Resistance and the snooze button
Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. -Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Finished The War of Art today, and I would highly recommend it. As previously mentioned, Pressfield begins the book by defining “Resistance” and describing the different ways in which Resistance manifests itself. Here are a few headings that were particularly thought provoking for me:
- Resistance is insidious: Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole…It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you.
- Resistance is most powerful at the finish line: The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got.
- Resistance and procrastination: Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”
- Resistance and self-doubt: Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are.
- Resistance and love: Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too. If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.
- Resistance and rationalization: Rationalization is Resistance’s spin doctor. It’s Resistance’s way of hiding the Big Stick behind its back. Instead of showing us our fear (which might shame us and impel us to do our work), Resistance presents us with a series of plausible, rational justifications for why we shouldn’t do our work.
My take on Resistance:
Resistance never sleeps yet keeps watch as you do, lurking in the shadows in eager anticipation, waiting to strike when you are most vulnerable. The moment your alarm goes off, Resistance has already thrown the first punch before you’re even fully conscious of its presence. The snooze button is Resistance’s best friend. Resistance is the feeling of warm blankets and a soft pillow under your head. It is the voice that tells you “You don’t actually need to go for a run this morning. It’s far too cold outside anyways, stay right where you are.” Resistance gains power with every 10 minute snooze you succumb to. It conjures up persuasive rationals to keep you in bed until the very last possible moment: “You’re sick, you need rest.” “There is no sun, it isn’t really time to wake up if there is no sun” (good luck Seattle). “You don’t really need to shower, how many people do you even interact with at work?” Resistance revels in victory when you realize you not only have failed to go for your morning run, but now you are late for work and still smelly. It can’t wait to play this same game with you again tomorrow morning.
Resistance reared it’s ugly head at me this morning. The key to beating Resistance: don’t believe its lies and don’t reach for the snooze button. Get out of bed. Run (literally).
Resistance: 1 Kristina: 1
I’ll admit it, Resistance nearly took hold of my morning and I fell powerless to 3 snooze cycles. Yet at 6:09am, just before my alarm would go off again, my heart started racing and I knew I needed to kick Resistance in the face. That, is motivation. Resistance hates motivation. Upon accepting that it will never be light before 8am again until Spring time, that using a cold as an excuse not to run will stop you from running for weeks when the cold lasts longer than anticipated, and that snoozing for 30 more minutes will only evoke feelings of defeat, motivation is given a chance to prevail. Don’t let Resistance win.