Is there anything on your to-do list right now that you find yourself skipping over and over again?
Have you ever made it 90% through a project and stalled out right before it’s done?
Have you ever looked at the clock, realized it was time to get ready to leave for an event, and secretly wished that it would be canceled?
Have you ever been too tired to go to bed?
Welcome to every human’s nemesis – resistance.
Every result we want requires us to jump over hurdles – usually a bunch of them. And there’s always a voice in our head trying to convince us that the energy we have at our disposal isn’t enough to get us over all of them.
The best inventors build things that reduce the number of hurdles between us and where we want to go, and that’s amazing, but no amount of progress is going to get rid of them all.
And we shouldn’t want it to, because pressing against resistance is what builds strength.
So how do we keep from walking off the track in the middle of a race?
A good start: acknowledge the resistance and verbalize what it’s telling you.
“I’m not moving this project forward because I’m not sure what to do next and my brain is moving me towards things that are clearer.”
“I’m procrastinating because I am afraid that if I post this, I’ll get rejected.”
“I’m cleaning out my inbox instead of doing strategic planning because I’ve decided that I’m not good at strategic planning, and it will be hard.”
Once you know why your brain is trying to protect you, you can decide whether or not to listen to it.
You can clarify what’s unclear. Make decisions where you need to. Process your fear. Question your assumptions.
If you’re reading this, you probably don’t have a boss. Bosses are often great about forcing you to do things you don’t want to do. Now, without a boss, you’ll need to sharpen the skill of pushing through resistance on your own.
What’s one thing you’re procrastinating about? How can you acknowledge and dismantle the resistance behind it?
“Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.” – Steven Pressfield, “War of Art”