“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.”
“You may think that you’ve lost your passion, or that you can’t identify it, or that you have so much of it, it threatens to overwhelm you. None of these is true. Fear saps passion. When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion.”
― Steven Pressfield, Do the Work
Have you ever struggled to turn a brilliant idea on paper into reality? Or maybe you’ve finally mustered the courage to finally start working on that dream project, however you feel you can’t make any significant progress and feel stuck whenever you try to tackle it. If your answer is yes, then it’s important that you know that there’s a powerful invisible force working round the clock to derail your efforts and hold you back from achieving your desired outcomes. Steven Pressfield calls this antagonistic force Resistance: a very real entity that gets in the way of your meaningful endeavor from its conception all the way to its completion.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an author writing your next book, a sculptor creating a new artwork, a filmmaker working on a new documentary, an actor playing a new character, or an entrepreneur starting a new enterprise, you will encounter Resistance and its devious ploys. It will obstruct you time and again by putting barriers in your way — self-doubt, procrastination, fear, self-sabotage, diminishing confidence, lack of self-belief, and indecision — to keep you from advancing forward.
You must be wary of this sinister force as it always comes into play when you try to do something good and worthwhile: beginning a fitness challenge, launching a new startup, overcoming a debilitating addiction, starting an educational program, or raising your voice against discrimination and injustice. If you want to accomplish any of these undertakings and get on the other side, you must get rid of instant gratification and cultivate patience and persistence within you. You must prioritize long-term growth over short-term pleasures.
You have to understand that Resistance will never go away; it’ll always be there to keep you from going ahead with your plans. The only way to push through it is show up every single day and take consistent actions that help you advance forward to your mighty goal.
In addition to Resistance, anyone who tries to start something meaningful or special must wrestle with two other powerful forces: rational thought and the opinions of friends and family members. No one is immune to them. You will experience a voice in your head that’ll tell you to stop working on your dream project and put your time and energy to good use. And you will encounter opposition and well-meaning concern of loved ones questioning your work and advising you to do something sensible. If you’re not careful, the amalgamation of these three forces can stop in your tracks and malign your efforts to do something worthwhile. They can get you back in your comfort zone and pull you away from capitalizing on your gifts and doing the creative, fulfilling, and necessary work that you’re destined to do.
You must fight these evil forces and cultivate steadfastness and grit to successfully push through on your new endeavor. There are three useful techniques you can employ to move forward in your creative journey. First, you must start before you’re ready. Otherwise, you may never start at all. Overthinking and overplanning are nothing but effective disguises for Resistance and you must avoid them at all costs. If you love your idea and it feels right to you, don’t dally with overpreparation; act on it right away. Next, you must embrace the process and all the bumps in the road along the way. Obstacles and setbacks breed creativity and innovation. You can’t eliminate Resistance, so you must learn to work with it and roll with the punches to keep moving forward. Lastly, you must finish strong. Completion is the most critical part of any project. You must confront your fears and push on so that you’re able to bring your project over the finish line. If you don’t see your project through to completion, what do you have to show for all the effort you’ve put in? Just ship your work! It’ll communicate to the world that you’re a brave professional, because you finished what you started. You didn’t quit, and you didn’t back away — you delivered.
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