Today we want to talk about the underlying cause of self-sabotage that prevents all of us from getting what we want in life.
It’s called Resistance. And it’s a real pain in the ass.
Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us.
Between the two stands Resistance.
– Steven Pressfield
Resistance comes in many forms. It can be procrastination, addiction, obsessive busyness with meaningless tasks, and a hoard of other silly things we do.
It’s a force inside of us that rears its ugly head any time we set out to improve our lives or go after our dreams.
- It’s why we eat shitty food and never work out when we really want to feel good in a bathing suit.
- It’s why we spend hours scrolling through Facebook instead of writing our novel.
- It’s saying you’re not sure you believe in marriage when deep down you want a family.
- It’s what keeps you partying every weekend when you really want to launch your own business.
There are many ways it holds us back from that life we really want to be living.
And the big problem with Resistance is that what we resist, persists.
It stinks. Because we think if we resist something, and put it off, it will just magically go away. But it doesn’t, does it? No. It just gets worse.
None of us is immune to this either. But some of us have stumbled upon a few weapons with which to defeat it. Well, at least some of the time.
So let’s talk about how to do that.
Let’s strip Resistance of its power so we can move forward toward the life of our goddamn dreams, huh? (Or at least the life of our Pinterest boards.)
How to Beat Resistance
Step #1. Tell The Truth
If we’re going to get anywhere we have to call ourselves out on our bullshit first. We have to examine where Resistance is showing up in our lives.
Where is it showing up for you?
Are you putting off giving notice at work? Are you avoiding asking that guy out? Are you convincing yourself that maybe you really don’t deserve that raise after all? Are you wasting all your time dicking around on the internet when you really want to start a blog? Are you in a relationship that needs fixing but you’re not confronting the other person?
There’s always something we’re resisting in life, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not.
The first step to beating it is to tell the truth about it.
Step #2. Identify the False Benefit
This is a very interesting step. And what’s great about it is that it makes us feel way less crazy. Whichever way you’re resisting, it’s for a reason.
The behavior you’re engaging in provides you with a reward. It works for something. It feels good.
- If you’re avoiding asking for that raise, it’s keeping your job safe.
- If you’re being an absolute glutton, you get to enjoy all of that yummy food and get drunk.
- If you never ask that guy out, you can never be rejected.
The list goes on and on.
What is the reward in your behavior? Identify it clearly. And then explore all of the ways that it’s probably bullshit.
Step #3. Find the Limiting Belief
Behind all Resistance lies a limiting belief. And limiting beliefs stem directly from fear.
Thoughts like, “I’m going to miss out.”, “That’s just not me.”, “I’m not smart enough.”, “It won’t work.”, “I don’t have what it takes.”, “Whatever, I just wanna enjoy life.”
These are all common limiting beliefs.
They stem from real fears we hold about making changes in life. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of embarrassment.
These are all hard-wired fears that have kept us safe throughout evolution, mostly having to do with being shunned by our communities (‘cause in the cave man days, if you were shunned, you were probably gonna die real soon).
But today, the things we fear are mostly unfounded. At the end of the day, they probably won’t result in our untimely death.
- You won’t die if your boss says no to a raise.
- You won’t die if the cute guy rejects you.
- You won’t die if your novel is a flop.
- You won’t die if you’re embarrassed about your weight at the gym.
Getting to the bottom of the fear is crucial for telling it to fuck off. Just continuously ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that would happen? until you get to the underlying fear of your limiting belief.
Step #4. Map out the future assuming nothing changes.
This is a lovely and terrifying next step.
I remember when I first played this game with my health coach about 8 years ago. Somehow we went from “If I don’t lose these ten pounds….” to “I’ll die alone in my mom’s basement at 70, obese and broke and having never made anything of myself or my life.”
And we got there relatively quickly.
Your future might be less dramatically terrible if you continue the way things are going but, maybe not.
The chances are, if you map out the next three months, year or ten years of your life, never beating resistance, you’re really not going to like what you see. But that will be the reality, no?
It’s time to confront it. It’s time to let the pain of staying the same become more powerful than the fear of the unknown.
Step #5. Accept, own and surrender.
This step is fun because you get to just dive in and accept it. Love it up. Be grateful for it. Surrender to the fact that you are doing this, that it kind of sucks, and that it’s happening for a reason. That reason, is probably because the discomfort of your Resistance is leading you to make meaningful changes in life. Without any discomfort, we’d never change anything.
Step #6. Create a glorious, new vision for yourself.
This step is when you get to decide what’s possible for you if you beat Resistance. What kind of results would you get in life if you told the Resistance to take a hike?
- Six pack abs?
- An abundant bank account?
- A loving, meaningful relationship?
- A sweet, fantasy novel that George R.R. Martin would be jealous of? (That’s not my dream at all or anything. I swear. I’m just using this as an example.)
Whatever it is, now is the time to dream it up and visualize what your bitchin’ new life is going to be like now that Resistance has failed to stop you.
Step #7. Trust the process.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears, the book falls from the shelf, the idea comes to you in the shower.
Now that you’ve shed the weight of Resistance from your back, you’ve opened yourself up to the energy and inspiration of the entire goddamn Universe. Don’t squander it.
Act on the inspiration. Follow the curiousity. Take the next step. Sign up for the course. Buy the book. Reach out to that old acquaintance.
Trusting the process means accepting that you are being led to the exact right next step by your own intuition.
You have the idea for a reason.
Just stop thinking. And start doing.
Now we want to hear from you. Where is Resistance popping up in your life? Leave a note in the comments below!
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Also published on Medium.