6 Tactics to Overcome The Force That Stops Others In Their Tracks
In 3 days, many of us will try to change overnight. To either start new habits or try to let go of patterns that hurt us. To move an inch (or a mile) closer to our ideal self.
Many of us will be trying to change. And we will all face this force.
This article is 20% warning and 80% playbook on how to overcome it.
Let’s start with one of the few universal truths:
Facing the Resistance
You will always face Resistance. No matter how talented, how driven, or how successful you are, Resistance always lingers. The more important the work, the stronger the Resistance.
Resistance is responsible for tremendous anguish and upset in our world. Its presence signals that what you are pursuing is worthwhile. But you don’t have to let it win.
The Chief Fighter of Resistance, Steven Pressfield, identified Resistance in The War of Art:
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.
and put succinctly:
Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.
There’s your warning. Let’s talk about how to destroy it.
Tactic #1: Act Immediately
If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. ~Mel Robbins
Most of us know exactly what it is we are seeking to accomplish. We are able to articulate our goals (or what we would like to achieve) and could write it down on paper if asked to.
Most of us know who we are and are in tune with the ways we want to change. Self-awareness is not the bottleneck.
Action is the bottleneck. Action (or a lack thereof) is what holds us back from immediately pursuing what is most meaningful to us.
The solution is to immediately act on your instincts to crush your goals. The minute that inspiration arises, act. The minute you brainstorm a new way to tackle a project, act on it. The minute the idea strikes, act.
Cultivating a bias for action separates those who destroy Resistance from those destroyed by it.
Resistance is strong but it is cumbersome. It cannot move as quickly as you can. If you give it enough time, it will force you to over-analyze and over-think. But it cannot keep up with the 5-second window. So act immediately.
Tactic #2: Remember Why
Knowing why answers many of life’s great questions.
We are inundated with the what and even the how, but all of this falls away when you have answered the question of why.
The same phenomenon is found with Resistance.
If you are attuned to your why, the Resistance loses its power. It cannot drive you to over-think and grow paralyzed. If you are attuned to the why, then you have the framework necessary to determine the how and the what.
What is a why?
By WHY I mean your purpose, cause, or belief — WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? ~Simon Sinek
Resistance feeds on insecurity and uncertainty. Knowing why answers these questions and creates a wall of defense against the Resistance’s advances.
Tactic #3: Scream & Shout
I don’t have a quote for this one, or much in the way of scientific literature. Yet the anecdotal evidence is abundant.
A well-executed scream at the top of your lungs is primal. It primes you to hunt and kill. It will force your energy levels to skyrocket.
Screaming and shouting allow us to release the inner tensions that bind us. We release the baggage we accumulate over days and months. We release the negative energy that Resistance feeds on.
An example of this energetic release is done by Elliot Hulse here. You will look absolutely insane if you commit to screaming and shouting and kicking at the top of your lungs. Best to do it in private.
Most importantly, it will work.
Soldiers are constantly depicted in movies as screaming as they run onto the battlefield to wage war. The act of screaming channels our energy towards action, and primes us to crush whatever is in our way.
Resistance is your enemy. Use whatever tactics are necessary to prepare yourself to destroy it.
Tactic #4: Recruit Teammates
All of us, at certain moments of our lives, need to take advice and to receive help from other people. ~Alexis Carrel
The benefits of working alongside teammates are abundant. Teammates provide encouragement, accountability, and support.
Many of the most successful creatives leaned on similarly-minded teammates to encourage them and push them towards greatness.
Hemingway and Fitzgerald would share literature in the same Parisian cafés.
Benjamin Franklin frequently hosted his Junto to bring like-minded men together.
And in the present day, thousands of people flock to mastermind groups and themed conferences to share ideas and discover what is possible.
Teammates are vital because the unfortunate reality is that the Resistance can be crushing if always fought alone. It has devilish ways and can turn our best qualities against us. Even the best Resistance fighters have off days.
The beauty of a teammate is that they do not feel your Resistance. They can relate to the burden, but they view you without the tinted lens that you view yourself.
99 times out of 100, you are capable of stopping Resistance in its tracks.
A teammate provides the final support and push needed to forever keep Resistance in its place.
Tactic #5: Burn the Words
Negativity is the enemy of creativity. ~David Lynch
Within us is a near-infinite source of creative energy.
Every experience in our lives provides us with another moment to draw inspiration from. If I challenged you to, you could generate a new idea every minute for the rest of your life. If we are in the correct state, our creativity is abundant.
What holds us back is negativity. Negativity is the brain-child of Resistance. Resistance will embed fears and doubts into us, hindering our creative process and turning ourselves into our worst critics.
Some of us hear this negativity as a voice inside our heads.
If you also hear this negative voice, then try the “ Write & Burn “ tactic:
The next time you hear the voice, grab a blank piece of paper and write down all that it says. Write down the fears, the insecurities, the insults, the profanities, the lies.
Cover the page in this negativity and remove it from yourself. Allow the negativity to flow directly through to your pen and lay it all out on the paper.
Then grab a lighter, head outside, and burn that paper to a crisp.
Doing this both releases the negative energy from your mind, and reconfirms that you have complete domain over Resistance.
And the next time Resistance tries to infiltrate you with negativity, you can remember back to the moment you set that negativity aflame.
Tactic #6: Do It Anyway
Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.
This is the most powerful tactic of them all.
Staring Resistance in the face, feeling its wrath, and creating in spite of it.
Pressfield touches on this when he writes:
The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome.
Like a matador with a red cape, your creative efforts will forever be enticing Resistance to come charging at you with a vengeance. This means your efforts are worthwhile.
The hallmark of a professional is she/he who creates not when the inspiration strikes, but creates every day, on a schedule, whether they feel like it or not.
There is incredible power in creating even when the odds are stacked against you. Even when Resistance lingers like a 20-foot mammoth staring down your meager self with a pen or paintbrush in hand.
You don’t have to be confident. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to do it.
The Resistance is a Reminder
There’s a reason that The War of Art is beloved by creators. It speaks to the struggle universally endured by anyone with a dream to produce something worthwhile.
Armed with this toolkit, you can have Resistance bend to your whims. But never forget that Resistance’s presence signals that what you’re doing is worthwhile in the first place:
Rule of Thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
If you are a creator or wish to be a teammate, share this with your fellow creatives. Never let the Resistance win.
Originally published at https://kyletymo.substack.com.