I recently reread Stephen Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, and the discussions that he has on the concept he calls resistance. In my first reading of this book a few years back, it did strike a chord with me, and I thought it was very interesting, but I came away with it thinking that resistance is a negative thing and it’s something that I need to fight.
And this fight against resistance, for me at least, has not been the healthiest battle. And now, I realize that resistance is actually something that can be positive in life. You just have to take it as a contrarian signal and listen to it. things that you have the most resistance to and usually the most important things that you should be doing.
So actually, it’s very, very simple.
You just write down a list of things that you don’t want to do and then you absolutely prioritize them.
I always kick myself when I spend weeks, sometimes months, procrastinating on things, and then when I force myself to sit down and do them, maybe they take 20 or 30 minutes, even though I’ve blocked out a whole one hour or two hours to do it, and it’s done in a fraction of a time.
So clearly, it wasn’t difficult to do, there was just some kind of mental block, some resistance that I couldn’t overcome. But had I overcome it, the relief would have been instantaneous. and even as I speak now. going to say right now is plenty of things on my to-do list that I’ve been putting off for potentially weeks and I know that resistance is at play here.
But now I also realize that these are essential things I need to get to. So this is a different way to look at resistance. Instead of looking at this negative thing, we can reframe the whole situation and look at it as a wonderful tool that tells us precisely what we should be focusing on at any time in our lives.
The things that we don’t want to do usually are the things that are most important to do.