Inner Game Heroes: “Diane”

I have a great story for you today, about an Inner Game Hero named Diane. I’m always talking about the difference learning the fundamental self-mastery skills makes. Here’s a chance to see that in action. And literally see it, which is especially fun.

Anyway, enjoy!

(subtitles available. transcript below.)

[ transcript ]
Hey, it’s David Levin. Author of Raise Your Inner Game. Co-author of the million selling QBQ The Question Behind the Question. And founder of Raise Your Inner Game Academy.

I have a wonderful Inner Game Hero story for you today. I’m sure she would be very uncomfortable being called a Hero. But I think it’s fair. I love this story.

It’s about an artist by the name of Diane Splinter. Diane is a painter, calligrapher, her work is very inspired by nature, really just very beautiful and interesting work, which you can see for yourself at

So, there was one painting that had been giving Diane a lot of trouble. And, you know, any sort of creative work can be a real struggle. Artists, designers, coders. Really, anyone who has to figure things out and solve problems for a living, has had this experience. There’s something there that intrigues you. You feel like you can see it. But you haven’t cracked it yet. It’s not working. You’re not liking what you have. You don’t know how to fix it. You’re just really stuck. And you’re beating yourself up about it, too. Right? You’re a failure. You’re no good. You’re a fraud. All that painful stuff.

Well, Diane was having all of that struggle with this painting.

But she came to my workshop — RYIG:LIVE — where we work on the three self-mastery skills I talk about — cognitive control, emotional self-regulation, impulse control. These skills, as you’ve heard me say, are the foundation of everything we want to do in our lives. The reason we struggle so much with the goals we set for ourselves, is that we haven’t developed these skills yet. But as soon as we do, it unlocks a tremendous potential in us, we’re able to operate at a much higher level than we could before. And Diane’s story is a beautiful illustration of that.

After the workshop was over, she went home, and she went after that painting again.

Now, she was still feeling all the same resistance — all the negative thoughts, the doubts, the emotions, it was all still there. And that’s an important point. Learning these skills doesn’t make that resistance go away. It gives us the ability to rise above it and push through it. Which is exactly what she did.

She basically started over with the piece. She was like, “Oh, there it is. I see it now.” And as the negative thoughts came up, she would just set them aside. “Nope. Not going there. We’re DOING THIS.” So, she got to work. Made some changes. Got things working again. Solved the problems. And she got it. She ended up with a piece that she really loved, and felt good about. And you can see the painting here, if you’re seeing the video. It really is a beautiful piece.

And then, it sold almost immediately. Which does not usually happen. So she got a wonderful affirmation on top of that.

And the best part for me was, when she told me the story, she was just so excited about it. She was just tickled. It felt like just a wonderful success. And it was. And she said it was the self-mastery skills she’d learned that made the difference.

And really, it just makes sense. … Diane already knew how to paint. That wasn’t the skill she needed. And she knew what she wanted to paint. She had the vision. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was, the thoughts and emotions and distractions that kept holding her back, that were keeping her from accomplishing that vision. And it’s the same with all of us.

You know I open the book RYIG with this quote from Leonardo da Vinci: The height of a person’s success is gauged by their self-mastery. That’s why Diane is an Inner Game Hero for me. By increasing her self-mastery, she immediately became more successful, in many ways and ways that she could feel.

And the best part is, anyone can do it. YOU can do it. The concepts are easy to understand. The skills themselves are surprisingly easy to develop. You just need to focus on them.

So that’s the message I wanted to share with this story. If you feel like something’s keeping YOU from being your best, and you want to fix that in the quickest, most direct way possible, follow Leonardo’s advice. Work on your self-mastery. And specifically on this skill of cognitive control. It’s just hugely important and valuable. And just like Diane did, it’s really just a matter of learning to observe the negative thoughts when they come up, and then just saying, “No. not going. No thank you.”

All right, that’s it for this week. If you are hearing this somewhere other than my site, come on over — — put your name on my list, I’ll let you know about other things like this when they come out. And if you know any other Inner Game Heroes, I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment here, tell me about them, give me a link I can check out. Otherwise, thank you. Keep up the good work. I’ll talk to you next time.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field