Steven Pressfield On Understanding Resistance

I know what I am supposed to do. I also know what I should not do. It’s as clear as black or white and yet, there is a struggle in my choice to do the right thing. Why is that?

According to Steven Pressfield, in The War of Art, that struggle comes from the resistance that lies inside of you. As Steven Pressfield puts it:

It’s not writing that’s the hard part. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

Resistance can come in many forms. A simple way of understanding when resistance might show its ugly little head is:

Any act that rejects immediate gratification for long term growth, health or integrity.

What makes resistance a hard enemy is that it is self-generated. It comes from within. Also, it can never really be beaten. It can only be overcome for that day and then, the next day it is another battle with that inside voice.

However, resistance can be good if you look at it from the right perspective.

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.

In this manner, you can gauge the authenticity of your action if you feel this need to not do it. To delay the action. To do what is opposite and to take the easy path. All of this can bring clarity to your mind for you know that you are on the right path when there is a great deal of Resistance in you. In this manner, you can be thankful for this thing that is inside you.

Resistance has many faces. It can show itself as procrastination, self-victimhood, feel of unhappiness, self-doubt, fear, poor rationalization, and many other forms. All of it have one thing in common: They all stop you from doing what you know you should do. They stop the growth of your character by making you cave into immediate gratification.

So, why is it important to know all of this? To know what Resistance is? Because without understanding one can be manipulated. If you do not know who the enemy is and cannot see the signs of the enemy then how can you expect to win? To be free?

The truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.

Resistance can be that master. It can run your life and ruin it. This might not be in the usual sense, for you can still live a good life with Resistance but you will never be able to live the life you wish to live if your actions are dictated by Resistance. So, in this sense, ones life being ruined does not come from financial bankruptcy or poor relationships and things of that nature but rather, this understanding in you that you caved in to the struggle and hardship that comes with aiming at the highest possible life for yourself and the understanding that you chose to settle for the low instead of striving towards that highest life.

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