight your inner enemy, you need self-knowledge.

Sun Tzu, the most well-known military strategist, put it best: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

know yourself better, I’ve created a list of twenty questions that you can use to improve your self-awareness. What am I good at? What am I so-so at? What am I bad at? What makes me tired? What is the most important thing in my life?

Who are the most important people in my life? How much sleep do I need? What stresses me out? What relaxes me? What’s my definition of success? What type of worker am I? How do I want others to see me? What makes me sad? What makes me happy? What makes me angry? What type of person do I want to be? What type of friend do I want to be? What do I think about myself? What things do I value in life? What makes me afraid? If you want to try this method, I would answer these questions with the first answer that pops up in your mind. As you can see, these are practical questions.

It is not our purpose to live an unhappy life, full of fear, stress and anxiety. Fear is toxic. Fear is our greatest enemy. It rips us from freedom and paralyzes us.

fear is triggered when our safety is in danger. It is a tool to avoid physical harm and death from enemies. Now, ironically, fear itself is our biggest enemy.

Stress releases a hormone called cortisol. And cortisol harms your immune system.

People have many different fears. What do you fear? Rejection Failure Change Accidents Losing your job Switching careers Aging Being alone Losing your money Not being able to pay the bills Getting ill Losing a loved one

The first type is the fear of something happening to us, such as an accident or illness.

The second type of fear has nothing to do with external factors like a boss, or a drunk driver: this kind of fear originates from our inner state, such as the fear of being rejected. The fear of failure, vulnerability, and helplessness also fall into this category.

However, every type of fear we experience in our daily lives is based on one thought: “I cannot handle it”.

Fear is more of an internal fight that we must deal with, instead of battling external factors.

Instead of, “I cannot handle it,” say, “I can handle it.”

You are not the victim of your circumstances. Where you are in life is not because of the economy, your education or where you live. You are in your situation because of your choices and very likely because you give into fear.

Do not throw in the towel on your dreams because of the bad circumstances you are in.

book Meditations: “Is your cucumber bitter? Throw it away. Are there briars in your path? Turn aside. That is enough.”

Remember: it is not money that makes us happy, but progress. And without action, there is no progress. Living a stress-free life all starts with taking responsibility and requires you to not blame yourself.

“For it is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death.” -Epictetus

The foundation of Stoicism is based on the idea that negative emotions are caused by misjudgments. In other words: if you experience a negative emotion such as fear, hurt, anxiety, it is because you did not make a correct judgment of the situation. And it is said that misjudgments cause unnecessary worry.

Seneca, who was the advisor to Emperor Nero, and lived ca. 4 BC – 65 AD, said the following about a happy life: “For what prevents us from saying that the happy life is to have a mind that is free, lofty, fearless and steadfast - a mind that is placed beyond the reach of fear, beyond the reach of desire, that counts virtue the only good, baseness the only evil, and all else but a worthless mass of things, which come and go without increasing or diminishing the highest good, and neither subtract any part from the happy life nor add any part to it? A man thus grounded must, whether he wills or not, necessarily be attended by constant cheerfulness and a joy that is deep and issues from deep within, since he finds delight in his own resources, and desires no joys greater than his inner joys.”

Without having all the facts, we jump to conclusions and decide that something is stressful or is a problem.

Imagine the following situation: You make a mistake at work that upsets a client. Maybe you send someone a wrong email. Maybe you forget to solve a problem. It doesn't matter what it is. Imagine that something goes seriously wrong at work. What do you do when you find out? Do you stress out? Feel uncomfortable? Blame yourself? Blame others? Think it's the end of your career? When things go wrong, we become our own worst enemy because we focus on things we don't control.

Because when shit hits the fan it's natural to panic. Instead of thinking, take a step back, and focus on what lies within your control.

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own - not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.”

People can only hurt you if you let them. Worrying about what other people say or think about you means that you let them. Live your life the way you feel is right and do not worry about what other people say. Do not let them hurt you. You cannot control what people think of you.

We determine our: Desire Attitude Judgments Determination

never be surprised when bad things happen. But rather expect them to happen. In that way, you will never be caught off guard. Instead, accept it, and then focus your energy on finding a solution. Always keep a positive mindset.

If you want to achieve things in your life, it's about aiming for daily progress. You want to exercise, read, work, learn, study, every single day.

Remember this: Inconsistency is the enemy of results.

Next time when you face a stressful situation, ask yourself the same question I asked Chris: what is the worst thing that can happen? We find out that the worst thing that can happen is not that bad after all.

Once you have figured out what the worst thing is that can happen—envision that it will happen. Research shows that visualizing triggers a real response in your brain.

Fear cannot survive when it is not in control.

Use a note-taking app and create a new note. I call my note “Things that I worry about.” List everything you worry about — and keep adding things to the list. Everything that you worry about goes on this list, no matter how small. Think of a solution to all your perceived problems. For example, if your financial situation makes you anxious, you need to create a plan to earn more or spend less. Then, start executing. Do one thing every day that brings you closer to solving your perceived problem. Finally, don’t worry about things you have zero control over — those things you have to accept. If you want to know more about how you can do this; read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

Struggle Is Good. Never say “I can’t take it anymore.” Say “Bring it on!”

Keep A Journal. No, keeping a journal is not for children. It helps you to become a better thinker and writer. “I don’t want to be a writer” you might think. Well, how many emails and texts do you send a day? Everybody is a writer.

Be Grateful. Say ‘thank you’ to everyone and everything. “Thank you for this beautiful day.” “Thank you for your email.” “Thank you for being there for me.”

Take More Risks. Don’t be such a wimp.

Rest Before You Are Tired. Even if you love your job, and every day seems like a holiday, you need to take time to rest. You’re a human and not an android, never forget that.

Give Without Expecting Something In Return. Don’t keep score. You will become a bitter person if you do that. Give solely for the joy of giving. If you get something in return, great, if you don’t, great.

Create Something. Not to leave a legacy, you won’t be here to see it anyway, but to be of use. Make music, write a book, build a table, anything. You’ll feel good about yourself, plus you give something back to people to use or enjoy.

Never Look Back Too Long. Reflecting on the past is only good for one thing: Learning.

Take Action. Don’t just sit there, do something. Without action, there is no outcome.