Here’s a great African proverb that gave the fuel to this post.

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can do you no harm”.

From a psychology based, personal development practitioner point of view, this is the perfect quote. It is so true. Another one springs to mind, “you are your own worst enemy”. We have all heard that one or variations of the same. Bruce Springsteen wrote a song with the same title and sang in the opening lyrics,

“You can’t sleep at night
You can’t dream your dream”

All thanks to the face in the mirror; you can’t dream your dream. If there is no dream, there will be no goals of substance and if there are none of those, there is likely to be only limited growth of success.

What a gloomy picture to paintUpside down rainbow

But, wait! The sun rises every day and if we choose, we can turn that picture upside down and let the sunshine. True, it’s more challenging for some than it is for others but to open the doors of manifestation to whatever we desire, we must be willing to challenge our thinking and entertain that even upside down rainbows are a possibility.


Isn’t it great how children ask that question? Really, it is. They are inquisitive and going along a vertical learning journey. They ask why because they need to know and understand everything that crosses their radar. We’ve all been there and done that yet many of us may not remember so, let’s leap back to childhood.

Let’s say there is a decision to be made in your life because a few people have said something that leads you to question yourself.

Difference of Opinion

Everybody has an opinion about something and I’m not going to explore what leads people to their opinions here. Except to say that while an opinion might be experience based, it may not fit your way of thinking or doing things. Let’s go back to your decision.

Before acting on a decision, ask yourself “Why?” Follow up your response with another “Why?” And then a third. If you can find three good reasons to pursue something or not, you’ll have clarity and be more confident in your actions.

Being self-aware means knowing your motives and determining whether they’re reasonable. As the fictional TV character Lucifer asks; “What is it that you desire”? Asking the three Why’s is an excellent tool to explore this.

Yes, I Will, No I Won’t

Like entrepreneur Richard Branson, I like to say YES to things as often as possible. But if it’s not in my best interests, it must be a clear NO.

Think for a moment about some of the things that distract you frequently. Go on, be honest. This is entirely about you, no need to share.

Here’s a short-brainstormed list:

  • Social Media
  • Snacking & Junk Food
  • Gossiping
  • YouTube
  • Spending an hour reading blog posts instead of the 30-minutes you allocated

Saying “no” to yourself to put off short-term indulgence in favour of long-term gain is an essential life-skill. The more you exercise saying “no” to small daily challenges, the better you will resist distracting temptations.

Make a goal of saying “no” to five different temptations each day but before you say no, ask three “why nots”. Honest answers will provide clarity and exercise this skill.

Choose your Words

Italian film director, Federico Fellini said, “A different language is a different vision of life”. He was talking about knowing a foreign language, but this works for the words we use in our native language too. Especially for those words that only we hear during our periods of self-talk.

I’ve said this before, “be careful what you are saying because you are listening”. There is a constant babble of chatter going on in our heads and if we have a habit of using negative or discouraging words, a downward spiral in our behavioral and physical actions becomes difficult to avoid.

If you constantly chastise yourself for perceived failings a negative feedback loop is created in your mind and it becomes a habit that’s difficult to break.

An Alternative

When the going gets tough, change your language and seek out positive emotions. A wonderful way to do this is to add some innovative words to your emotional vocabulary and make a habit of using them by choosing and using at least one novel word each day. Here’s a great list of positive words to help with labeling your emotions.

Celebrate every win with positive words and celebrate and forgive any failing or challenge with a new encouraging word. It will positively impact your communication skills with others too.

The Enemy Within

There are many other tools that can be used to challenge the enemy within, and I will share a few more very soon. Life and the ways we respond to situations feeds the enemy within; take away the food and it starves.


There are many ways to effectively explore and advance your Personal Development. We need a box of tools to challenge the boundaries and move forward toward realizing success.

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Comments and Questions

Please leave yours below. Your thoughts or questions may well ignite a positive spark in other readers thinking. You will always receive a prompt response to your questions and there is no such thing as a bad question; only the one that was never asked.


I bow to the place in you that is love, light, and joy

Peace & Light

Steve Costello is a British Community & Youth Studies and Psychology honors graduate with over 30-years theoretical and practical experience in the Personal Development public and private sectors. He founded ExGro in 2018 with business partner, friend and clinical psychologist, Leo Faerberg.

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