Steven Pressfield wrote a fine book about doing great work. In his context “great” is the same as “creative”. It might be writing, dreaming up a new product, starting a new venture,…
It’s the kind of work where we must put our egos on the line. Egos don’t like to be exposed. As soon as the cold draft of exposure looms our egos call for help. At this point we “hit the wall” as something distracts us. The ping of an incoming email, a knock at the door, a sudden urge to go to the bathroom…
Steven talks about “Resistance” as a real force which throws those distractions at us. It tries to defend our egos from the merest hint of exposure. “Resistance” is the being inside us that doesn’t want us to do new things. Just in case they do not work out.
“Resistance” is the frustration we feel during those first fifteen minutes of trying anything new. For instance, all of us played guitar as kids. “Resistance” is why most of us now have day jobs. So few of us stuck with it that we can actually name those that did. People like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and Rodriguez.
Last week I joked about falling asleep whenever I must to do work that I don’t want to do. But when it comes to creating something new I meet Resistance in his full force.
When I started doing live seminars I was scared. Who was I to tell a group of people new ways to survive business closure? That was “Resistance” rearing his head. After creating seven different seminars, presented to more than 30,000 people over a 10 year period, I began to realise that it was just part of my creative process. It happened each time I tried something new. It still does.
I now know when something big is about to happen; when my best work is about to manifest. It is when my bowels demand instant evacuation like a fox does when it hears the baying of dogs in the distance. It is an immense distraction, just what Resistance wants.
Your Resistance will manifest differently. But when it strikes, it’s worth searching a while to find that creative burst hiding coyly somewhere in back of mind.
The last thing I want on my deathbed is to count all of the things that I haven’t yet done as I remember how much time I spent sitting in the bathroom despatching those creative thoughts.
Read Steven’s book The War of Art. You will be glad you did.