New Levels Bring New Devils

Sometime this past year while listening to TD Jakes I heard him use the saying “new levels bring new devils”. At the time I heard this,I was in the middle of a workout, striving to reach new heights in my career and fitness levels, and I remember thinking to myself, ain’t that the truth. With each mountain I climb and overcome, comes people who are critical of me and sit judgment of my choices and success. No worries I remember thinking to myself, I’ve handled adversity in the past, there is nothing that is going to stop me from attaining the goals and dreams I have set forth for myself. 

I remember being so moved by the saying, I wrote it up on my mirror to serve as a reminder that as I continue to climb and achieve, I would need to be prepared to face adversity and critics who would not want to see me succeed. Never even considering that new levels bring new devils could also mean new devils in my own mind and thinking.What I didn’t know then but would soon discover was that the person who would most try and keep me from achieving success would be myself. 

Having studied human behavior and psychology for years now, what I did know is that humans are meant for expansion and growth but often fail to achieve all they are capable of. This is often due to upbringing and societal conditioning and limiting beliefs. Thes beliefs often create what author Gay Hendricks describes in his book The Big Leap an upper limit in our subconscious. What this means is we unintentionally create beliefs  about our own worth and how successful we are allowed to be. Essentially we create a success barometer within our own psyche making it difficult to move past a certain level of success.  The issue presents itself when we start to push past that level of success, causing us to consciously or more often than not subconsciously self sabotage ourselves as a means to remain within the level of success we have allotted ourselves to achieve.

This is exactly what happened to me shortly after achieving new levels of success in fitness and writing. After experiencing a minor health issue, I started finding reasons why I couldn’t make time for a workout. If I did manage to find myself on a yoga mat, I’d pick an easy video convincing myself  that I still needed to take it easy on my body despite having been cleared to train by my doctor.Overtime my struggle getting back to my fitness routine bled into my writing and I soon found myself struggling to find reasons to sit in front of the computer. Again, letting myself believe that I had nothing much to say that day or that inspiration would come to me another time. As time passed, I went from reaching new heights in the things I love doing to not showing up and participating in my game of life. How quickly I fell from conquering the world to just doing enough to get by.

Given my passion for all things mental health I started thinking about what could have caused my abrupt exit from the things I love doing, leading me, overtime to realize, I reached my own upper limit. I was soaring to new heights and my subconscious was not prepared to handle my success. I was shocked to discover as I looked back at different events of my life that I have been running into this issue for most of my life. I’d achieve great success and then crash. Something would inevitably come up in my life that would keep me from forging ahead into new success territory. As I came to this realization it dawned on me,  I don’t need to worry about the devil outside but rather I need to focus on the devil within. The devil that will happily let me off the hook from chasing my dreams and achieving new success. 

Armed with this new information, I assessed all that I wanted to accomplish and how that success could challenge my core beliefs about myself. I examined what obstacles I could potentially face and came up with solutions to combat self sabotage. I referred back to books and discovered that the only way to achieve new levels of success is to get comfortable with more. More workouts,  more writing, more doing what scares the shit out of me. Because by getting comfortable with more, I am teaching my subconscious that I am capable of handling whatever success lay ahead. The only way to expand is to grow through the barriers that were designed to hold me back. 

And grow through them I will. Because while it may be true that with new levels comes new devils, it also comes with new found determination, resilience and the wisdom to know when I am falling into the self sabotage trap. While I am nowhere near where I want to be, I have a clear road map and am armed with resources to get there. Regardless of whether the devil comes from external or internal forces, I am now equipped with the knowledge and fortitude to keep rising and reaching new levels.

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