5 Ways to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy

MattBusiness, Filmmaking, Mindset4 Comments

There is no bigger threat on your journey to success than you. Most of us are our own worst enemy. This week’s guest article by Gio Orellana covers this issue in detail.

Even if you have Internal Locus of Control, you will still suffer from procrastination, doubt, fear, bad habits, and limiting beliefs.

I was, and still am, plagued by every one of those negative aspects of self. 

In this sense, you must treat yourself as two people: the Self and the Anti-Self.

You, as the Self, are in constant battle with the Anti-Self.

The Anti-Self lives in the Now and does not care for the future. He lives for instant gratification.

The Anti-Self is also full of negative emotions and only cares for self-preservation. The Anti-Self is a part of you — he is your worst enemy.

“Why does this matter?” you may ask, “This has nothing to do with making videos!”

In fact, it has everything to do with making videos…and anything else you want to accomplish in life.

The Anti-Self is the enemy, and as such you must using cunning, strategy, and tactics to defeat him.

The following are the lieutenants of the Anti-Self, and the strategies I have utilized to beat back the enemy. You will never fully destroy the Anti-Self, for he is a part of you, but you can keep him in check.

PROCRASTINATION

To fight procrastination, you must first accept that you are procrastinating.

There are some people that are “constantly busy,” or at least tell everyone that they are. If you are that person, you are lying to yourself.

Just accept that you’re not as busy as the President and take a few steps in reducing your procrastination.

There are plenty of other resources on fighting procrastination, but here are a few I use:

Pomodoro Technique

The technique is simple: I work for 25 minutes and then I rest for 5 minutes. You can rest for 30 minutes after completing 4 sessions.

This is the best technique for breaking down long and complicated tasks. To go into beast mode and plow through complicated/process heavy tasks will wear out your brain quickly. It’s better to break tasks down into chunks.

(Editor’s note: I’ve written at length about the Pomodoro Technique on the site. You can find my discussion of it in a number of places, including here and here.)

Download Self-Control

I’ll admit it: I go on Reddit, Facebook, and YouTube. To stop myself, I use a Mac app called Self-Control. You set a timer, and it blocks all IP addresses that you designate. No matter what, not even if you restart your computer, you can’t get back into those websites through your computer until the timer ends.

Of course, you can go to those sites on your phone or iPad, but even still, I find myself using them a lot less if I activate Self-Control. It’s so much easier to open another tab with Cmd+T on your laptop than on anything else.

The Library

I’m currently studying programming and I ride my bike to my local university library and stick my ass for 4-6 hours to study.

At the library, nobody calls me, bothers me, or asks me to do anything. It’s just me and myself, doing what I need to do for that day. It is my sacred workplace.

I get a ton of work done because I only use the Library for work.

If I stay in my room, in a four-hour stretch, I will probably procrastinate for three and only do work for one hour. At the library, I will work for 3 hours and maybe waste one-hour doing emails, reading nonsense, etc.

filmmaking-partners2

BAD HABITS

I highly recommend reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The main takeaway is that 40% of what you do every day is a habit.

However, every habit has a trigger.

One of my daily habits is to fire up my computer and waste an hour on Reddit. The trigger is basically sitting in front of my computer, and my hand automatically moves the mouse to click on Reddit.

I now try to do anything else besides sit in front of my computer in the morning. The hunger to fire up Reddit is there, but as long as I stay away from my computer for as long as possible, I have it under control.

The other thing the book talks about is the willpower muscle. We all exercise a certain amount of willpower every day, and the more we utilize mental constraint (i.e. forcing ourselves to not eat fatty foods, watch YouTube, or go on Reddit), the more we fatigue our willpower muscle.

If we drain all of our willpower in the morning, we will be powerless to control ourselves by the evening. This is why our bodies usually run on autopilot mode during most of the day.

The body automatically conserves most of our willpower by having large amounts of daily habits, because habits take no mental effort to execute.

What does this mean?

It means that your anti-self is mainly made of bad habits.

Play too many video games?

Waste too much time online?

You must find the habit triggers and get rid of them.

Some solutions:

  • Put the video game system far away, up in the attic somewhere.
  • Download Self-Control, or any other IP address limiting programs.

Try to be one step ahead of your anti-self.

FEAR AND DOUBT

The anti-self has a little voice installed in your head. Whenever you have fear, doubt, insecurities, or limiting self-beliefs, the anti-self speaks up. He is right there, whispering in your ear.

“You can’t make that movie or short film! You don’t have enough money! You’re not talented enough! It’ll be too hard!”

Your goal is not to give up and succumb to the anti-self. But you should also not ignore it. If nothing else, respect the “advice” the anti-self gives you.

Listen to it and you can do one of two things:

1. Do what you must do anyway. Try your best to raise the money by whatever means necessary, hire talented people with said money, and make the best movie you can.

2. Realize that the anti-self is correct and you are not worthy of your journey. Go back to your cave and continue living in fear and obscurity.

“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”

– Charles Bukowski

Any journey worth pursuing, be it making a movie or creating a business, is a difficult journey — a trail by fire.

Your goal is to walk through the fire and be baptized in it. That is your burden in life.

You want to create something from nothing? You have to accept the suffering that comes with it.

You must learn to love it and embrace it.

If you do not love the suffering, if you are not a masochist like some, then the journey to success or creation is not for you.

You have to look at the journey to success as a road made of hot coal and lava — you must look at it and laugh.

After 10 years, I saw the journey of filmmaking as not for me. The suffering was too great and I no longer enjoyed it.

Instead, I decided on another journey — that of programming. It’s not any easier than filmmaking, it’s just a different form of pain.

I have accepted the pain and derive “pleasure” from it the same one would derive from solving games or puzzles. The pain-pleasure I received from making films was being a creative force with storytelling and loving that aspect of it. But giving birth to a film involves so much pain that it was not worth it for me.

My former partner and best friend Mario loves making films. He knows the journey is difficult, he knows making a film is a pain in the ass, but he loves it and laughs. After we separated ways from our video business, he continues the journey and the fight to make films.

On the journey to success, each of us has to suffer. At times, we are our own worst enemy. Each of us has to fight our worst selves to become our best selves. It is up to you to say, “Yes” to the pain and to do your best at achieving your dreams.

Hi, I’m Giordany. I’m writing a book on starting your own video business. Every week, I’ll be releasing exclusive new chapters here on Filmmaking Lifestyle. Join me in the discussion – hate it or love it, I’d like to know. 

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4 Comments on “5 Ways to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy”

  1. LOL – the image at the beginning of this post is great!

    I have trouble with limiting beliefs at times. What do you recommend for pushing through the fears and just you know doing it!?

  2. I read your page everyday and i
    must say you have very interesting posts here. Your page deserves to go viral.
    Thanks!

  3. I want to to thank you for this good read!!
    I definitely loved every bit of it. I have got you bookmarked
    to check out new things you post…

  4. Aw, this was a really nice post. Finding the time and actual
    effort to produce a top notch video… but what can I say…
    I hesitate a lot and never manage to get anything done.

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