We often know what we are supposed to do and what we shouldn’t. It’s easy to sit down and make a to-do list, to plan out your ideal day or week, to set goals and map out a plan of action. Yet, with all that being said, we may still lack the desire to act. Instead of following the set plan, we can find ourselves veering off the path and repeating habits we are trying to break. There is a struggle in the execution of a plan.
According to Steven Pressfield, in The War of Art, that struggle comes from the resistance that lies inside of us. As Pressfield put 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 comes in many forms and its goal is to win small battles. Resistance understands that the more you give in, the stronger it gets. So, the snooze button helps resistance gain an immediate victory. It plays into the soreness you are feeling so you think it’s a good idea to skip the workout. It’ll tell you that you are too hungry right now and that it’s best if you start your work an hour or two later, once you’ve eaten something. Knowing full well that in a couple hours, it’ll come up with another way to procrastinate. It’ll pick at that negative voice in you that tells you that you’re not good enough or that what you are doing isn’t worth the trouble.
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.
If you don’t understand resistance, you can be easily manipulated. If you don’t 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 that you settled for some worse version of yourself.
Finding the enemy is half the battle, the other half is actually beating it. One way to fight resistance is to change your perspective on it.
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. So, you can be thankful for that voice inside of you.
Another way to do combat resistance is by controlling your mind.
This is where, the former Navy Seal Commander, Jocko Willink’s advice on mind control matters. For Jocko, mind control means controlling ones own thoughts and impulses rather than that of someone else’s, as it’s traditionally understood. You can control your mind and fight resistance in a simple way: just don’t give resistance a vote.
You have control over your mind. You just have to assert it. You have to decide that you are going to be in control, that you are going to do what YOU want to do. Weakness doesn’t get a vote. Laziness doesn’t get a vote. Sadness doesn’t get a vote. Frustration doesn’t get a vote. Negativity DOESN’T GET A VOTE! Your temper doesn’t get a vote. So next time you are feeling weak or lazy or soft or emotional, tell those feelings they don’t get a vote.
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