There’s no denying that the greatest battle anyone will ever have is the one we have with ourselves. That constant conflict between the positive and negative that lies within us. The challenge that leaves us either feeling happy about ourselves or wallowing in our self-pity and hating the world.
So how do you win when the battle is within yourself?
Take me for example. I have spent many years losing that battle. I wasted so much time doing nothing of consequence. My own victim of self-indulgence, self-satisfaction, and poor outlook. It has only been in the past year that I have really got my act together. Found my direction.
This blog is a reflection of me. It’s a work in progress. A journey of development just the same as our lives.
There are times when I’m riding the wave, feeling on top of things, moving in the right direction, and feeling like I’m doing the right thing in my life. Then there are the times I come crashing down, feeling low, and feeling like I’m getting nowhere.
I got some great blogging advice during the week. Advice I had read before but for some reason really struck a chord on this occasion. That advice told me to view blogging as a marathon, not as a sprint.
I realised that is also true about life. Thing is, I’ve been trying to run that marathon at the same speed as a sprinter. I’ve been trying to do it all and have it done by yesterday. I been fighting battles outside myself and within.
“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self” – Napoleon Hill
So how do you win your battles? How do you learn to conquer yourself?
Self-Discipline – This is key to personal greatness. You need to be able to keep taking the right steps no matter how you are feeling.
Delay Instant Gratification – I lived a life of instant gratification. It gets you nowhere. Hold off and you’ll find bigger and more satisfying rewards later.
Gratitude – Take stock. Be thankful for the things you have and don’t dwell on what you don’t.
Positive Speech – Speech is a powerful thing. It’s the vocal output of your mindset. Speaking positively can help maintain a positive frame of mind.
Physical Health – If you are fortunate to have good health you need to look after it. It gives you the energy you need to keep pushing on.
Persistence – Keep on keeping on. Take the steps you need to, to get where you want to go, and don’t stop. (There’s a great lesson here from a furry friend https://potheadtoprovidence.com/2019/02/10/the-cat-at-the-window-a-lesson-to-learn/ )
Take Responsibility – Own it! It’s your life. You need to make the best decisions. Stop blaming and take accountability for your life and your actions.
On your road to self-mastery, to conquering your bad habits, you will have many battles. Some you will win, some you will lose. As any military expert will tell you it’s not the battles that matter but the outcome of the war.
I thought I had lost battles this week. I was feeling overwhelmed. Feeling like I achieved nothing. I was so pissed off at my apparent struggles, and what I felt was a lack of time, that I wrote a post about the problems of time management. I blamed not having enough time. I blamed the methods and suggestions of others in how to find time. I blamed.
“A man is born to achieve great things if he can conquer himself.” Bruce Lee
Today I realised I was just making excuses for my poor planning. My mindset had slipped back to my old way of thinking by finding excuses instead of finding answers. I was lashing out at problems that were all within.
Instead of looking at all the problems I thought I had I should have been looking at the things I still managed to achieve. There was one day in particular. The first day really since I quit smoking marijuana that I really, really, wanted to get stoned. I was having difficulty dealing with my apparent lack of time to get things done. I was carrying emotional issues, my own and someone else’s, and trying not to let them break me.
Yes, that day was a real struggle, but looking back on it now I realise that whilst I was a bit of a mess, whilst my feelings were getting the better of me, I didn’t break down. I didn’t smoke any weed. I learned a new skill (How to set up a Pinterest account, connect my blog to it, and make Pins). I also did all the good parental things I needed to. I Made sure my son went to school with clean clothes and lunch with him. Spent time with him later, made our food, washed the dishes. Basically was present as a father. He wouldn’t have noticed any difference in me.
That was all down to self-discipline. Something I never used to have. I used to be the type of person that when something went wrong I just gave up. I used to be all for instant gratification. I used to be like that.
Looking back on it, I actually have a lot to be thankful for on that day. And that’s only one particular day.
I actually got work done every day. Maybe not the work I wanted or would have wished to get done. Like an extra blog post for example. But I got work done that will help me in the marathon of blogging and life. Only now am I realising the gratitude I should have had then.
This post is as much a message to myself as to anyone that reads. We’ll all struggle with ourselves some days. We’ll feel that some days either life or ourselves will have beaten us down. That we haven’t moved forward. Days like that we really need to take stock. Appreciate the good in them. The small steps that were taken despite the opposition we face or create ourselves.
We need to understand that not all days are going to go as planned. There’s going to be mishaps and upsets, trials and tribulations. But as long as we maintain our aims in mind. As long as we keep doing something to progress with our goals and our lives. As long as we appreciate the things we have rather than the things we do not. We are still moving in the right direction. Still climbing that internal mountain. Becoming the victors in our own lives. Winning the battles within. And that can only be a good thing.