The insatiable drive to achieve higher levels of success is perhaps human nature at it’s finest – and the reason why we have progressed as far as we have, as fast as we have.

However, the natural urge to push ahead challenges another powerful natural instinct – to remain safe and comfortable. Oftentimes, we must battle one of our own instincts in order to satisfy another.

We all have our dark, personal challenges – the challenges that we are most afraid to admit or to face. These deep, dark inner struggles can prevent us from ever achieving our vision of success if we let them. Not believing that these exist or that you have them is easier than believing it — when we refuse to accept it, we can go through life believing we are doing “everything we can” and wondering why some people “get all the luck.”

I imagine that many of you reading this “know” this on a cognitive level, yet you may still be denying it on a very primal level.

I know this is true for me. I constantly battle with first identifying and then knocking out these deep seeded fears that challenge my ability to achieve my vision of success.

The problem with our deepest challenges is that they are often so latent that we don’t even know they exist and therefore we don’t know how to tackle them.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been pushing beyond my comfort zone. It has been exciting, uncomfortable, and exhilarating all at the same time. In this post, I’ll share some techniques I have used recently and in the past to hunt down and tackle my innermost fears and challenges:

Note: None of these suggestions will be of any value whatsoever without ACTION. All require pulling the damn trigger and making the tough choices to go after what you want with vigilance.

Bring More Silence Into Your Life

When I first left my job, I cut off most forms of information from my life. I had no television, stopped listening to music on the radio, ditched my cell phone, and moved far away from anyone I knew. This lasted for about 2 years. I’ve mentioned this before, but I never mentioned why.

I wanted to create a silence so that I could better hear my own thoughts. Without any way to drown these thoughts with pointless noise, I was forced to deal with them in the silence of my own mind. It is much easier to find your own challenges without the constant drone of television, radio, or long chit-chatty phone conversations to take your mind off of the problem.

I’m not suggesting that this is the right path for everyone, but instead to become comfortable with silence. Try spending an hour or more in silence every day. If we allow ourselves to be constantly fed information, then we never have the time to discover our own.

Force Accountability Upon Yourself

Right now there are things you are avoiding that you KNOW damn well will get you closer to your goal. Yet you’re not doing them. I know this because I do the same thing. You’re probably avoiding them because just below the surface lurks a big nasty fear that you don’t want to face. Other people have achieved these things. These things are not impossible. These are things that only seem impossible to you right now because of your current way of thinking about the situation.

If you’ve set goals for certain things and regularly blown them off, it may be time to bring in someone else to hold you accountable. For example, I know that I will regularly blow off working out if I don’t have someone to hold me accountable. After years of blowing it off, I hired a personal trainer to keep me in line. If I don’t go, I disappoint Nik and he charges me for the time of his that I wasted. It hurts my pride and it hurts my checkbook if I don’t go, so I go.

Publicly challenging myself to make $20,000 in passive income this year is another way I’ve held myself accountable. I don’t want to look like an a$$, and that has kept me plugging away on this project that I’ve wanted to slack off on plenty of times. The reason for wanting to slack wasn’t out of laziness, it’s because the entire process has forced me to combat another deep dark fear that lurks in the very core of my being. If I wouldn’t have forced accountability upon myself, I would have probably found an excuse about why I never completed the project.

Have Someone Call You Out on Your Own Lies

The challenges we are most afraid to face – the ones that truly hold us back – are often so much a part of our personality and belief system that they are invisible to us. However, others can see the actions we are doing to cover up these inadequacies. If you really want to know what’s holding you back, maybe it’s time to ask someone the hard questions – the ones you don’t really want the answers to.

Since taking Dave Navarro’s time management challenge, I uncovered a cave of dark challenges – a scene very similar to turning over a railroad tie and finding a horde of wriggling worms and critters scurrying to find darkness again.

My lie was that I was “too busy” to take on the challenges I knew I needed to take in order to get to the next level. I created that lie by filling my time with busywork that wasn’t entirely necessary. Once Dave showed me how to free up my time so that being “too busy” would no longer be a valid excuse, I was left to stare my own deepest inadequacies right in the face.

Over the past month, I’ve been incredibly busy – but I’ve been busy acting on Dave’s advice and therefore creating a plan of action that will get me to the next level. I suspect that the “too busy” lie is one that many people hide behind. If you’re “too busy” then you don’t have time to face all the hard challenges that you already know need to be done.

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