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.
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
- 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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