Blueprint >> The Gremlin

Disclaimer: This document is in raw form as I process and distill 4 years-worth of my personal development notes. Expect some typos and cryptic language for now. I will be updating frequently and polishing up.

Prescription: Understand your gremlin. Observe your gremlin in action.
Related Concepts: Positive Thinking, Constructive vs. Destructive Thinking, Waking Daze

What is The Gremlin?

The idea that you are being held back by a negative voice inside your head that constantly acts to hold you back from being your best.

Why is it Important?

You inner negative self-critic will sabotage all your attempts at success and happiness if you don't learn to control him.

The Gremlin Videos

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Coach Leo Gura
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The Gremlin: Key Points

You (and everyone) has a negative, self-critical voice inside your head that holds you back from doing the things you want to do. This is your gremlin. 1 Your gremlin holds you back from sharing your greatest gifts with the world and being your authentic self. Your gremlin cannot be permanently defeated, but it can be tamed.

Your gremlin is the over-protective side of you that clings to limiting beliefs and interprets everything in a negative, disempowering way. He will use crude fear-tactics to keep you in homeostasis. He doesn't want you to advance and grow.

Your gremlin is very tricky. He will goad, lie, sabotage, raise suspicions, endlessly analyze, create excuses, bring forth painful past experiences as evidence against action, exaggerate fears, overgeneralize, and even fake illnesses and physical ailments. He is the extremely pessimistic, conservative side of you.

Your gremlin is extremely adept at coming up with excuses that keep you stuck in your current situation. The worst of it is, these excuses seem reasonable at times. Sometimes you are too sick to go to the gym. Sometimes it's appropriate to be angry as somebody. Sometimes you really do have an emergency. Sometimes you really are justified to stressing out over and impending catastrophe. But most times these are just excuses. Appreciate how tricky and deceptive your own mind can be. If you're stuck, you have to start cutting through the excuses.

Your gremlin holds all sorts of limiting beliefs that are keeping you stuck. Common limiting beliefs include:

  • I am unlovable
  • I am not smart enough
  • I am unattractive
  • People won't like me as my natural self
  • I need to work to get approval from others
  • I need to work hard to be successful
  • The future will be like the past
  • Money is evil
  • Money is hard to make
  • People are untrustworthy
  • People are out to screw me over
  • I have to do what I'm told
  • Sex is bad
  • I'm a shy person
  • I'm not talented enough
  • Worrying is useful
  • I am too old
  • I don't have anything important to say
  • I must not fail
  • Change is too hard or even impossible
  • Life is painful and hard

Your brain is crazy, drunk, stung monkey. It needs to be tamed and quieted.3

Do not wrestle your gremlin. That's a huge waste of time. Your gremlin wins by default as soon as he gets you seriously considering his criticism. By arguing with your gremlin, you drag yourself into the mud. If you choose to dispute your gremlin, do it at specified time of your choosing and limit the dispute to 5 or 10 minutes.

Ways of taming your gremlin:

  • Simply be aware of him. Notice when you have negative thoughts. Don't judge him, don't judge yourself, don't try to change your behavior. Just notice how his voice influences you. Is listening to him leading you towards or away from the life you want?
  • Relax your body and breathe, especially when you get anxious or angry
  • Notice your negative internal dialogue and thought patterns. What negative thoughts keep resurfacing again and again?
  • Notice your negative habits. Don't try to change, just be ware of it as you're doing it.
  • Notice your reactions to other people. Don't try to change, just notice which behaviors push your buttons.


  1. Taming Your Gremlin, Rick Carson
  2. Mind Power, John Kehoe
  3. Optimal Living 101, Brian Johnson
Coach Leo Gura
Hire me as your coach. Super-charge your life. Email me now!
  • Redesign your life to align with your purpose
  • Mindsets and tools for exceptional success