In his book “The War Of Art”, Steven Pressfield describes a universal force of nature called Resistance.
Resistance is described as this impartial force that tries to keep you from taking action on a dream of yours.
It’s the voice that says you cant write, when you are truly inspired to write. It is the voice that asks “who will read what you write?”.
“You ain’t good at writing” “You can’t do a business.” “You are not good at sales.” These are all different lines so commonly employed by resistance to get you off track.
The impersonal force
According to Steven, Resistance is impersonal though it’s words seem very personal. It shows up as a voice inside you that knows all about your weaknesses.
But in truth, it doesn’t know who you are. It is just using those words which you have imprinted in your depths of your mind, from the past, even from your childhood, to work against you.
Resistance is so strong that most people succumb to it. It keeps people in mediocrity. It prevents people from becoming their best versions. It prevents people from shining.
The danger of denial
How many times have you delayed the start of a project or work that you knew was so important for your growth, just because of this voice inside you? I have.
To deny the existence of resistance inside is the biggest folly you could make. For it will ensure that you never get out of slumber. It will ensure that you remain with the average majority. Another victory for Resistance.
And the worse part is, even when you recognize it and acknowledge it, it will continue its work.
According to the book, Resistance can take any form. Even the voice of critics who try to tell you that you are good for nothing is a manifestation of resistance.
The various physical impediments that give you an excuse to not work on your dream aid in the work of resistance too. The faulty internet connection, the faulty computer, you name it. The fact is that these things make it so easy for you to excuse yourself from doing your work, the work that really matters.
Shadow of a dream
There is a bright side to all this.
The presence of Resistance is an indicator of a dream worth pursuing. Resistance always follows a dream.
It always times it’s attack when you are setting out on a project worth pursuing, when you start on work that matters most to your life, stuff that can make great positive changes to your future.
According to Steven:
Resistance is the shadow of a dream.
In that way, it is good, for it gives us indication that we are on the right track. All we need to do is to keep ourselves on the track.
You cannot get rid of Resistance by ignoring it. You cannot get rid of Resistance even by acknowledging it.
You need to take action.
When you take firm steps, continuously, day after day in the direction of your dream, Resistance loses it’s strength. The voices recede. The roadblocks to success become infrequent.
Yet, don’t relax. The moment you relax and let your guard down is what Resistance waits for. It doesn’t matter how far you have come on your journey, and how near you are to success. Resistance is always there to derail you.
How often do you hear the analogy of the miner who stops digging a foot away from hitting gold. Why? It’s because they let their guard down and let Resistance win. These are people who had overcome Resistance in the beginning, had worked on their dream, yet in an ironic twist they get defeated at the very brim of success.
The war of art is a continuous one. Art is any creative activity. You may be a writer, a painter, a sculptor, an engineer, an architect, a businessman, a salesman or just about anyone. If you are applying creativity in your job and in the pursuit of your dreams, you are an artist.
And in that endeavor it will help you if you keep an eye out for Resistance.
So the next time you hear that voice inside tell you how difficult it is, or when you catch yourself giving an excuse to not do your work, recognize what you are dealing with. And then defeat it.
You have to win this war, for what is at stake is your opportunity to shine.
And by the way, if you are a creative person, I recommend you read Steven Pressfield’s “War of Art”. It will definitely help you avoid a lot of pitfalls on your path.
How do you deal with Resistance? How often does it manifest in your life? I’d love to hear your comments.