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Is Resistance Stopping You From Taking Consistent Action?



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:

  1. What actions do you need to take?
  2. What is the pain you associate for not taking action?
  3. What will it cost you if you don’t change?
  4. 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.

How will you master your fear? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Ramon B. Nuez Jr. studies leadership. Ramon interviews leaders across a broad range of disciplines such as CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders — to uncover what makes them exceptional leaders. Ramon writes about leadership in world famous blogs like the Huffington Post,  Addicted2Success, Lifehack, and Business2Community. He has also been an editor for the World Wide Web Foundation and Crowdsourcing Week. Ramon is working on self-publishing his first book; tentatively titled “The Growth Journal | a notebook for living with impact.” Ramon is endlessly conducting research on entrepreneurship, skill acquisition, productivity, behavioral psychology and leverages the investigation to help high achievers become so valuable that they can’t be ignored. Visit him online at

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kyle McDougall

    Feb 25, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Awesome article Ramon with some great reminders about the importance of pushing through fear and resistance.

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

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Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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