“How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell-phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to? Resistance defeats us." - The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
Resistance is real. It is often the thing that stops us from achieving our goals.
I feel it every day before I sit down to write. Or attempt to sit down to write because often resistance wins. And Resistance doesn’t only attack writers.
Activities that most commonly elicit Resistance:
*The pursuit of any creative art: writing, painting, music, film.
*The launching of entrepreneurial ventures.
*Any diet or health regimen.
*Any plan of spiritual advancement.
*Any program designed to overcome a habit or addiction.
*Education of any kind.
*The undertaking of an endeavor whose aim is to help others.
*Any commitment of the heart - getting married, having a baby.
And here’s the hardest part to understand. According to Pressfield, the more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
Procrastination is the most common manifestation.
When I first started this blog, I would write my piece by Thursday at the very latest. Some where along the way Thursday became Friday, then Saturday, then Sunday. For the last few weeks it's been Monday. Why is that?
Resistance is self-sabotage.
The more I hear, "I love your blog," the more my readership grows, the more resistance I feel, and the more I procrastinate.
Thankfully, writing this blog keeps me on a schedule. I have a deadline, so one way or another, I get a post out every Tuesday. If not for that, who knows how long I would go without writing. My novel is a perfect example. I haven't looked at it in two months, which leads me to another hurdle: Rationalization.
And the problem with our rationalizations is that they may be true. I could tell myself I have no business writing a novel because I wasn't an English major.
And it may be true that I feel pressure about time — I have to make dinner for my family, exercise, prepare for Purim and visit my grandchildren.
But those beliefs are limiting. They stem from fear. Fear of rejection, fear we're not good enough and fear of failure. Fear paralyzes us.
But fear is also an indicator. It tells us what we have to do.
Master the fear and we conquer resistance.
How do we master fear? According to Pressfield, we Turn Pro.
"There's no mystery to turning pro. It's a decision brought about by an act of will. We make up our mind to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that."
“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
Do it or don’t do it.
It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet… Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention…It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”