Is Resistance stopping you from taking consistent action? Here’s how to overcome it:
The inconsistent application of focus and action towards your potential is an issue that many endure. The inconsistency has very little to do with your system of getting things done, and more to do with your limiting psychology – the story you tell yourself on why you can’t achieve your vision.
Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, labels this corrosive relic Resistance. It’s a destructive force sewn into your psychology that limits your potential every time you consider the difficult task of getting from where you are to where you want to be.
Why resistance wants to kill you
Resistance will manifest itself in many forms to keep you distracted from focusing and taking action on the work that must be done. The most insidious tool that Resistance will employ is the disempowering story of – you’re not good enough:
- What’s wrong with you?
- Why do you have to have that?
- Why can’t you just settle?
- Why do you have to do this?
Resistance will continuously replay these disempowering stories until you believe them. Why, because what you focus on consistently you will manifest and Resistance’s goal is not to disable your vision – Resistance wants to kill it.
The good news is that Resistance has no power of its own. Regrettably, you feed Resistance through your fears. Pressfield, explains, ”Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.” Sadly, overcoming Resistance will be an epic battle, you are engaging in a war to the death, and Resistance will maliciously defend its survival.
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. 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.” – Steven Pressfield
Resistance is the master of illusion
I have been a writer for the better part of my adult life. I have struggled with Resistance in its many forms – self-sabotage, self-deception, and self-corruption. These self-limiting beliefs have lead to a stable state of writer’s block and a diminished psychology of my success.
And because I was infected with the you’re not good enough virus I collapsed into perpetual procrastination. Resistance kept me distracted; it persuaded me to pursue a safer journey, an unremarkably average life. I obeyed. I avoided all opportunities to write. Worse, I allowed procrastination to be my advocate and bad trade-offs to be my default decision.
Jon Acuff, the author of Do-Over, explains, “When that fear comes up, I either hide from all opportunities, paralyzed that I’m going to say or do the wrong thing. Or I say yes to any opportunity that crosses my field of vision. You’ve got a podcast that records at midnight, an audience of mostly relatives, and you want me to record it during my family vacation? Done!”
Resistance has the purest intention to defraud you of your most precious resource, time. So without question you surrender to your familiar time suck habits, doing the same thing in the same way with the same people at the same time and getting the same result.
Acuff continues to explain that, “Regret has a much longer shelf life than fear.” Yes, that is true, but there is also something more treacherous than a much longer shelf life – the holocaust of your unrealized potential.
4 questions that will master your resistance
The mastery of fear is not a paradox the blueprint for overcoming fear lies within your psychology. You must leverage that fear so that it drives the degree of your success. This drive allows you to divorce Resistance’s control and grants you the freedom to pursue your potential. But how?
The strategy is simple – you have to be more afraid of what your life would be like if you don’t take action.
You have to associate more pain with not achieving your potential, than taking action on your potential. Why, because the need to avoid pain is a biological imperative and when presented with two pains – the one that is greater is the pain that determines your actions.
If you can master that principle, you will begin to use effectively fear to manage Resistance. So whatever you want to accomplish in life you need to ask yourself these questions:
- What actions do you need to take?
- What is the pain you associate for not taking action?
- What will it cost you if you don’t change?
- What will you gain if you take action now?
So back to the original question – what is stopping you from applying consistent focus and taking consistent action? It’s you.
“Hustle tries. Then it fails. Then it tries again, because of grit, which is simply being brave when you don’t feel like being brave.” – Jon Acuff
More directly your inability to master your fear, and if you never master your fear when you look back on your life, from that comfortable rocking chair, all you will see is the carnage of regret.