The Strange Secret of Self-Control

Self - Control

Have you ever considered the strange implication of self-control?

The idea points to an unusual aspect of our minds…. there at least two entities up there in our heads, if not more.

There is an animalistic part that wants what it wants, and wants it now. Then there is another part of us that knows better. The part the knows better has the chance to assert control over the unruly other. And the two cajole and seduce us to take their different sides day in and day out.

The classic metaphor for this struggle is the angel and devil advising us in each ear. So how can we become our better selves and enjoy life along the way? Here we’ll explore how.

Identity and The 2 Sides of You

In a nutshell, this topics boils down to identity. Which of those two inner voices do you want to be?

Other terms for these two sides are our ego vs our higher self. I like these because they don’t imply a Cosmic Right or Wrong. But becoming our higher self is obviously superior to allowing our egos lead us around by the nose.

It’s simply better to make ourselves more intelligent, capable, creative, problem solving people. All these are traits associated with our higher self.

We naturally have drives to seek pleasure and avoid pain, but this is almost certainly not the path to deep satisfaction. By chasing short-term pleasures, we often hamstring ourselves, sabotaging our chances for achieving lasting and profound happiness.

The Paradigm Shift

Have you noticed how some people seem to feel inspired to do their work while most of us feel like there is a huge rock on our chest, holding us down? Why do some people seem to just have the energy and motivation to make things happen for themselves?

This happens because of the different motivation styles we each take. When we have fusion style motivation, we feel like we are tapped into an limitless reservoir of energy and potential. But to do this requires a paradigm shift.

The difference between these two styles of motivation comes back to our identity and if we feel more connected with our higher or lower self.


Steven Pressfield discusses the concept of resistance in depth in his incredible work The War of Art.

He claims that whenever we make the decision to shift towards our higher self, we feel resistance. Resistance is the psychic pressure of our ego trying to hold us back. The ego is invested in not changing. Any refinement represents it’s death, or transformation at the very lest.

And the ego will use every trick in the book to keep us like we’ve always been.

People who seem to have boundless energy, a la fusion, feel this way because they’ve made a critical shift in their identity. They too feel resistance when the get up to create, work out, study, contribute to others, or do the work to become a better person. The difference is that they identify with that higher self. They have learned to find pleasure, and even pride, in overcoming that resistance.

Instead of feeling pleasure by relaxing, they feel pain knowing their ego is winning. And it hurts.

When they take the steps to do the work, they feel like they are acting like their true self, their best self. This feels good.

The only difference is a shift in identity which brings a shift in perspective.

A Change of Perspective: Why the Paradigm Shift Works

Imagine we’re watching a Worldcup football/soccer event. Now imagine you have a $100 bet on your team winning, and at the moment your team is up 1-0. But then the other team scores, tying the match… Your money is on the line and you might be losing it…. Then the opponent scores again, putting you behind 1-2 just as the game ends. How does that series of events make you feel?

Now consider those same series of events from the other side. The same money is on the line but it’s your team that comes back from a 1 point deficit to win in the closing moments. Those identical events feel a lot different based on who we identify with.

This is the power of our personal paradigm shift. Instead of feeling the pain of doing a hard workout, we identify with the victory of having overcome our egoic resistance. Over time, as we continue to log these regular wins, we can start to enjoy the feeling of doing the work because it means that today we have won.

Now for the Real Juice: How do we make this Shift? –> 6 Steps to Becoming Your Better Self 

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  1. […] The strangest secret of self-control is that it shows us that we have at least 2 selves up in our mind. […]