We make choices every day.
What we’ll eat for breakfast. What we’re going to wear. How we’re going to spend our time.
Oddly enough, this last one is where we make the most irrational of decisions. Does this scenario sound familiar?
You’re excited about a new project or idea or endeavor and imagine in your mind how amazing it’s going to be. Maybe it’s something new or maybe it’s been marinating for a while, either way you’re ecstatic.
You’re pretty much salivating at the idea of starting it and can see the value and importance of making it a reality. Let’s say you’re daydreaming at your full-time job or on the road or during a walk, pretty much anywhere, but where that work will happen.
The minute you get to your home or office or studio, what do you do?
You would think you’d get to work on that brilliant idea ASAP. No time to waste. Nope. Instead you do something else. Anything else really. Things you hate even.
– You wash the dishes
– You do the laundry
– You clean your room
Or things that are mindless.
– You play video games for hours
– You browse social media or Imgur (my personal vice)
– You binge watch the latest show from Netflix (working on Daredevil right now)
For some reason, you make these choices repeatedly. What you don’t do, is work on that very thing that got you excited.
Later, when you crawl into bed that night, you’ll regret it. You’ll think of how you spent your day. Was watching 4 straight episodes really worth it? Did those hours browsing the internet make my life any better? Of course not.
You’ll also ask yourself this: Why didn’t I work on that project? What’s wrong with me? I’ll do better tomorrow.
This is a choice you made, but why does it happen?
recently started listening to the War of Art, after reading it years ago. First of all, it’s absolutely amazing if you need a kick in the ass. I don’t think I’ve read any other book that’s broken things down so well.
The entire premise of the book is about the Resistance. The thing that prevents you from doing the work that matters. The work that is important. Your personal form of Art.
The Resistance manifests itself in many different ways.
From fear to excuses, from procrastination to self-doubt, the Resistance is ever-present and constantly trying to keep you from doing your work.
Here are some examples of the resistance at work.
Tomorrow pretty much means never. You’re not choosing your work, you’re just making yourself feel better. Saying tomorrow is like using the excuse of time, as if it is so plentiful.
Tomorrow never comes.
If Only I Didn’t…
Have you ever done this? You have to go to a family event or anywhere that you really don’t want to go to, but can’t get out of. You tell yourself, If I didn’t have to go to this thing, I would be working my ass off on this, that, or the other. Too bad I have no choice.
I’ve noticed myself doing this far more then I’d like to admit. In reality, the Resistance is just telling us this lovely story to make us not feel bad about doing our work. To make us think it’s alright to not work because it’s inconvenient.
After I finish…
Maybe you have every intention to do that project, but you’re sooooo busy. As soon as you finish x, y, and z, you’ll put all your effort into this idea.
Guess what, that’s just another lie. First of all busy is a complete lie, but moreover, there is never a perfect time to start anything. You’re always going to have other things going on, but if you know this thing is important, you literally have to make the time for it. Busy is not an option.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.Richard Feynman
ave you encountered the Resistance? Is there some idea nagging at you, but you just can’t seem to commit to it?
Well, there’s good and bad news. The good news is that the presence of the resistance means that the thing you aren’t working on is worth it.
It’s probably the most important thing you can be doing right now. It’s going to do more for you than anything else could.
Why? Because the Resistance is like a compass. If it’s working so hard to stop you from making progress on something, then you can be sure it’s important. Otherwise the resistance wouldn’t even bother.
The bad news is, you still have to overcome the Resistance. This is not easy feat, but here are a few steps you can take to get started.
1. Acknowledge the Resistance
First and foremost you have to realize that the resistance is actually there. It is ever-present, actively working against you to stop you from doing work that matters. Realizing this alone will help you see things a bit differently.
You’ll start to notice the Resistance at work, which means you’ll be better equipped to overcome it.
2. Be Consistent
Every single day is another battle in the war of your work. The only way to win is to be consistent and to realize that you have to prioritize what is important over what is urgent. Things come up in life all the time, but there should be a single thing you commit yourself to that you will accomplish everyday. Your most important task.
Whether you do the work at the start of your day or at the end, it has to be done. Every. Single. Day.
3. Embrace the Suck
What? You thought it would be easy?
Beating the resistance is no walk in the park. It’s going to suck. It’s going to make you miserable. It’s going to be the last thing you want to do on most days.
But if you realize that you’re pitting yourself up against the resistance, if you can get yourself up for the struggle everyday, you’ll notice that you actually enjoy it. At the end of day, you’ll be content with how you spent your time and not thinking of What if’s or tomorrows.
4. Practice Patience
Finally, you must be patient. Progress is slow and hard. You have to realize that you’re playing the role of the tortoise, not the hare.
Things will get there, but not over night. Anything worth doing, takes time. Understand that you have to be in it for the long haul because that is where the value will finally be found.Battling with the resistance is not easy, but realize that you’re lucky to have something in your life worth that fight.
So take it one day at a time, embrace the suck, practice patience, and make your art.