This is the only territory you need to conquer to conquer yourself.
“Man conquers the world by conquering himself.”
What is the last territory you conquered?
Are you holding the reins to your life?
What are the proper steps to conquering from within?
As I grow up, I learn how little I know about what I don’t know.
Each time I feel like I have conquered it, it sleeps away through my fingers like the tide at the beach.
Relentlessly I start over again.
The territory of my youth, I have conquered. Well, at least, this is what I thought.
Then I went back to Dakar, Senegal, back in 2020.
As I put my foot back in my birth soil, my soul became brittle.
After 20 years, a lot of things have changed.
Most of the changes were constant in being the same after all those years.
I thought I conquered being a human.
As I turned 40, blessed with fatherhood, I discovered that I am still far from conquering what it is to be a true leader, a father of everyday life.
I am far from conquering human territory. However, it might have frightened me at some point.
Now I can see more clearly. As the sun is shining, the fog is being replaced by a valley of discoveries.
I thought I conquered what it is to work in a big corporation.
The more I look closely, the more I exchange with people higher in the pyramid, the more I see that I was wrong.
I was convinced that I was an unstoppable force trying to move an unmovable object anchored in the 20th century.
In reality, I am just a human. Like each of us, I will fade away, eventually.
The universe is a vast and growing territory that no human can pretend to conquer.
Even other people, friends, family, and colleagues are their universe in the bigger one.
Welcome to the multiverse. Look no more for other parallel universes. They are right here, before our eyes: other human beings.
We cannot conquer all those universes in the span of one human lifetime. Indeed, our time on this Earth is no more than a blink of an eye in the face of the universe.
However, we can ask ourselves if we are doomed. We can ask if we can be lost souls without any territory where we can reign in peace until death does us its part.
Let’s explore the characteristics of a conquerable territory.
A TERRITORY THAT PROVIDES US SUSTENANCE — In Maslow’s pyramid of needs, sustenance needs are at the base.
A territory that can provide us sustenance is sustainable to our being. We need not to walk further to get things going daily.
Each time we want to conquer a new territory, we need to ask ourselves if it is sustainable.
If the answer is yes, then that is a territory with conquering.
A TERRITORY THAT SUSTAINS US WITHOUT EXTERNAL INPUTS — Each time a territory is too much dependent on external input, that territory is not autonomous.
Because in that territory, we are not in control of what the external world will be ready to share with us.
Maybe that territory we are trying to buy with our soul is too expensive for longevity.
The world will change. A crisis will hit, pandemics will fly and put masks in the face of others; they will not be able to breathe.
Self-reliability is key to being able to build a resilient territory.
A TERRITORY CLAIMED ALONE — A territory conquered together is a great one. Yet, at some point, we either need to split the prize or risk conflicting with others to maintain our power in that territory.
There is peace in doing it on our own. This does not mean that some territories are not to be conquered together.
A territory claimed alone is one that we value because we know the price we had to pay to get it.
We appreciate each square of it because it has been watered with our blood, sweat, and tears.
A TERRITORY CLAIMED BY WORKING — We might inherit a territory from our bloodlines. We might win it by luck, maybe a gift from a kind friend.
The taste of a territory claimed by working is one of sweet tears, smart blood, and salty sweat.
We have conquered it, and we have built our confidence in the way. We know each grain of sand because we have to build the dune, grain after grain, grind after grind.
Because we worked hard and smart, we know that we have contributed to creating our luck.
A TERRITORY RETURNING EXACTLY WHAT YOU PUT IN — We all have been victims of the cost fallacy.
We have all spent our time and energy pouring into our life into a project. Yet that project was not planted in fertile soil.
We lose our soul in the way of trying to reap fruits by watering the desert.
We live in the mirage of our broken dreams, reminiscing some “what ifs” in our minds.
A dry land is under our feet. We dare not to move to another land. We are just focused on all the water we fetched.
We must make sure that we are trying to conquer a fertile territory where the soil will nourish our soul, day in, day out.
What kind of territory have all these traits combined?
Here is the territory that we must conquer in life:
- A territory that provides us sustenance,
- A territory that sustains us without external inputs,
- A territory claimed alone,
- A territory claimed by working,
- A territory returning exactly what you put in.
If we look closer, the answer to that question is straightforward.
The one territory that matches all those characteristics is the one from within.
Welcome to our self-territory!
Our beliefs become our thoughts that turn to words and, if acted upon, will bring us sustenance.
When self-reliant, we can take external inputs as a cherry on top of the cake.
Nobody is in our heads. The walk from within is a walk alone.
We might get some directions and a flashlight from others. Yet the journey is one that we have to do on our own.
Working to claim our internal territory will help us get acquainted with ourselves. We get to know ourselves better because we have walked in our shoes.
Learning and growing are two qualities of a growth mindset. They also characterize a fertile soul that can water the soil of our minds.
We must not be fooled by the emptiness of being the next pharaoh of the world.
Before the world can open its doors to us, they will put a mirror before us. That is the only gate to greatness: conquering from within.
Any other territory conquered with external forces will come crashing us in unexpected ways.
There are no shortcuts, no hacks to conquering our self-territory.
It is a long journey.
The pay is patience.
Patience is power.
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You can read my previous article on Order only this burger, and you will never eat junk food again for the rest of your life: how to make a new habit stick? (Friendly link)
Photo by Caroline Veronez on Unsplash