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#27 Love and the war of art

Our minds seed our reality and our emotions amplify how we perceive it.

Resistance is the negative energy that stands between a person and his or her dreams. –Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

There’s a cracking open that’s happening in our society for those that want to continue their self development and further their curiosity in life. It’s been a tipping point for a while, where the question hangs in the air, what matters most to us? What do we truly want? And what is preventing us from getting there?

Resistance is a common feeling that arises when we’re getting close to our goals. We know there is a project we want to undertake or finish up, yet “things” seem to pull our attention away from it.

It’s easy to justify some obligations that force our attention elsewhere, but over time if we haven’t set out to do the things that matter most to us, we feel even worse than before about ourselves.

In Steven Pressfields’ book, The War of Art, he goes into the several core concepts that help professional creatives push through feelings of resistance and to keep creating work. Whether you are a professional creative or not, there’s something for everyone to learn in breaking through resistance.

Why does resistance occur with the things we love the most?

When there’s growth within the self that needs to happen, we might be resistant to change, we might fear the unknown, or fear of losing control and even worse failing. Internal conflict can start to bubble up when we know we need to push out of our comfort zone for us to progress forward.

It sounds counter-intuitive that the same things we love to think about doing and could bring us so much joy are also the same things we actively block ourselves from.

Think of the things you wish you had time to pursue. What is causing you to not do them? There may be valid reasons that might seem like they’re preventing you from starting. But there are just as many ways to actually make it happen.

What is resistance trying to tell us?

There is something deeper we need to examine. What is the root cause of the resistance? What do we need to address to break down the block and towards creating what we love in our lives? If we understand that fear could be the cause, how can we look at ways to combat fear by listening to what our bodies are telling us? Can we shift our mindset to see fear of change as a way to keep safe that isn’t actually necessary?

Resistance, procrastination, avoidance and a dismissive refusal to do things is a power move from our ego to hold us back from revealing darker emotions that block us from growth and progression.

Lack of self-worth and self-value have been personal themes I’ve noticed when resistance pays me a visit. It’s a hard truth to acknowledge because there are levels of self-worth.

When we want to step into new territory without having much information or knowledge, it’s easy to wobble while trying to pass through a new threshold.

How to overcome feelings of resistance?

First, it’s important to understand that resistance is a blessing in disguise. It’s a way that our body is communicating with us to help us move through stale emotions and shift our energy. The goal isn’t to trick ourselves and deny the feelings of resistance. It’s a tool to highlight the areas within that need attention.

Here are 5 Steps to leverage resistance into action.

1. Deepening our reasons.

It’s always important to check in and understand why we want to do something at its core. Remembering the “why” to any project or goal strengthens our connection with it. It reminds us of the importance it holds and allows our ego to take a seat.

2. Facing our doubts.

Our doubts and fear tries to keep us safe, but in reality it’s holding us back. If we break down the micro elements of our fear, we can start to find solutions to move past them. Fear of being seen or any fears of what people will think of us can melt away if we hold on to that deeper meaning of why we want it in the first place.

3. Separating oneself from the work.

What we do in this world is a reflection of us, but it’s only a small reflection. We are complex creatures with many facets that need to be developed. Self-identity is bigger than the title we carry or the status we’re trying to attain.

4. Have a flexible outlook.

Fear is only one way to look at a situation. It can have a very strong hold on how we look at a situation, but it’s not the only way to look at things. Beneath the fear could be the answer needed to dissipate and melt the emotions away.

5. Be determined to finish.

Dedication and discipline are the two principles that bring ideas into the world. Some days will be good and some days won’t. But we continue through the process and learn how to ease through discomfort and get to the other side.

Resistance is another way of telling us what we’re about to step into means a lot to us and if we don’t do it in a way we perceive to be “correct” we assume we’ll crumble. We won’t.

All of the most successful people and companies I’ve been around push the idea to “Fail Fast”. Learn where the gaps are, iterate and do it again. Repeat until it’s running successfully.


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