In Steven Pressfield's legendary work, "The War of Art," he introduced the concept of "The Resistance." As simply defined as possible, The Resistance is self-sabotage, that inner voice that tells you all the reasons why you shouldn't. The Resistance is the part in all of our minds that hates change. We fool ourselves, by living in a technological global society into thinking that we've evolved. We forget we live with a brain that predates the world we live in by thousands of years. Our brains weren't designed for our comfortable modern lifestyle. Our brains were designed to survive and procreate. While you know that a decision will change your life for the better, you fear making the decision because your brain can't stand the idea of your circumstances changing. Your brain doesn't care if you're happy, fulfilled and creative, it cares if what you're doing hasn't killed you yet. If you're reading this blog, you've made choices that have kept you alive this long. Unless you're a ghost with internet access. If you're the latter, please email me - I have questions.
Changing the behavioral patterns your brain has come to accept as your life forces your brain to face the unknown. To your primal brain, that may as well be a death threat. This is why your brain will fight you every step of the way even as you change for the better. Don't let the term "art" throw you off about this war. The Resistance battles all forms of change, creativity, accomplishment and enlightenment.
I'm not here to explain Pressfield's whole book to you, though I'd like to. You should read it, even if you don't consider what you do with your time "art." What I intend to share today is my recent experience with The Resistance and the reminder it gave me. I face each new day with The Resistance on my mind and have several daily practices (see previous post) in place to keep me out in front of it. Being alert to your enemy's presence doesn't prevent attack it turns out.
The Resistance came for me hard this weekend. I knew instantly it's presence, yet I lost the battle for two full days of junk food (drugs), TV (drugs), drugs (drugs) and work scheduled too tightly (drugs). I gave in Saturday and despite having no intention to veer off course on Sunday, The Superbowl was a wonderful distraction. Even on this Monday as I write, everything in me says "STOP!" It feels as though there are brake pads grinding against my joints, attempting to halt all forward momentum. But to digress for a third day is absolutely out of the question. This is the reminder the weekend's defeat illustrates - one day is a slip up, two days is a problem, three days becomes a lifestyle.
Whatever your pursuit, falling off the wagon happens. You must be skilled in hopping back on. Sometimes you give yourself a day. Sometimes things get ugly for two. Never let that third day happen. New Year's resolutions die on that third day (approximately January 18th). Lifelong habits start on that third day. In my story, there came a third day when I stopped booking shows for my last band, now six years later I use my brand new band The Belief Cycle to fight The Resistance. Day after day, until the end of my time. Good luck in your fight, hope this helps.