One of the biggest bank heists in history was one of the sneakiest. $69.8 million was stolen when robbers dug a 78 metre tunnel below the Banco Central in Brazil.

You’ll face plenty of obstacles and enemies as you chase after your dream. The obvious ones come through the front door; the subtle ones dig tunnels underneath you. We need to be on guard against both.

Just like the frog in the pot not realizing it’s dying when the temperature is slowly increased­—these enemies are at work without you realising. Their strength is in their subtle nature. Awareness is the first step in overcoming them.

Here are 9 subtle enemies to be on guard against:

1. The Selective Ear

Carefully seeking out the advice you want to hear. You have your Mastermind community and mentors, but you only run your ideas past those who’ll give it the thumbs up.

Be open to having your ideas challenged. Be teachable and willing to take on the advice you don’t want to hear.

The path you’d prefer not to take could be the best decision you make.

2. ’Busy’ Work

Doing work that is productive, but not toward your specific goal. You’ve written down your goals for the day, but all of a sudden you find yourself making business calls. It’s deceiving because you’re technically doing work, but crippling because you’re procrastinating on the work that matters.

Unexpected tasks will show up and need to be taken care of, but don’t lose focus of your main goals. Make a list of your essential tasks that need to be done regardless of distractions.

3. Celebrating The Wrong Battles

Michelangelo said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

This happens when setting goals easily within your comfort zone. Tony Robbins is always beating the drum about raising your standards. Don’t amputate your potential by settling for second best. Don’t take silver when you know you are capable of gold.

To unlock your full potential you’ve gotta look well beyond your current abilities. I love that quote, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” Make sure your epic celebration matches a truly epic victory.

How big are you dreaming? I bet you could dream bigger than that!

4. The Impostor Syndrome

The little voice always saying you’re not good enough. That voice actually isn’t as evil as we make out—it’s trying to do us a favour, albeit one we’d rather pass on. It’s trying to keep you in your comfort zone, because comfort = safety.

The human “fight or flight” mechanism had its uses when we were chased by dinosaurs, but it’s crippling for taking on your massive dream. Massive dreams mean stepping right out of your comfort zone.

When you hear that voice, accept it for what it is—a defence mechanism. Remind yourself that it’s in the uncomfortable zones where the magic happens.

5. The ‘Good’ Option

It’s not only bad options that undermine your success, it’s the good option that pulls you away from the best option. Saying “No” can be the best decision you make. Don’t make the rookie mistake of jumping at the first option. Weigh them up, and hold back from making a final decision until you have done so.

You don’t want to simply make good decisions, but the best decision.

6. Faulty Validation

Sometimes validation takes a little persistence. Validation is certainly the ‘buzz’ concept floating around at the moment—put out the minimum viable product, if nobody bites, trash it.

But pause for a minute and consider maybe you tested it with the wrong audience. Maybe the product is fine and your approach is off. Make sure you give your products and ideas every chance to succeed before writing it off completely.

7. The Gambler’s Fallacy

5 straight red numbers at the roulette table…the next one has got to be black right? 

The chances of it being red or black are just the same. There’s nothing wrong with trying to predict trends, just make sure you have covered all the history and variables. Life can be as unpredictable as the stock market.

Don’t jump into something simply because nobody has done it. Don’t mistake a lack of presence as a need. Do as much homework as possible before launching. Find an expert and get their perspective. ‘Trends’ can be deceiving.

8. Keeping Up With The Joneses

There are plenty of people chasing after their dreams. Just remember to run your own race. Success is achieving the goals YOU have set out to achieve, not what your friend is chasing after. Comparison is crippling. We have a bad habit of dwarfing our success and magnifying the success of others.

There’s nothing wrong with adopting habits of successful people and companies, but there’s a fine line between emulation and imitation. Emulation builds upon what is still distinctly you, imitation is selling yourself out.

9. The Yellow Brick Road

This is the only way!

This happens with popular diets that come along. All of a sudden it is the answer we’ve all been waiting for. Ignoring all the ways bodies respond differently. What works for someone else may not work for you.

This is not to say there aren’t rules that always apply, but it’s against the dogmatic cookie-cutter approach. There is more than one yellow brick road to success.

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