“So long as the Saboteurs [negative voices in your head] are pushing you to your level of success, you will never be happy, because every step of the way is littered with negativity.” – Shirzad Chamine


We often work with clients who have achieved much in their careers but are still feeling frustrated or unfulfilled. It’s not just the stress of a high-paced life or the imbalance of work and life, it’s something deeper.

Shirzad Chamine (author of Positive Intelligence) has developed an amazing approach that highlights ways in which our internal negative speech can disrupt our mental health. He calls them saboteurs: the Controller, the Restless, the Stickler, the Pleaser, the Avoider, the Victim, the Hyper-Vigilant, the Hyper-Achiever, the Hyper-Rational.

On the outside, these saboteurs can drive us to appear highly successful, but on the inside, we will always feel judged, disqualified and inadequate. This is deeply helpful when trying to understand how we sabotage our financial health, as well as our physical, mental and relational health. 

In a recent email, he spoke about the role that mental fitness plays in our happiness, and can even help us live longer. He highlighted the concept of recovery time: our ability to bounce back from a setback or mistake we’ve made.

If we don’t recover fast enough, our small mistakes or setbacks can spiral into bigger ones.

Chamine believes that the key to improving our recovery time lies in reducing the strength of our  Saboteurs. Every Saboteur pounces into action in response to our inevitable mistakes, failures and setbacks in the game of life. And, each will create a different type of stressful emotion, like anxiety, self-pity, unworthiness and denial.

In short, our Saboteurs waste a ton of our mental and emotional energy, which prolongs our recovery. To turn this around, we need to build and practice our mental fitness. People with high mental fitness take fewer sick days than their co-workers and are less likely to become burned out. Salespeople with high mental fitness sell 37% more than teams with lower relative mental fitness. CEOs with high mental fitness lead teams that are more likely to praise their workplace as a high-performance environment.

Mental fitness leads to lower levels of stress hormones, better immune system function, better sleep and a smaller risk of hypertension, diabetes or stroke. Mental fitness can actually help us live longer! If we are going to thrive, and not just survive, our strategy to create and live in our wealthspace needs to be integrated and continually developed.