The title of this post I took straight from Steven Pressfield's book, "The War of Art." (I swear that I read more than two authors!) In fact, a lot of this post I deconstructed from both Pressfield and Altucher, rearranged them, put them back together, just to demonstrate what a shitty couple of weeks I've had and how Resistance will keep us from The Unlived Life. Your Unlived Life. My Unlived Life.
The more I perform The Daily Practice, the more difficult the "Daily" part of it becomes. That's Resistance. Part of this practice is writing down ten ideas a day. About anything. It doesn't matter. It's to get your "idea muscle" working. I was humming along pretty well, and just as Altucher predicted, a couple of my ideas had idea sex. No, I take that back. It was an idea orgy. What came out of it was a bastard of an Idea Child that I am going to raise, healthy and strong, no matter what.
Enter Resistance, stage left.
As the nurse invited me in to see my newborn Idea Baby, I look into the waiting room, and there's Resistance. I didn't think much about it at the time but make no mistake: Resistance is omnipresent. Pressfield says:
[Resistance] kicks in when we seek to pursue a calling in the arts, launch an innovative enterprise, or evolve to a higher station morally, ethically, or spiritually. So if you're in Calcutta working with the Mother Teresa Foundation and you're thinking of bolting to launch a career in telemarketing, relax. Resistance will give you a free pass.
Clutching my Idea Baby to my chest, knowing that life for it was about to become very difficult, I did not look into the eyes of a loved one. When my Idea Baby was born, no one I loved was around. There was me. There was Resistance.
Resistance knows you better than your own Mother and Father. It knows your soul deeper than your soul mate. If there's a God waiting for us, I'm telling you, Resistance will be the one that slays you and sends you to Judgment Day. Resistance has crushed me and kicked my ass over and over again. For me, Resistance starts by making me paranoid. My mind is racing. I'm scared. I'm filled with fear. "What if this is all a dream," I say to myself. What if, after clutching this Idea close to my chest, I lay this infant of an Idea back on its bed to find that it's full of diseases and problems and issues, the work of raising it being more difficult than I can handle? On and on it goes. I'm scared. I'm full of fear. So many times... I've abandoned my baby. To quote Pressfield once more:
Are you paralyzed with fear? That's a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. ... the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance.
What does that tell me? At the very moment of birth, my mind is telling me every single fucking reason why it's not going to work. My biggest source of strength told me MTV already tried that. Instead of lighting a cigar when I come out of the waiting room, Resistance punches me in the stomach with self-doubt, procrastination, self-medication, and reminds me that not only am I not good enough to raise this Idea Baby, but I'm going to be criticized all along the way because I'm doing it wrong. Or I shouldn't even have thought of bringing this child into the world to begin with.
I blink for a moment and the next thing I know, I'm home with my Idea Baby. I brought this newborn home days ago, but I've done nothing with it. Who is sitting next to me, gently holding my hand, stroking the head of my Idea Baby? You've got it: Resistance.
One more time:
So if you're paralyzed with fear, it's a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.
This morning, I got up, and I did my work. I beat Resistance. Even now, however, I see it in the corner, bruised with broken ribs, wiping the blood from its mouth. Resistance, with its insidious eyes, looks at me, and I know that tomorrow it will be there, twice as strong, and twice as cunning. But as of this moment, I am victorious.
There's no time to celebrate. Knowing Resistance is already bandaging itself up, I must continue on. After all, there's a child - an Idea Baby - that needs me...