For today, I am just offering an excerpt that discusses the first obstacle: Resistance. More about the other two another time, perhaps. Let me know if you enjoyed this and are interested. ~ Beth
Do the Work!
Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way
By Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art
(from Chapter One)
The following is a list of the forces arrayed against us as artists and entrepreneurs:
- Resistance (i.e., fear, self-doubt, procrastination, addiction, distraction, timidity, ego and narcissism, self-loathing, perfectionism, etc.)
- Rational thought
- Friends and family
What exactly is this monster? The following few chapters from The War of Art will bring us up to speed:
Resistance’s Greatest Hits
The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance:
- The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
- The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
- Any diet or health regimen.
- Any program of spiritual advancement.
- Any activity whose aim is the acquisition of chiseled abdominals.
- Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.
- Education of every kind.
- Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.
- The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.
- Any act that entails commitment of the heart—the decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.
- The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity.
In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.
Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these acts will elicit Resistance.
Now: what are the characteristics of Resistance?
Resistance Is Invisible
Resistance cannot be seen, heard, touched, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential.
Resistance is a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.
Resistance Is Insidious
Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you.
Resistance will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man.
Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.
Resistance Is Impersonal
Resistance is not out to get you personally. It doesn’t know who you are and doesn’t care. Resistance is a force of nature. It acts objectively. Though it feels malevolent, Resistance in fact operates with the indifference of rain and transits the heavens by the same laws as stars. When we marshal our forces to combat Resistance, we must remember this.
Resistance Is Infallible
Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North—meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.
We can use this. We can use it as a compass.
We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or purpose that we must follow before all others.
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
Resistance Is Universal
We’re wrong if we think we’re the only ones struggling with Resistance. Everyone who has a body experiences Resistance.
Resistance Never Sleeps
Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five. In other words, fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.
Resistance Plays for Keeps
Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on this earth to give and that no one else has but us. Resistance means business. When we fight it, we are in a war to the death…
. . . . . . .
Resistance can be a gift. It gives necessary traction to the wheels of The Chariot. May you and I be fierce and inspired by our resistances. ~ B.