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Overcoming Resistance

“The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome.”

-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Imagine if Bilbo never left the shire, Or Luke Skywalker never went to the Death Star

Imagine that before they left the door, They talked themselves out of going, They made up excuses like ‘I forgot my handkerchief’, Or ‘I’m supposed to stay here and help on the farm’

The movies that we know and love would be incredibly short and our beloved heroes would just be Hobbits and Farmers.

This wouldn’t happen for the above reasons, The films wouldn’t sell and there would be no Hero’s journey….

Yet this happens every single day in our lives. On this quest to level up your life, your dreams will die, because every day when you wake up you face a boss battle, every day you do something of meaning you face a boss, every single day you have to fight.

Your not fighting Vader or Smug

You’re fighting yourself. We have our dreams and ambitions, Our I’m gonna do’s and our one days, But we never start them or finish them, We talk ourselves out of our own quests. We stay in our own versions of the shire, Comfortable and familiar, So we never grow and we never level up.

Why because of Fear & the Resistance.

Fear is a simple emotion. Its function is to keep us alive, to look out for danger and to face or retreat from it. It functions the same for animals too, A dear will run from danger then get back to eating grass once the threat has cleared.

For humans, though fear helps us remember the source of danger too so we can recognise it in the future. Over time the source of danger became less life threatening but our sense of fear did not, it got bigger.

Today we don’t need to worry about a lion running after us, instead we worry about our status in society, will people like us and the future and safety of our families or our jobs.

After thousands of years we still possess this powerful emotion, it’s hardwired into us, Seth Godin calls it the lizard brain, Professor Steven Peters Calls it The Chimp Paradox and Steven Pressfield calls it the resistance…

It’s the animalistic part of our brain. It reacts faster than the rest of the brain our rational human part of the brain (That part of the brain evolved much later)

This animalistic lizard brain is the source of resistance. It wants to eat, sleep, fuck and survive.

Anything else it will make excuses it has no care for your success. When you say to yourself I’ll start on Monday, I’ll wait till I’ve got X, Y&Z this is your resistance piping up.

It’s your resistance that’s saying this chapter is fucking stupid, Its resistance that made me check Instagram 3x whilst writing this chapter.

Your Animal brain is scared, It does not want you to succeed, it wants safety.

So when you do your art, when you practice your craft, Your resistance will say things like ‘Nobody wants to read this’ ‘This idea is stupid’ ‘Check your emails’ ‘Let’s eat’ ‘Oh I need to clean my room’

No, you need to do the work.

Fighting Resistance (The daily boss battle)

If we don’t learn to master the art of overcoming resistance our quest will be over before we even leave the front door, Resistance will talk us out of leaving.

Acknowledge the resistance…

There was once a time when I asked a girl out on a date (over Instagram) it took me two hours to send the message and then I threw my phone to avoid looking at the response.

Why – Well the fear of being rejected is a form of resistance, we don’t like being rejected so we talk ourselves out of stuff that puts us in positions of being rejected.

If I had looked at the response straight away whether or not the date was accepted or rejected it would have been less painful then listening to the resistance stories and avoiding my phone for hours.

If I had acknowledged the resistance ‘No you won’t die if you read that message it’s just resistance’ and then read the message, I could have saved myself hours and done something useful, instead of procasting.

Acknowledging resistance lessens its effect, 

Say it out loud though. ‘No I don’t need to check my emails this is just resistance’

‘No I don’t need to clean my desk, It’s just my resistance avoiding the work’

You get the point. Do the work…

I opened the chapter with this quote –

“The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome.”

The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work – You’ve heard people say ‘I need to get motivated to go to the gym again’ you’ve probably said it yourself.

You can replace the word gym with anything you want, but the point is you don’t need the motivation to go to the gym, to tell your boss about your new idea or implement that idea yourself.

No, you need to go to the gym. You need to do the work.

If you don’t start, go, turn up – you will make excuses because of fear. This is what Steven Pressfield is talking about The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work.

You will never overcome your fear.

So do the work, that is how you level up. Acknowledge the resistance (fear) and then do the work. Don’t wait till you get struck by lightning and gain superhuman powers because you never will.

I write a daily post and publish it daily, I do the work and then I publish the work, it’s out there to be criticised but it’s out there because I overcame resistance our reading this because I overcame resistance.

Turn pro by turning up. Daily.

Overcome resistance by Starting your day off badly. Get stronger by starting your day off badly.

We’re on a quest, there are dangers ahead and the resistance knows this, it’s scared so it will do anything to stop us and protect us. But this won’t make us stronger, this will not prepare us for the harsh winters or the stormy seas.

We need to start our day off badly.

In letter 18 – Festivals and Fasting Seneca writes –

“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?”

he’s talking about strengthening the mind and preparing it for hard times but in practising hardship, you realise it’s not that bad that you can bare this

A soldier does not wait for a war to prepare for war, you will not wait for hard times to deal with them.

A cold shower in the morning you can prepare the mind for hard times that will come, at the same time overcome resistance, Listen to the excuses, the resistance pipe up and acknowledge it, Then turn that nozzle all the way to cold, every day, then you will realise how far fetched the excuses are in your head.

Overcome resistance – Do the work

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