Try moving on anything—whether toward a new career or your next project—and you’ll face resistance. It’s the one thing that can keep you from your next great beginning. Here are four things you need to know about resistance.
The Inspire Me segment quote is from the man Leary calls “Mr. Resistance”, Steven Pressfield. Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, has become a popular must-read on the topic of resistance. One of several excerpts read in this show:
“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
The four things you need to know about resistance:
- It comes in many forms. Resistance can be external such as rejection or criticism (see Episode 17), bad business conditions, physical handicaps and the like, but it’s most often internal (distraction, procrastination, faulty beliefs, fear, etc.).
Pressfield Nugget: “Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.”
- It is unavoidable. Every action will face resistance. It’s Newton’s Law: an object at rest remains at rest.
Pressfield Nugget: “Resistance is like the Alien or the Terminator and the shark in Jaws. It cannot be reasoned with. It understands nothing but power, It is an engine of destruction, programmed from the factory with one object only: to prevent us from doing our work. Resistance is implacable, intractable, indefatigable. Reduce it to a single cell and that cell will continue to attack. This is Resistance’s nature. It’s all it knows.”
- It can make you do stupid stuff. Like rationalizing your inaction or overcommitting.
Pressfield Nugget: “Resistance outwits the amateur with the oldest trick in the book: It uses his own enthusiasm against him. Resistance gets us to plunge into a project with an over ambitious and unrealistic timetable for its completion. It knows we can’t sustain that level of intensity. We will hit the wall. We will crash.”
- It can inspire your best work. Great accomplishments have occurred under tremendous resistance. Leary and Armin discuss the works of George Handel and Fred Smith.
Pressfield Nugget: “Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too. If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference. The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to youand the more gratification you will fell when you finally do it.”
In the Challenge Me segment Leary suggests an approach to tackle the resistance you are facing by, first of all, identifying the one thing that keeps you from the thing you love or making the change you need to make. Second, by telling a friend and asking them to check in with you about it a week from now. And, third, to write down a rating every day on how well you did in overcoming the resistance. Knowing you’ll be accountable to identify and measure the resistance will cultivate ways you can reduce it.
Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:
- The War of Art, Steven Pressfield. A must-read on resistance for anyone trying to do anything.
- The resistance trinity: 3 things that can halt the next chapter of your life, Leary Gates. A look at 3 different kinds of resistance not covered in Pressfield’s book