Mental Fitness

We all have them – fears and insecurities – that if left unchecked cause us to do things that feel right, but are detrimental to our effectiveness, long-term success, and relationships.

Shirzad Chamine is a positive intelligence expert, and he has developed a really helpful framework and assessment to help us better awaken to and understand our fears and insecurities.

Our saboteurs are generally formed in our early childhood. Shirzad states that “they start off as our guardians to help us survive the real and imagined threats to our physical and emotional safety.”

Chamine came to think of this judge as what he calls a “Saboteur,” one of several figurative villains that he says can reside in normal human minds. “Your mind is your best friend, but it is also your very worst enemy,” he says, calling the best-friend part your “Sage,” the voice of authenticity, calm, and positive emotion. The Saboteurs — which, besides the Judge, include such instantly recognizable types as the Victim, the Avoider, the Hyper-Achiever, and six others — undermine you by triggering anger, anxiety, shame, regret, and other negative emotions. 

"Pretty much all your suffering in life is self-generated by your Saboteurs"


Shrirzad Chamine, Life coach, Stanford Lecturer, author.


Image by Stillness InMotion

What are your saboteurs?

Whether we realize it or not, we are in persistent conflict with ourselves. This conflict is between our ideal, exploratory self and our fearful, protective self.

According to Shirzad, the side of us that is fearful and self-protective are our saboteurs, which are “negative thought habits and patterns that live deep in our unconscious and derail our performance and happiness.” These saboteurs are not interested in advancement, effectiveness, or making a positive impact. They are only interested in being right.