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Fighting off the resistance

Published: 
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Reflections of the Water

Finally, words are beginning to appear on this blank sheet of paper. It appears that the tide has turned and I am now starting to win this battle. I have been embroiled in an epic struggle against a force, which until a few moments ago had proven to be stronger than me. 

Is it too far-fetched to imagine that there may be some sort a force that acts upon a seed to make it decide to sprout, or is responsible for our moments of inspiration and creative genius? 

When we are passionately inspired it feels as though we are being propelled to meet our unique destiny by a force of limitless energy. If such a creative force exists, then I am in a spiritual battle with its insidious opposite. My foe is the force that acts against us to prevent us from creating and doing that which we know is in our best interest to do. 

This dangerous force destroys our creative inspiration. It drives us to seek the easy way out, to procrastinate, or to do something else instead. I believe it to be responsible for writer’s block. I am gaining momentum now, I can feel it. Ideas are beginning to flash and the words with which to express them are starting to flow. 

The creative force within me is growing stronger as my will overpowers its opposite. Perhaps these two forces are both polar opposite extremes of the same one thing, much in the same way that hot and cold are both varying degrees of temperature, and I am now beginning to warm up. 

Whatever it is, this battle lies at the threshold between potential and kinetic energy; between regret and satisfaction. We are literally fighting this force for our lives. It stands in the way of our hopes and dreams. It’s the difference between the life we are living and the life we want to live. 

I can think of no worse feeling than the regret of inaction. That is the feeling of defeat: I hate it. I hate to lose, especially in a fight for my future. I am a warrior! 

The first step to winning this war is defining the enemy. Steven Pressfield, in his inspirational book that you should read called The War of Art names this anti-creative, anti-action force “resistance”. 

According to Pressfield “resistance can’t be seen, touched, heard or smelt, but it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field emanating from a working potential, it’s a repelling force, it is negative, its aim is to shove us away, to distract us and prevent us from doing our work.” 

Resistance would have us think that it arises externally from circumstances and events beyond our control, when in fact it arises internally, we are the source of our resistance. Resistance is really the enemy within.

In this war, rationalisation is one of resistance’s most dangerous weapons. It uses our own intellect against us. We are very good at making excuses and coming up with believable reasons to justify them. This often takes the form of procrastination. 

How often have we told ourselves “It’s going to be ok, I will still do it, just going to start tomorrow instead”. If it was not for deadlines then some of us would never beat resistance and get anything done. 

Pressfield explains that the enemy, resistance, can not be reasoned with, and that it understands nothing but power.

As we approach the attainment of our goal or completion of our task, it’s as though the resistance within us senses from our confidence that it is about to be defeated and so makes one final, desperate surprise counterattack to derail us just as we are becoming complacent. 

The very act of writing this encourages me to resist the temptation assailing me to get up and take a break, and so I stay at my post and continue to fight on. If we are not prepared and aware of the resistance at this crucial juncture we will be defeated.

I believe resistance is as real as a force as gravity. I can feel it, I know this old familiar foe well and with each battle won, I gain insight into how to better vanquish it the next time. I get out of bed ready for war and don’t stop fighting resistance for progress until I go to sleep again. 

In this war for our lives, our greatest weapon is awareness. By realising that we are beginning to be attacked and moved further away from the creative action taking end of the spectrum, the better we can be at fighting back. 

Right now, at the end of this sentence you have the opportunity to turn the tide and strike a crippling blow to this foe by ending the excuses, the procrastination, the delaying and start creating, doing and living. Attack!

Check out George in-between columns on Twitter: @georgebovell

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