Capital "R" Resistance
The idea comes from Steven Pressfield's book, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles .
At times you will feel resistance coming from those closest to you. To answer a calling is to change yourself, and people become fearful that if you change, they may lose the person they love.
The more scared we are to pursue a calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
What is Resistance?
Resistance is the opposite of "The muse." The Muse is a personification of the creative energy within people. Resistance is the opposite, a destructive force that lives within everyone.
Freud called it the Death Wish: — that destructive force inside human nature that rises whenever we consider a tough, long-term course of action that might do for us or others something that's actually good.
Resistance is the trade off of pursuing creative works. All creators volunteer to go through hell. There is no overcoming it. Every day we have to wake up and fight the dragon again.
But Resistance has no power in and of itself. Its only power is in our fear of it.
When you create, you receive uncomfortable feedback about the gap that exists between what you intended to do, and what you did. Resistance is the feeling of the gap between vision and execution. That gap always will, and should, exist.
Another way of thinking about it is that Resistance is the distance between the life we live and the unlived life we could.
Examples of projects that elicit Resistance:
- Any creative work
- Any entrepreneurial work
- Diet and health regimens.
- Any work of personal or spiritual advancement.
- Overcoming addiction
- Any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth.
Characteristics of Resistance
- never sleeps
- plays for keeps
- is fueled by fear
- recruits others
- is most powerful at the finish line.
- including but not limited to sex, shopping, TV, gossip, alcohol, fat, sugar, and salt.
- criticizing others
- when we see others living their true lives it drives us crazy we aren't living ours.
- fear of failure
- fear of success
- not doing the work because it's not "the right thing."
- fantasizing about success
- most artist's don't dream of making great art, they dream of having made great art.
- believing you must complete something else before you can begin your work.
- by definition, whatever you have right now is all you need to do your best work.
- taking yourself so seriously that it paralyzes you.
- discipline. Show up and do the work every day.
- ask for help.
- constant self-revision and self-correction
- don't take criticism personally.
- see also The Amateur and the Professional.
"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard
"The poem in the head is always perfect. Resistance begins when you try to convert it into language." -- Stanley Kunitz
"Artists don’t get down to work until the pain of working is exceeded by the pain of not working." — Stephen DeStaebler