In Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, Pressfield talks about a creative person’s arch nemesis: the resistance.
Allow me first to describe to you a creative person. This doesn’t apply exclusively to the traditionally creative, although they are included. No fedoras or recreational drugs or cluttered art studios required, for this to apply to you. Look at the root of the word “creative”—create. Anyone who is trying to create something exceptional in their life—be it building a rich marriage that inspires those around you, writing a rock opera, starting a sweet roll bakery or inventing the world’s greatest board game—falls into this category, and will become a target of the resistance.
The only way you’re safe from the resistance is if you remain safely insulated from risk, from trying to change your life in any positive way, from undertaking the discomfort of growth and striving for excellence. If you care nothing for legacy or contribution, you’re safe. Read no further.
If you’re pursing a rich life, however, attempting to discover the full potential of excellence that you possess, then you are absolutely not safe.
Expect the resistance. Watch for it—it will come.
The resistance is that voice that cleverly distracts you from beginning chapter one of the book you know you need to write.
The resistance convinces you that you don’t know enough yet to start your business. It tells you your spouse is being selfish, that your differences are too great to overcome.
The resistance knows that if you accomplish your goals, your life will change. The resistance fears that change, it fears responsibility and growth, it fears success as much as it fears failure.
The resistance is clever. It brings before you very valid concerns, it disguises fear as reason, it fights off ambition with rationality. It reminds you, just before you begin to brainstorm a business name, that you forgot to pay a bill or that you meant to call your mother back. Anything to distract you from the task at hand.
Expect it, recognize it, see it for what it is, stand up under it, push back against it, recognize that every great person has stories of facing brutal resistance, pressing on, and eventually breaking through.
It is precisely this ability to push through the resistance, to keep on keeping on, to commit to your vision in the depths of your being, so much so that the resistance can use nothing against you, because you simply cannot be separated from your vision.
You will face the resistance. How will you respond?
Go-To Resource: This is an easy read that packs a punch. It forces you to cut the BS and admit to yourself that you’re just as afraid of success as you are of failure. The War of Art applies to anyone with an ambition of any kind. Taking risks, challenging what you’ve accepted for your life, attempting to change your life–these are difficult things. Pressfield is here to help.