Move Your Ass. Don’t Let Resistance Win
About 4 minutes to read
Last night my neighbour stopped by for a chat and we began discussing her possibly visiting the island of Rügen, which is Germany’s largest island. This is one of my favourite places to visit in Germany and as I sat down to work this morning, I thought fondly of a week that I spent there last year at the beginning of autumn.
I went to Rügen to spend some time alone, reflect, and strategize for the upcoming year ahead. While this was my main aim I also needed to finish some tasks relating to my business and one of them was record my weekly radio show. The “problem” was the weather was glorious and I felt myself experiencing huge resistance to completing the task.
As I started preparing to get it done, I kept on looking out the window and seeing how wonderful the day was and I constantly thought, “Oh, you know, let me just do the preparation and then I can go off and enjoy the day and can come back and finish up later.” Unfortunately, at the time I was reading this wonderful book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The hypothesis of the book is that resistance robs us from creating great things in our lives.
Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction – Steven Pressfield
Pressfield contends that resistance has many manifestations, one being procrastination because “it’s the easiest to rationalise.” From my experience, I would say this is true, as rationalising was exactly what I was doing. I was literally at war with myself and each time I glanced out the window my self-talk went something like this: “No, I’m not going outside, I’m going to press on, I’m going to do this regardless of how beautiful the weather is.”
Later in the day, I went for a walk and came to an area along the beach where a fabricated dyke, constructed of gigantic boulders was holding the sea at bay. There was a narrow path running between a small forest and this huge dyke and I decided it to see where it would lead.
It was quite a frightening experience because I could hear the force of the waves crashing against the dyke and I understood that was my only protection from death by drowning. Along the pathway, there were large puddles of seawater and I realised that the sea is seeping through, somehow or other; it was penetrating through the barrier.
On that day, I realised that the sea was like resistance, all-powerful and unrelenting. We set out to do something great but resistance, no matter what barrier we erect against it, finds a way to creep in and derail us, sometimes even from our own greatness.
As I stood in the shadow of the dyke listening to the crashing sea, I “heard” the different forms of resistance shouting aloud. Procrastination! Self-dramatization! Victimhood! Unhappiness! Fundamentalism! Criticism! Self-doubt! Fear! Love! Isolation! Support! Rationalisation! Does this sound familiar to you? They sure do to me!
What do we do about resistance?
Well this is the million-dollar question and I think there is only one answer.
The antidote to resistance is to move your ass, get on with it, do it! The longer we remain inert or in a state of procrastination, the greater the resistance grows, the stronger the foot hold it has.
Therefore, we have to stop giving in to procrastination. Stop thinking that tomorrow is another day. Stop thinking you will do it later. Stop whining in your head about how difficult it is. Just sit down, get the work done, and push through the resistance. When we persist, we feel a sense of joy, accomplishment, and pride in ourselves.
I know this is how I felt on that day. Although most of the day was gone, I felt a real sense of accomplishment that I completed my task and never surrendered to the tempting resistance I felt. I noticed that as I was whining in my head about the beautiful day I was missing, the resistance began to morph. It was no longer just about the weather, but rather I started to doubt my capabilities as a speaker. I began to think, “Oh, you don’t know what to say,” and “Oh you don’t know if anyone will listen” and “you don’t know what your audience wants,” and the longer I remained inert the greater the resistance became. I then needed more resilience to overcome my own self-inflicted resistance!
To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit – Steven Pressfield.
I am sure you also know from experience that when we surrender to all the things that stop us from moving our ass and doing something great, eventually we are flooded.
Therefore, whatever we have been putting off let us decide today to stop resisting, get off our butts, and get it done. Okay? We will all feel much better when we have made this commitment to ourselves!
Leave a comment on how you overcome resistance; I would love to hear from you. Sign up for my weekly blog posts if you have enjoyed this article.