Plenty of folks ask me what the name “Inner War” means. The concept of Inner War is a fairly simple one to understand and applies to almost any endeavour, not just physical fitness or strength training.
So what does “Inner War” mean?
In his seminal work, Thus Spake Zarathustra, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “…the worst enemy you can meet is always yourself.”
I’m sure you’ve read or heard this before in one form or another. I want to talk about the face-value meaning of this statement and then explain why it’s necessary to declare inner war—or, war against one’s self.
The Path of Least Resistance
First of all, how can we be our own worst enemy? Isn’t an enemy someone we see as a threat? Someone who wants to cause harm to us or the people we care about? Someone whose ideals are the complete opposite of our own?
Someone who’s in our way?
So how can I be my own worst enemy?
There will always be a part of yourself that wants to be comfortable. It’s hard-wired into our brains. But if you want to be great at something, you need to work hard at it. There’s just no two ways about it.
As human beings, we’re programmed to seek the path of least resistance. We want to avoid pain, discomfort and stress. It’s our natural tendency to prefer the most convenient way forward.
We don’t like doing things that are hard.
We’ve all heard that voice in our head wooing us to choose the path of least resistance.
“I can’t be bothered to cook, let’s order take out…”
“I don’t feel like working out today, let's watch TV…”
You are your own worst enemy because you’re the enemy you don’t even know is there.
This is where the concept of Inner War comes in.
If you want to improve, if you want to evolve, you need to fight against that part of yourself that wants you to be comfortable instead of great.
Declare Inner War!
The Active Mindset
Inner War requires having an active mindset, versus a passive mindset.
A passive mindset is an attitude where you think life happens to you. Thinking like this will make you a victim of circumstance, always in the passenger seat, going through life reacting to everything.
In contrast, having an active mindset means taking responsibility for yourself. It means acknowledging the things that are out of your control, but being rigorously responsible for the things that are under your control. It means being proactive in achieving what you want.
When you think like this, every obstacle starts to become merely part of the landscape on your path to greatness.
Beware the enemy
Be aware of that comforting voice. Beware of the sirens that want you to crash upon the rocks of complacency.
Take note when your inner self is trying to derail you by trying to convince you to do something easier.
Consider what it’s saying to you—then tell it to fuck off.
Fuck your feelings
Ever heard the expression “don't build your castles on sand”? Your emotions are just like shifting sand—always in flux. It makes no sense to live your life based on how you feel when in the next moment you’ll likely be feeling something else.
Fuck your feelings; make plans and stick to them.
Nothing worth having comes easy, as the old saying goes. There will always be that part of ourselves that wants it easy and will undermine the goals we need to work hard for. We must wage Inner War against that part which will always try to undermine us.
Go to war and conquer!