Resistance is a tricky beast.
As I’m sitting here writing this for you I can feel it perched on my shoulder, whispering convincing lies in my ear.
“You can do this later.”
“Who cares if you write this? No one is going to read it anyway.”
“People will just think you’re bossy and stuck up if you tell them what to do.”
My Resistance is whiney and petulant like a teenager you were supposed to give a ride somewhere.
Whether it’s making (and keeping) resolutions for the new year, getting your resume together, joining that dating site, writing your book, creating your art, or launching your business, you are guaranteed to meet up with Resistance.
It shows up and says, “Hey, Buddy. Hold your horses. Do you really think this is a good idea? Are you even qualified to do this? What if something bad happens? Let’s just sit here where it’s safe and have a nice long chat about this.”
The truth is that we all come up against Resistance at one time or another.
Your level of education, your physical attractiveness, your bank account – none of these things make you immune to the voice of Resistance, seductively whispering to you all of the reasons why you would be safer if you just stop trying to do things.
There’s only one problem with that.
Resistance isn’t about keeping you safe. It’s about keeping you stuck. TWEET THIS.
It’s about burying your fear of change and then rationalizing the decision you made to bury the fear.
It’s about going out like a chump.
One of the common lies Resistance uses to distract you from moving forward is, “You really need to dig deeper and find out what is REALLY going on, deal with your past, get closure, go to therapy, unravel your childhood traumas, etc. FIRST.”
That sounds good, right?
It’s a trick.
Yes, therapy is a valuable, vastly important tool that can help you get a basic understanding of your mindset and how your past has shaped it. Believe me, I’ve been on both sides of the couch, having received years of therapy from excellent psychotherapists and also having provided years of counseling to others. If you don’t have your mental and emotional house in order, you have no business advising others about theirs.
But you don’t have to explore the deepest level of yourself before you are qualified to make decisions, embrace strategies and just get on with your own life.
Thinking about things is good, but without movement and action it falls flat.
If you are struggling with Resistance right now, get out two pieces of paper and something to write with.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR THOUGHTS RIGHT NOW.
Did your brain just start filling with tons of reasons you were not able to get two little pieces of paper and something to write with?
I’m sorry to inform you of this, my friend, but YOU ARE FIGHTING RESISTANCE RIGHT NOW and IT IS WINNING.
If you pushed through it and got your paper and pen, GOOD FOR YOU. You have shown your Resistance who is boss. Now for the next step. This whole thing will only take 20 minutes and I promise it’s worth it.
You are about to learn an easy, fast technique that you can use over and over to push through Resistance and get things done.
Think of that one thing that you know you should do and really want to do, but for some reason you have not yet done. It could be writing a book, looking for a new job, hiring a life coach, creating art, getting your finances in order, etc.
OK, now I want you to make a list of every reason why you have not done that thing you want to do. Take a good 10 minutes and really get all of the reasons out of your head and on to your list.
On the second piece of paper, you are going to make a new list. On this new list you will do something very simple.
You will write out the exact opposite of each thing you wrote on the first list.
For example, let’s say the thing you want to do is write a book. One of the reasons you listed on the first list for not doing it was:
• I don’t have enough time to write a book.
On your new list, you are going to write:
• I have enough time to write a book.
Do that with each of the items from your first list.
Now title that first list “Rationalizations.”
Title the second list “New Possibilities to Consider.”
Now, as you are reading your new list, pay attention to your body. When you read each new statement, how does it feel in your body?
As you look at each new statement, consider them with an open mind. Are any of these new statements true? You will be tempted to discard them without really considering them. Persist!
If you are being totally honest with yourself, you will find that many of the things on your new list are absolutely true.
The reason for this is that once you start focusing on the things on your second list, your brain will actually start to notice more of the things in your environment that support your New Possibilities.
You are opening up the scope of your vision to recognize possibility instead of limitation.
You’re taking baby steps out into a new world where you have power to create a life you want.
A word of caution: Resistance does not give up easily. You will probably experience some physical symptoms as you fight against it. You might feel shaky. Maybe your stomach will bother you. You might just feel really sleepy. Be on the lookout for these physical signs of Resistance so that you can move through them in the healthiest possible ways. Your job will be to support yourself while avoiding the temptation to give up on your goals.
I told you Resistance was tricky.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me about that one big thing you are resisting. After doing the exercise, what new possibilities did you discover? Let me know in the comments.
For more info on Resistance, check out Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art.
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