Defeating The Liar (and why your future depends on it)

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Defeating The Liar (and why your future depends on it)

This post is by my dear friend Paul Angone. Paul is an author, speaker, story-teller, and creator of - a community for those asking, “what now?” His debut book All Groan Up: Searching for Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! hits bookstores in 2013. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

All great works hinge on one single thing: Your ability, or inability, to defeat the Liar.

Because whenever you are doing something worth doing, the Liar’s going to attack. Every. Single. Time. And the Liar is playing for keeps.

As Stephen Pressfield writes in The War of Art, "Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on earth to give and that no one else has but us."

Who’s the Liar?

The self-helpers might call it negative Self-Talk.

The spiritual might call it Satan.

Creatives might call it Resistance.

Whatever you feel comfortable naming it, just know its filthy game. Because when you sit down to do your work, the Liar is going to try and stop you.

And it won’t be a full-front assault like an army storming the castle. No, it will be like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. Sneaking up next to you, whispering in your ear a soft hiss of lies. Each lie poisoned with just enough truth that only after you take a bite do you realize it’s killing you.

Even as I sit here and write this right now, the Liar is whispering in my ear.

Who are you to encourage people to stop me?”

“You’re not as creative as ____________. “

“Not as funny as _____________. “

“Not as influential as ________ and especially not __________. “

“Quit now before you embarrass yourself.”

Its lies unnerve me, but they have not stopped my forward movement. Because I’m better equipped now at shutting its mouth.

How to Shut the Liar’s Mouth

Speak Directly to Its Lies

Some days when the battle is fierce, I literally speak these phrases out loud.

“Liar, you have not created one single thing in your entire miserable existence. How do you have any right, authority, or credibility to tell me how to do something you are incapable of doing yourself?”

“You destroy. I’m building. You mock. I’m encouraging. You critique. I’m creating.”

Giving the Liar authority to speak truth into my life is as insane as letting a wrecking ball try and build my house.

Constantly Reminding Myself that Failure and Embarrassment are a Necessary Part of the Process

The Liar will have us believe that if we try something big, we will fail. And the problem here -- the Liar is right. At least partially.

If we go for it, we will fail. We have to. That’s part of lifting a weight heavier than you. You tear your muscles so that they can become stronger.

But you see, the Liar wants you to believe that failing is terminal. That failing means you’re a failure.

What a lie.

Failing means you’re finding a more profound way to be successful.

Failing is just perseverance in progress.

The Liar wants us to believe that somehow our failure will be front-page news. It probably won’t. Everyone fails. Everyone trips over their feet on stage. Embarrassment and greatness have to exist in the same space. If you’re not willing to be embarrassed, you’re not willing to do something great.

The Beauty of the Liar

Here’s the awesome thing about the Liar - when it starts babbling, you know you’re onto something important.

But we must make sure to cut its head off before it gets its way like a snake suffocating its prey. We have been given the authority to create and the Liar can’t take that away.

Our calling, our children, and our purpose in this world -- all depend on our ability to shut the Liar’s damn mouth.

I’m fired up about this and want to share about 17 more ideas on how to stop the Liar, but much better than that is hearing your ideas and strategies on how you do it. We need to join forces on this one. It’s that important.

- Paul Angone

Photo Credit: Anna Brix Thomsen

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Comments (16)

  • Larry J Rutledge

    Larry J Rutledge

    07 November 2012 at 18:08 |
    So right on ... this is an important message. It's one we all face in every endeavor in life; whether its starting a creative endeavor, a social endeavor, a relationship, following a dream, responding to God's call and direction, or any number of other pursuits.

    What I like about this is you give some very strong responses to the liar. Their is a reason the Bible describes Satan as the "father of lies", not just to identify him as a liar, but to show his greatest power ... his lies.

    If we can ever get to the place where we realize that his power rests in his words and nothing else, we are well on our way to victory. Once we are able to ignore his words, he suddenly is powerless to change us, to move us.

    We are moved when we listen to the words coming into our life and then respond based on our reaction to those words. If the words come from a source of life and we follow them, then we move towards life. But if the words come from a source of destruction and we follow them, believe them, then we move towards destruction.

    You can take the liars power away when you identify his lies for what they are, then respond in a way not dictated by the words, the lies.

    There really isn't much to be added to what you've written. You've expressed it so clearly. When the lies come it identifies we are on the right track. If we aren't a threat, then there is no need to bother detracting us.

    And having the courage to fail makes it so much easier to respond appropriately when the lies do come. When you aren't afraid of having something to lose, then you can speak truth in confidence.

    And nothing breaks a lie faster than truth.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      07 November 2012 at 21:28 |
      Yes Larry. Thank you!
  • Paul | All Groan Up

    Paul | All Groan Up

    07 November 2012 at 22:06 |
    Right on Larry! Well said. Glad this article resonated as heavily with you as it did me. Thank you
  • Paul | All Groan Up

    Paul | All Groan Up

    07 November 2012 at 22:07 |
    And Justin thank you for the honor of writing for your site today!
  • Dave


    07 November 2012 at 22:26 |
    Woo! Love this! I definitely needed this today. Everyone knows the path to dream-chasing and is going to be littered with difficulties - but we, meaning I, still get discouraged when I see them begin to stack up against me. Then that voice comes and says, See what I told you - of course you can't do this now go back home before you make a bigger fool of yourself. But like you said, listening to him would be like letting a wrecking ball try and build my house. Wrecking balls aren't exactly models of finesse.
    Anyways I'm pumped for your book and thankful you got a chance to post on Justin's site. You guys are definitely two positive voices for those of us who are trying to shut the liar's mouth.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      15 November 2012 at 20:03 |
      Thanks for reading Dave!!!
  • Larry J Rutledge

    Larry J Rutledge

    07 November 2012 at 22:35 |
    I once wrote on a similar topic, it came after I tried to start a creative endeavor and literally within minutes the enemy came in telling me all the reasons "why not".

    So I started asking myself, "why me?" Not, why was I being lied to, but why was I the right person to start this endeavor. Why had God asked me, of all the people on this earth, to undertake this thing? What did I have to offer?

    The answer was so liberating ... I am NOT the right person for the job. I don't have the tools or talents or skills to be successful at it ... except that God has asked me to do it, and promised to provide what I need in every circumstance.

    And I believe He generally chooses those are incapable, or who are otherwise not the right person for the job, so that all we do will point to Him:

    "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." 2 Corinthians 4:7
  • Paul | All Groan Up

    Paul | All Groan Up

    08 November 2012 at 05:02 |
    "Wrecking balls aren't exactly models of finesse."

    Love that line Dave. Extremely well said on your end. Really appreciate your comment.

    I need to be reminded of what's in this article every day.
  • Hugh McDevitt

    Hugh McDevitt

    08 November 2012 at 22:36 |
    The tack that the Liar uses on me that is most effective is "this will be too hard." I direct a choir, and I have chosen a selection for a Christmas service that is very difficult and is going to challenge all of us in the group. After our first couple of sessions working on the piece, I could tell that the singers were very frustrated, and I was seriously thinking of jettisoning the piece in favor of something easier. However, prior to our next rehearsal, I listened to a recording of the piece and was inspired to keep working on it, even if our end result isn't perfect. I had the group listen to the recording again as well, and I think we have a common inspiration now to work as hard as we can on it because the end result is worth it, and the struggle is worth it too. Many times, I would like to avoid the struggle and just get to the good results at the end, but the learning is in the struggle!
    • Dave


      08 November 2012 at 22:38 |
      You should post a YouTube clip of your choir when they perform!
      • Justin Zoradi

        Justin Zoradi

        15 November 2012 at 20:03 |
        I agree with Dave
  • Dave Arnold

    Dave Arnold

    11 November 2012 at 00:37 |
    Great message. It's so easy to the let the
    Liar keep us down - to believe we are worthless or that God cannot use us.
    Thanks for showing how we can better defeat this Foe.
  • Kathy Munk

    Kathy Munk

    13 November 2012 at 14:10 |
    thank you for this post! Whenever we are doing something powerful for the Lord, the enemy attacks. The enemy can not read our thoughts..we need to follow the example of when Jesus was tempted in the desert...quote God's word aloud! Don't argue with the enemy..use the sword of the spirit!
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      15 November 2012 at 20:04 |
      Thanks Kathy!
  • dianehurst1


    13 November 2012 at 16:00 |
    This post and the following comments were well put. Having the courage to be willing to fail is something I sometimes struggle with. Every month I sing a song for critique at a songwriting group, and I face the fear that they will all pick it to pieces. Sometimes they do -- but I have learned and benefited in many ways from this process, and it does help to go in with the attitude of letting the chips fall where they may and just doing it! Sometimes I get approval, sometimes there are some really helpful suggestions, and sometimes I disagree and don't want to change something-- but if I didn't put the work out there I'd miss out on this potential for growth.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      15 November 2012 at 20:04 |
      Thanks so much for reading Diane!

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