THE UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 26 – DEMONS

A little while back, one of our Universal Men was telling a story about his battle fighting his own inner demons that were holding him back, strangling his growth and enjoyment of life.

So what are inner demons?

They are something that you struggle within your own mind. The voices or thoughts that have been around a long time, that keep rearing their heads and holding you back.

Inner Demons aren’t something new. Often when people talk about demons, they talk about something that’s been around for decades. There’s a sense of having lost power to this significant, repeated, negative voice.

In your mind, you no longer have the ability to beat your inner demons and they keep turning up to sabotage your efforts. It’s like like there’s this little voice, or a little animated thing that turns up to talk in your ear and give you a bit of a punch in the guts or a bit of negative backtalk to tell you that you’re not up to this, you shouldn’t do this, you’re bad, or you don’t deserve it.

And it comes kind of from left field, like the demon, you’re going along and all of the sudden that pain from the past, that weakness, that significant loss of confidence, comes bouncing at you and you say, “Yeah. My demons have returned.”

That’s not a weakness. I mean we’ve all got a particular personality, we’ve got the things we’re good at, things that we’re bad at.

 

WHERE DO INNER DEMONS COME FROM?

If you’re carrying any Inner Demons, they probably get their life from an inner belief or some sort of ideas and understanding about life, or an event, a loss, a stuff-up.

One source is perhaps something that happened at some particular time within your life, and then unconsciously you’ve wrapped negative feelings and messages around it, and they keep coming back repeatedly.

Another is sometimes you can be modelling someone who maybe you respect for one reason or another. You’re trying to emulate their success, behaviour or mindset, and in doing so, you might absorb some of their own inner demons. Sometimes this happens even if we don’t mean to emulate, like through the copying of our parents and relatives, and almost through osmosis, we pick up ancient limitations that have potentially been passed down through generations. Little beliefs, myths and ideas about the world. And they can be crippling.

Sometimes inner demons come with you living a particular archetype or taking on a character type in your life. You might be the martyr, and with the martyr comes a certain set of inner demons it means you limit yourself. You always put other people first and then when you get a chance to take the stage, your demons hold you back because this isn’t congruent with your archetype. It is like you take on a particular identity at a deeper level you say, “I am only this. I am this. Not that.”

 

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO DEAL WITH ONE’S DEMONS?

If we don’t know the source of any demons we have, we can’t really deal with them effectively.

In facing them, in overcoming them, it’s like you take them out of the driver’s seat of your life, of your feelings, of your up and down-ness, and you harness the Universal Man spirit and own it.

Many men carry an inner demon throughout their entire life which shapes their life story. That is because they haven’t quite had the skill or process to remove them. This is important because:

“Your psychology is like a garden. Weeds grow. Foreign objects, foreign animals get in there. And if you don’t weed that garden, if you don’t fertilise it, if you don’t give it good water. It will get out of control.”

So even if you’ve beaten your demons now, if you don’t get on the front foot again, you will revert back. Same as physical fitness where when you get unfit the aches and pains return.

If you ever needed a brother for something, it’s to deal with inner demons. They can be so hard to overcome, and sometimes you just need someone to say, “Hey. Man, that’s just total crap. I don’t know where you came up with that.” Or to support you through it.

Weirdly, within every demon, there is a positive wisdom. Why? Because every demon has a deeper positive intention.

They have a good side and dark side, so to speak. And just as in Star Wars, each and every one of us could go to the good side or the dark side. What leads to the dark side? Fear. Fear leads to the dark side, men.

But courage leads to the good side. And this is the thing. When you have an inner demon, it actually has this positive intention behind it.

An example is in a story from one of Greg’s clients who was getting prepared to do a big speech, and they were talking about confidence and the conversation went something like this:

Client: “Oh! I’ve got these bloody voices, and they just sabotage me every bloody time.”

Greg: “Let’s just … can you focus on that voice for a second? Does the voice sound like anybody you know?”

Client: “Yeah. It sounds like my old man back in the day.” And his old man must have given him some grief about making a presentation when he was young. The voices said, “You’re not worthy, you’re not good enough, you’ll stuff this up.”

Greg: “Now pause for a minute and consider if there is a deeper positive intention of the voice? What does it really want for you?”

Client: “Well I suppose at a deeper level it actually wants me to do a good job. And the voices are trying to make me prepare better?

Vitally, at this point, the demons lost their power. Because when you can identify the positive intention of an inner demon, guess what happens? It loses its power.

 

BEATING YOUR INNER DEMONS

Beating demons begins with the courage to name it, to face it. So when you sit down and say, “Now, what’s going on here? What’s this little negative rock that I’ve just put in my backpack?” Look at it, name it, and talk as much about it as you can.

Get that positive intention so that you can turn it on its head. What can you learn from it?

When you face it, when you face the demon, you can see how it’s actually a load of absolute crap. Because when you face it in a deliberate and intentional way, you can see it is actually false.

So you’re facing it, you’re naming it, you’re almost saying, “Come on in, buddy. I’m going to face you. I’m not going to be afraid of you.” And after facing it, get the energy of that demon and channel it into the positive, which is there.

A demon gets fuel when you listen to it. When you give it an audience. You take away the audience, and there’s no one there to talk to.

Another method to help is to journal when you’re naming and facing into what the demon is. Give yourself little, simple goals you can mark your demon against.

 

PITFALLS OF TRYING TO BEAT DEMONS

There’s the odd pitfall with inner demons. And first of all, is doing it alone. If you’re not making any progress, talk to someone, get a mate involved and attack this thing. Write it down on some paper and say, “This is what’s going on. Every time I do this, this little bugger turns up. Help me through it please.”

Your mate isn’t walking with the demon every single day. So they’ve got an objectivity, so when you talk about it in trust, that can be a tremendous thing.

If it is a traumatic event then you may need a professional voice. And that professional voice will just help you understand. Sometimes with trauma, to name and face it with a professional voice can be a fantastic thing.

This is similar to somebody who’s had a decent size injury, physical injury – what do they do? You see a doctor and then a physiotherapist to help with recovery. Same as if you had a mental injury; don’t try to do it on your own. Seek professional help.

One thing that happens so often with demons is that we can lose perspective. So we’re going along and then the demon comes up again, and all of the sudden, life is just awful. And when you think about it, you made a mountain out of a molehill.

So have a bit of fun, get a little bit of a balance, talk it through with a mate, keep it in perspective and break it down. Ask yourself, “Could I shift this demon one percent?”

And if you could move it one percent, could you move it two? And then maybe if you can move it two, is there anything stopping you from moving it three?

 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON DEMONS

Everyone has demons. The one person who says, “I haven’t got any demons”, they actually aren’t being really honest with you. And it’s that simple little step.

In Australian society, you give people the finger, the one finger salute. One final powerful trick then is to give your demon the Swahili wave and physically give it the one finger which is one way of saying, “Hey. I’m facing you. I’m naming you. I’m going to put myself into the driver’s seat.”

What this is all about is demons are in the driver’s seat. Get that bugger out of the driver’s seat, get back in control of that particular thing in your life, because it may well be having a huge effect. Consider the consequences that it may have already had in your life. You’ve got an opportunity now. Get on the front foot and change the future story for yourself.

The story for your future, the very best you.

 

Stay Legendary,

Grego and Pricey

THE UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 25 – MASTERY

All Universal Men gratefully accept the challenge of Mastery. They know its importance for personal growth, confidence, giving back and the ultimate expression of self.

So what is Mastery? And what are the steps and what are the different roles along the journey?

Mastery is the pursuit of excellence. A pursuit of being beyond an expert. It might be sport, music, profession, art, craft.

It’s not easy. And it’s not natural ability either. Daniel Herbert, the World Cup-winning Wallaby, Rugby World Player of the Year  said, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” And that is so, so true about Mastery.

It’s about building your skill and committing to growth over time. That’s true Mastery.

 

HOW DOES MASTERY APPLY TO ME?

Is this just the big-time performer we are talking about? Does this apply to every single one of us? Are we all called to it?

All people are all called to it in one form or another. And it’s at the very heart of being a Universal Man. This is right at the core of what we’re about. The know thyself, the grow thyself and brotherhood.

You don’t have to be the world’s best to be a master of something. Because it’s both a journey and a destination. It teaches you how to understand the world in different ways. It teaches you how to know the process of growth. The process of getting to a new place.

And its impact flows on into all the other areas of your life.

Let’s imagine you’ve learned how to master an instrument, then you go to work. You almost inherently or unconsciously know what needs to happen in order to get better. It’s within your bones and your DNA. You know the process.

And there’s something in me which is wanting more, there’s something in me which wants more of me. Where I want to be the best I can be in that particular area. And when I do that, I grow in confidence, my sense of pride. I’m stretching my own self into a really good kind of space.

The pride is really important here. If you’re really good at something, you might be great at surfing or skiing or maybe you’re just damn good at your job at work. That gives you this foundational element of pride and self-worth because you can do something better than most people.

And you know you’ve been through the hard yakka to get there. And I think that says a lot. It’s almost like it’s a backbone that you can lean against. You’ve got something there that says to you, “You’re worthwhile, you’re good, you can do something, you can strive, you can grow.” And you’ve got that history behind you.

And the more hard work I’ve put in, I’m chasing a goal, I want to grow my own self in the particular area. My sense of trust in myself goes deeper, too.

 

IS MASTERY JUST ME BEING SELFISH?

Mastery doesn’t always have to be something for the global community. It can be an entirely selfish pursuit. You know, someone who’s out surfing every morning at 5:00 in the morning, isn’t doing that for the greater good of the world. They’re doing that because they know they want to go and get in flow, in the zone, ride the perfect wave, become a better surfer. You know, I think that’s really important to know here. Mastery doesn’t have to be for anyone else other than you.

And I think a part of all that, though, you’ve almost got to forget self. You’ve got to forget the ego, forget that doubting kind of voice. So you get to trust your hard work, trust your skills, trust the zone. Then you get into flow, you’ve been the best you can be here. You begin to grow and you begin to say, “I’m actually becoming the master of this particular skill.”

Achieving Mastery is a journey through four levels:

  1. amateur
  2. intermediate
  3. expert; and then
  4. master.

There’s a few things that happen when you achieve some form of Mastery. First of all, you’re just there. You’re in the moment. Now you’re really comfortable in almost any environment. Nothing really tends to scare you. Because the more difficult the challenge in front of you, the more respect you have for it. You drop the need to succeed and you just go back to your skill. And you just exist or you just demonstrate with and express yourself with this skill you have. And if you succeed or fail, it doesn’t matter.

Part of that is just being that there is this little bit of you which knows you’ve got more you can learn. There’s actually a humble man there. Because there’s this little voice that says, “I’m not there yet, I’ve got a little space I can improve, I can actually grow.” And so the master has got a humility. The master is not an arrogant person putting those around them down and is very comfortable that other people might have similar levels of Mastery as well.

 

BEYOND MASTERY

When you achieve some level of Mastery in something, you begin to see the beauty in the craft, simply because of the beauty of it. When you get to that place, it’s a wonderful, wonderful place to be. You’re so comfortable in your own skin. You know perfection doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t. You’re not perfect, no-one’s perfect. The idea of someone who is a perfect master doesn’t exist; there’s just someone who is in a new state of mind.

And the people around them sense something really special. So when you’re performing your craft and you’ve worked hard, you’re back to your own self, you’re in that area where you have trusted yourself, you have an aura. And that gives confidence to everyone around you.

There’s a particular role you take on when you become the master of something. You understand the knowledge and the experience, you understand the sequence of how to get there. If you look back, you understand that.

If you take a classical martial arts scenario, when you go through all the different belts, the true master knows what the white belt needs to know and doesn’t teach them anything beyond that. And they sequentially or ascendingly teach them the next step, the next step, and they don’t really reveal that to you until you become a yellow belt or a red belt or a black belt.

SHARING YOUR CRAFT

But the interesting thing about the master is that they go from being the apprentice to the coach. When you’re starting to coach the thing that you are doing, you truly understand it. And that’s a wonderful thing, when you’ve got to teach someone else how to do something.

And at the same time, you are actually believing in the master within them. And you coach in a way that you bring that out. You bring it to life.

And that might be interesting for a lot of people to find. At some point, maybe they’ve been in their profession or maybe they’re playing an instrument or particular sport, and they reach a certain level. Then all of a sudden some of the younger guys or the younger girls come up to them and say, “Hey listen, can you teach me about this?”

At first, it might be a bit of a shock to them as they’re not used to being asked those things because they were the apprentice for so long. But you take on the mantle of that responsibility and accept it, because you realise you’re probably going from apprentice to master.

And that is a really important kind of space. That moment when you say, “Hey, I’ve been on this journey for some time, I actually know a lot. I’ve worked hard.” And you’ve got to trust that change from apprentice to the master.

 

BEING TEACHABLE BY A MASTER

If you are the apprentice, the role is different, of course. You are still on the journey. In Star Wars, the Jedi take on a young Padawan, the young apprentice, and teach them throughout their life.

So what is really important when you are the apprentice, is to find your master. Find the one that connects with your soul and your spirit and what you think you need. Take the humility to learn from that individual. If you don’t respect them, you probably won’t ask the questions you should. You probably won’t take their advice as much as you should.

You’re going to require someone that is in that zone where you want to be; something in their skill speaks to your particular skill, but you know they’re going to lead you into a journey. It’s going to be hard, hard work. You’ve got to be a consistent guy. You’ve got to have the humility to actually listen to their particular wisdom, too.

 

THE FLOW OF MASTERY

You know, the journey to flow in the zone of a master, and even at any level of performance, has setbacks and plateaus. That’s the nature of growth; you always have plateaus. You always have setbacks.

There is a high-performance lifecycle that I teach. We won’t go into it now, but it’s Prepare, Perform, Recover, Review. And true people who are on the journey of Mastery take each of those steps really seriously. They do take performances. They make sure the performances are on the journey. They have good recovery, they do detailed review with humility. They ask the hard questions of themselves, and then they prepare meticulously. And those four steps are vital. When you skip a step, things go wrong.

And no matter how many times they’ve done the particular concert, no matter how many times they’ve done that particular thing, they still go through those particular steps.

Mastery is a vital thing to really get to know yourself, to challenge yourself, to grow.

 

COLLECTIVE MASTERY

And there’s such a thing as group Mastery, as well, where a whole team goes through that journey towards high performance and Mastery of a particular thing. That’s a fun journey and a magic way to unite a group of people; when each has grown to become their own particular master, there’s extra energy in the group.

I’m a biased Queenslander, but when you talk about rugby league players like Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston, each of them is a master in their own right. But when they combine, there’s something special, something energetic.

And you know, that’s what happens internally for an individual. When you master one aspect of one pursuit, it seeps into other areas of your life. You just get better at other things. It’s weird, but it happens!

So you grow. And it’s not just the particular skill that grows; you grow as a person. When you’re in Mastery and you’ve achieved this wonderful state of both zone and flow, you are in this place where essentially, you’re extending yourself. A skier or a surfer feels like the skis or the surfboard are an extension of their body. Same goes for the musical instrument, the guitar or the keys on the piano. The object of your craft becomes an extension of yourself as you’re into that zone and flow and the ultimate expression of who you are.

And that is why we do it. In the end, to express ourselves and get to know our own spirit through the art form that we choose to pursue.

And when you work at that day by day, when you are dreaming for that and you’re reaching, reaching, reaching for it, one day you’ll come into a space where you become aware that you are a master. And you haven’t sought it, but you’re there. And it feels good. And you feel free.

 

Stay Legendary,

Grego and Pricey