Overcoming Fear - How To Slay Your Greatest Demon

By Leo Gura - March 3, 2014 | 9 Comments

How to break through your biggest obstacles and start living to your fullest potential again.

Big Ideas

Meet My Greatest Demon

  • What is your greatest demon? We’ve all got at least one MAJOR demon.
  • My greatest demon is reconciling the dirty, nitty-gritty aspects of business with the higher creative value of beauty and excellence.
  • When I got into game design, it broke my heart that I had all this creative vision but no means to make it real.
  • It always breaks my heart that ideals must be sacrificed for business concerns like marketability. Why should I have to cut creative corners and dumb down my creations into to be profitable?
  • How many cases have we seen where the business side overtakes the creative side? Instead of business serving the craft, the craft becomes a slave to business. This inversion triggers disgusts in me. It’s a whoring out.
  • It takes incredible discipline, skill, and courage to run a business where money doesn’t become the sole driver.
  • My greatest demon drove me out of video game design 5 years ago to find something better. But actually, I ran away from the problem. I never really slew that demon.
  • Slaying demons that trigger you emotionally is NOT about changing external circumstances. It’s about changing your psychology.
  • You can either face your demon, or run away from it. And you are ALWAYS tempted to run away! Who the fuck wants to slays demons? It’s scary business.
  • But to live to your full potential is to become a professional, full-time demon-slayer.

Meet Your Greatest Demon

  • Where are you selling out in your life?
  • Where have you given up on a dream or an ideal because the world slapped you down?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • Realize that it’s not too late to re-enter the battle.
  • You actually cannot avoid the battle forever. Because your demons are inside your head, you cannot really run away from them. They will gnaw at your forever and destroy your life.

Threshold Guardians on the Hero’s Journey

  • Joseph Campbell, in his brilliant classic, The Hero With 1000 Faces, talks about how each of us is on a hero’s journey. Along the way the hero must face “threshold guardians”.
  • A threshold guardian is your greatest fear. It’s that major obstacle that’s keeping you from progressing in your journey.
    • It could be a physical obstacle like a health problem or handicap.
    • It could be a logistical obstacle like lack of money.
    • It could be mental obstacle like lack of confidence.
    • It could be human obstacle like your abusive spouse.
  • The threshold guardian is just a test of the hero’s resolve. Is this hero a real hero, or a phony? Only a real hero can slay the guardian and move forward in his journey.
  • The hero always doubts himself. He doesn’t know if he can slay the guardian because the guardian always stands on the cusp of the hero’s abilities and mental resources.
  • The hero is not guaranteed to win. Sometimes the hero will lose the battle. Then he has to make a strategic retreat to lick his wounds.
  • The hero doesn’t see himself a courageous but as weak, because his challenges are bigger than him.

Better Understanding Threshold Guardians

  • Examples of threshold guardians:
    • Lack of funding for a creative project
    • A negative parent that keeps telling you that you can’t
    • Someone at work that keeps interfering with your plans
    • That chocolate fudge brownie sundae sitting in your fridge
    • An old childhood abuse that keeps replaying in your mind
    • Lack of education or credentials
    • That embarrassing moment in high school
    • Rejection by a publisher
    • A marketplace that doesn’t understand your product
    • Obligations to your family
    • A physical handicap or illness

Strategic Retreats

  • I am not saying that you should never retreat. Sometimes you are defeated by the obstacles of life. That’s okay. But you have to be very careful not to give up on your hero’s journey. You have to re-double your efforts.
  • Most people who live in mediocrity are former idealists, heroes who failed to overcome their greatest demon and retreated into their shells, never to pick up the fight.
  • Where have you retreated in your life? What is the demon that you REALLY do not want to face?
  • Do NOT confuse a strategic retreat with surrender. When you retreat, you simply gather strength, skills, resources, and courage to get back into the fight. Is that what you’re doing? I hope so!

The Temptation To Run Away

  • There really is no way of running away from your demons because your demons are YOU. They are not external to you.
  • Case in point: now that I’m back doing what I love with Actualized.org, I have to face my greatest demon again. How do I reconcile creating the highest quality products with making them profitable and marketable at the same time?
  • My innate desire is to focus solely on product quality while neglecting the marketing, but this is not right. Nor can I let the marketing take over and dumb down my product. I have to find a way to strike a balance. This is the same demon I ran away from 5 years ago.
  • Now I am very tempted to run away from my demon again. But the difference is that I now realize consciously what is happening. I cannot keep running away forever. If I do, I my life will be worthless.
  • I really don’t want to face my demon, but I know I must! If I run away again, this demon will just resurface later.

The High Costs of Cowardice

  • Do not avoid your demons for too long. The cost is too high. It’s like living off credit card debt. The cost is too high.
  • Think about how long you’ve been avoiding your greatest demon. Has it been 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?! Imagine adding up all the suffering you’ve incurred in your avoidance-tactics. Isn’t that MUCH greater than just biting the bullet and facing your demon right now?

Time To Step Up

  • If you want an extraordinary life, you know what you have to do. Stop sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich and go slay your greatest demon! Go rape that demon in the ass.
  • What is it going to take to defeat your greatest demon? EVERYTHING! You have to be willing to change your values, change your model of reality, question your deepest beliefs, humble your ego, and transform!
  • Remember, when you do finally slay that demon, you will feel absolutely amazing! That will be one of the proudest moments of your life.

Bottom Line: Realize that your demons will follow you wherever you go. Recoup your strength, muster courage, and make that demon your bitch.

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Dear Leo
Just wanted to thank you for your motivational video clips. Keep up the good work. You are different from every other life coaches and motivational speakers that I’ve seen and heard. Your well educated thoughts and words come straight from your heart and for that reason are powerful and effective. also the fact that you’re not trying to be a showman or should I say not trying at all and being just a medium to deliver the message adds to your strength. OK. Now I can go and sleep


Leo Gura says:

Thanks Naghmeh

Chris says:

Love your packed clips with a lot of info. Facing my demon means I have to find my values. This is for me( codependent) is very difficult. Having set my own wishes aside from early childhood, I have no idea what I want and where to look for directions in myself as i dont trust myself anymore. A video on values and how to find them would be great.

mary says:

thanks Leo, you are truly an amazing person who is helping me through some important issues in my life. Thanks for all the great videos.


Sarah says:

Hey Leo,

your videos have become a daily routine for me before I go to bed.
I don’t know if it’s an addiction or just my hungriness of getting better!!
Nevertheless, I looooove your videos. And finally I write a comment to tell you that my biggest demon is my diet I’m not consistent with it and it’s freaking me out!!! What can I do? I already watched your videos about cause&amp urpose, how to not quit, stay committed and how to eat healthy, etc. I loved those, too but still I couldn’t internalize how to fix my diet… Do you have any advise or idea for me?

best wishes!! and thank you so much!!

Leo Gura says:

This might help you:
http /www.actualized.org/articles/how-to-stay-motivated-to-lose-weight

Ashray says:

Today when I was doing negative visualisation. I realised what would have happen if I didn’t find you and you know what, I never thanked you so. Thank you!!! Your videos motivate me and makes me understand stuff

Sue says:

Hi Leo , another great videos. I just want you to know that I am constantly referring my family and peers, to look you up.your videos open up great discussions and are absolutely helpful. So, Thank you…if you have any videos on anxiety and depression , please share. It’s one of my demons that I am constantly fighting, because I’ve gotten us to my comfort zone…so it’s a daily fight for me, and am always seeking ways to help.

Hello, Leo, Just a quick note to let you know that as a follower and admirer, I find you have, at least for the present, achieved a balance between the beautiful and the practical aspects of your business. For me, what you share is so full of truth, that it becomes beautiful. All the best, and do keep it going. Thanks!

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