The resistance is our internal inertia that keeps us from achieving our goals, dreams and all the good things we strive for. The resistance is what stops us from doing the things we need to do that we know are good for us. It is what makes us hit the snooze button when we know we have to get up to go to work. I had to overcome the resistance when I had to drive across town to go to keiko. Just the thought of sitting in my car for an hour or more, facing bad weather, traffic and stress made me want to skip it altogether and go eat ice cream.
The resistance can take many forms
- Procrastination – like the snooze button, procrastination is a big one for me. I can always put something off for 10 minutes, an hour, a day, a month or until next year.
- Distraction – facing a major presentation at work, I can always find something to distract me from working on it, like rearranging my sock drawer or vacuuming the closet.
- Confusion – Another form of my resistance takes the form of confusion. How can I move forward if I don’t understand it? If I don’t understand it, or am confused, I have to wait until I do understand what is going on or what I need to do.
- Asking questions – I have so many questions that need to be answered before I can start. What if I run into a problem? How am I supposed to proceed? What do I do if I get stuck? What is the first thing I need to do?
- Excuses, explanations, reasons – I can always come up with good excuses for not doing something. Likewise, I can always explain why I cannot do it, or why I cannot do it now. There just are so many reasons why I can’t. I just don’t have the time, money, space or bandwidth to do anything now.
- Feeling inadequate – You know, I am just not experienced enough to take this on. I need more training, education, or a mentor to help me. I couldn’t do that because I am not talented, rich or driven enough to achieve anything.
- Changing goals – I really didn’t want that, my new goal is this. When I looked at how difficult, time consuming, or how much responsibility it takes, maybe what I want to do is something else.
- Following other people’s expectations – My mother always wanted me to be a doctor so I guess that is what I want to do. My family wouldn’t put up with me going after that goal, so I will do what they want.
The antidote for resistance is persistence
One of the things I admire about Mr. Sweetpersimmon is his tenacity. He will wrestle a problem to the ground and pin it. For the past 2 years he has been building me a tea room in our spare bedroom. He did not know how to build it and had never built one before. But he has persisted in drawing up plans, and working through each obstacle as it came up, and there were many, many obstacles.
From his own skill level, to sourcing material, to making things fit, to making all kinds of mistakes, he has persisted. Almost every day for the past two years, he has worked on this project. He has rebuilt sections of walls and solved problems where there were no instructions. He researched construction methods, consulted others, figured out answers to problems, and worked and reworked to recover from mistakes. Every day, if he was not actively working on the room, he thought about how to go about moving the project forward or trying to get out of a problem if he was stuck. He persisted.
Hold the vision
There are so many reasons to quit. What can overcome the urge to give up, quit and do something else? Why do entrepreneurs invest fortunes in time and money to build a company? Why do athletes train every day, or musicians spend hours, days, years in practice? It is the vision of something better, the sense that makes all the effort worthwhile is reaching for something beyond where you are today. Holding the vision, the goal, in front of you, and keeping it bright can help you persist. It can help you move through all of the resistance.
For me, I think I need to get into the car and drive across town to go to keiko. I look forward to that sweet and bowl of tea.