How to fight against mythical dwarves and win

Once upon a time, there lived a king in a magnificent palace. One day, as he was sipping wine sitting on his throne, he heard an impatient voice.

“Ahem…”

The king turned to the source of the voice and was slightly amused to see a dwarf no taller than 2 feet standing before him.

Before the king could ask why the dwarf was in the palace, the dwarf lunged forward, tiny sword pointed threateningly at him, screaming, "En garde!"

In a graceful yet swift movement of the hand, the king unsheathed his sword and defeated the dwarf in less than 3 moves.

Just as the king was about to land the killing blow to end the dwarf’s life for such disgraceful impudence, the dwarf started to plead for mercy. Cowering pitifully and wailing dramatically, the dwarf did cut a sorry figure.

The king decided to spare the cheeky dwarf and sent him off with a warning to never bother him again.

The next day, the same thing happened.

The dwarf pleaded to the king yet again and the king didn’t want to execute someone for the crime of being daft.

This went on for a few more days and the king started to suspect that each time the dwarf returned, he seemed to have gotten a little bit taller.

The king didn't think too much of it.

9 days later, the king noticed that the dwarf was just a head shorter than the king himself! Their duel was so intense that it lasted for about an hour! The king managed to knock the sword out of the dwarf’s hand with great difficulty.

The dwarf, as was his wont, pleaded to be spared but this time the king didn't want to take any chances.

He delivered the killing blow and watched the dwarf combust into dark, black flames and vanish into thin air.

While I am sure you and I don’t duel with insolent,magical dwarves on a daily basis, we can agree that we do constantly struggle with other equally harmful situations.

The dwarves we spar with are possibly procrastination, laziness and harmful addictions. And they never present themselves as the threats that they are. They sneak up on you, dressed up benign and harmless looking.

One more episode won't hurt

One more cigarette won't kill me

One more night of getting wasted isn't going to change anything

Sound familiar?

Every time you do this, you’re saying:

“One more day of breaking my promises made to myself won’t harm me in any way”

‘Letting things slide’ like this is how a lack of self discipline is legitimised inside our minds. And that is how you’re letting the dwarf live and thrive. Sure you may not be feeding or caring for the dwarf but you’re not curtailing him in any way either. There’s no external enemy here, it’s all within you. The dwarf symbolises this tendency we have to self-sabotage ourselves. Ignoring the dwarves could result in our identities being hijacked and replaced by a shabby excuse of the person that we’re capable of becoming.

Fortunately, the corollary of this story suggests that if the dwarf is contained or killed early on, he will never be a threat.

Habits and evil dwarves both thrive on the power of repetition.

Every time you choose to keep a promise to yourself to cultivate a good habit or to ward off a bad one, you're shifting power back to yourself.

As Niklas Göke writes in his masterful article,

"Every action is a vote for who you want to become. You’re voting whether you like it or not. We all do. The habits we choose today will determine what actions we’ll take tomorrow. Make sure you use your right to vote"

Vote for yourself, not some half-assed ‘dwarf’ version that doesn’t do justice to the breathtaking soul that you are.

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