“Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North—meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing. We can use this. We can use it as a compass. We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others. 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.” —Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
I’m not going to lie, just sitting down to start writing this post was something of a struggle against the urge to do something else—anything else—so as to avoid the task of straining my mind for material. That’s rather silly, right? It’s not like this is a massive undertaking, nor an altogether unpleasant one. It doesn’t mean life or death for me, so no great risk is involved. And I promised I would be more committed to giving this attention, so the only outcome really is to either A) avoid it and feel like a worthless mush of hot brownies in a brown paper bag for doing so, or B) face it (and hopefully with some enthusiasm, breaking up the tension I feel in the approach!) and feel great about it afterward. Seems an obvious conclusion to go with B. So why DOES such an assignment have me vacuuming at 8:00PM instead of grabbing some tea and sitting down to address a promise I made to myself? Because fear = Resistance. What do I fear? Well, many people—perhaps even safe to say most people—who face resistance are afraid of failing. I absolutely get that, and this visitor haunts me as well. But weirdly, along the way, I’ve also come to realize that I fear success. That’s right, I am afraid to do GREAT THINGS. Perhaps it’s the unknown, that lack of control I would be throwing myself into should things take off as a whirlwind of awesome chaos. Maybe it’s simply that I’ve had to work on believing in myself enough. Odds are it’s a combination of these things and others.
Now, this blog entry (or the blog entirely, for that matter) isn’t necessary for me to succeed as an artist, writer, designer, etc. But it is a token of my resilience and determination to fight Resistance. If I slack in something so minor, how will I rise to the great heights necessary for achieving those goals that are most dear to my being? If I practice leniency and distraction in one area, I am certainly more likely to do the same in others. Especially that which is most crucial to my soul’s evolution, because it takes more energy, risk, courage, focus, and faith in self.
I know I am not alone in this struggle, and offer up to anyone who is interested the encouragement to read Pressfield’s book cover-to-cover. For me it has been a great reminder that this is not an isolated feeling, it is very much human, and it can be overcome. And yes, he does provide methods for overcoming the Resistance monster. For those not desiring to take up the book, what I can vouch for without hesitation as 100% always producing results—the way I have manifested my opportunities, successes, positive life encounters—has been to turn myself on, believe in my abilities without even a nod in the direction of doubt, and open my mind, heart, and soul to an energy that is boundless and working within and mingling with other universal energies. Most importantly, I believe the universe wants me to succeed, and suddenly I find everyday occurrences and encounters to indeed be harmonizing with this belief. It’s mind blowing! This may sound super hokey to some of you…and for that, I’m sorry it is so, as there is a lot to miss if you’re not willing to even feel this possibility…but for those who get it and know the incredible power and connectedness you feel in this state of being, you also likely are familiar with how quickly it can be extinguished. In her book The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, Mel Robbins explains that your brain is neurologically wired to switch focus within seconds of a thought being introduced. That means that you could have a grand idea pop into your mind, and watch it fade into the mists of countless others not pursued because you pondered it for too long and debated against instead of taking action. We do this daily, over and over. This is a deep and engrained practice, it’s no wonder it’s a hard pattern to break! Hence the 5 second rule: an idea comes to mind, or you know there is a task you’re facing that your mind wants to talk you out of (aka, RESISTANCE intervenes), so you count down the 5, and at the end of that 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, you TAKE ACTION. No excuses. It’s really quite liberating, as it leaves no room for your mind to accept disruptions. And as you maintain a cycle of action, you stay tuned into your energy and the energies around you, attracting both what you need to create the life you envision for yourself, as well as the people to share in the journey.
“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.’” —W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
So if you’ve managed to get this far (or you’re one who is more inclined to skim or even jump to the very end for a conclusion…;)), here is this entry in summation:
Fear creates Resistance, Resistance is overcome by Action, Commitment to Action keeps Resistance at bay, and the more we Practice Commitment to Action, the more aligned we are with our soul’s evolution and the higher we climb to the pinnacle fulfillment of our soul’s purpose.
Whatever you do, don’t let your mind talk you out of giving something a good and honest attempt. Just…jump in. You’ll feel better for having done so. I sure do. :)