Ever notice how just when you are ready to start working on that important creative project that’s due in a few weeks, you suddenly have the urge to clean your desk, or you decide it’s time to pay the bills, or you realize it’s the perfect moment to start episode one of that great show everyone’s talking about (which then inevitably turns into a binge-watching marathon)?
It’s almost as if there’s some great cosmic force working against you, no? In a way, there is. Steven Pressfield dubs this force “the Resistance” and calls it out as the chief opponent of creative productivity. He writes, “As powerful as is our soul’s call, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it. We’re not alone if we’ve been mowed down by Resistance; millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us.” On his first efforts at writing, he said, “I knew I wanted to write novels, but I could not finish what I started. The closer I got, the more ways I’d find to screw it up.”
So how do we begin to countermand the Resistance? The first step is to notice it when we experience it. Simply calling it out for what it is helps build a bulwark against it. Notice how you feel as you sit down to write, to design, to think. What is pressing against you?
Then, commit to resist the Resistance when you feel it. Push back against it, and it usually yields. Make just a little progress, and you will find more progress on its heels.
Be mindful of the forces that want to keep your creativity at bay.
When do you most experience the Resistance?