The Struggle

“Resistance is futile.” –The Borg

That’s what they want you to believe, don’t they? Just shut up, sit down and be assimilated. And no, I’m not talking about the Borg. Have you ever felt that way? I do, most days actually. Every stinking thing I think I want (or need) to do has numerous forces arrayed against that very idea. Standby if you actually begin acting upon it too.

Maybe it has to do with something my 10 year old was telling me about, it went “…every object at rest wants to stay at rest…” I admit, I can sympathize, empathize and generally concur with that fundamental law. Often.

Yet, we rest every night. We take breaks. What exactly is it that gets us moving again? Better yet, what keeps us moving, (towards a goal for example) when we start facing these obstacles in our way?

It’s something deep down, for me anyways, that sometimes shows up as boredom, sometimes fear, and sometimes a genuine excitement and wonder of the process. (By the way, this is not some scientific, psychological treatise of the nature of resistance, but instead a practicing observer’s introspective view).

That drive, that incredible drive the gets me moving in the first place, that tells me that status quo is not OK, is what I’ve come to call “dissatisfaction”. For me that dissatisfaction comes quite naturally: the DrD4 “wandering” gene allele to be exact. You see, I have a simple genetic twist that makes me think that the grass is always greener on other side of the fence (or world), and so I wander. A lot.

The point is that we all have some drive in this life. The real question is what is it that drives you? Why do you lift weights? Eat Oreos? Start businesses? Be careful, you and I can’t blush quickly over such a question. It’s why my business partner sees so many people as a psychotherapist. Drive is always there; the fuel for the drive is what makes people so different. But alas, the deep-dive of drive is for another article. This one is about resistance, which once you think about it, is the “anti-drive” force acting upon you. Now things get interesting!

Resistance is everywhere, when we get out of bed, when we breathe, exercise is based upon resistance, and how about when you ask your teenager to clean his room? Have you ever tried to start a daily practice like meditating every day? How about staying on task while writing an article? Or paper? Or homework? Yes, resistance is everywhere.

If we look at the practice of lifting weights, we learn a lot about the nature of resistance. We use it to stress and break down out muscles, so that they can re-build back up even stronger. Why? Of course some do it to look good, some to be stronger and others for functional strength. One thing we do know about strength through resistance is that it protects us from injury, or pain, or even death.

So as I look at the long list of emails in my inbox, what is it that causes me to bolt out of the chair and eat another Oreo, play with the dog, or generally organize my pens in order of color? Resistance. The kind that resides inside of me, not outside of me, like that kettlebell by my desk. This internal resistance that is so common with people with high drive, creates an interesting phenomenon for observers like me.

My first assessment is that we are normally unaware of such resistance within us. Why would we ever want to self-sabotage ourselves and resist doing what we know we should, or even want to do? My business partner Doug, would go on at length about our comfort zones and what they mean to us, but I want to get to the point: Resistance is your friend. That’s it. It makes you stronger. It is there already, so use it. Lean into it. Be curious about it. Ask it questions, and get to know it well.

I’m learning that internal resistance never goes away, nor do you want it to. You will always want that Oreo, or do something you shouldn’t, or not do your taxes when you know you need to. Take the challenge. Laugh at it. Then crush that bad decision waiting to manifest with a good decision, or at least a neutral decision. The first step in taking charge of what you manifest in life is know that the resistance is always there, if only to make you stronger.

I’ve also learned that there are generally two ways to deal with that internal resistance. Either overpower it as it is, or to let it melt away on it’s own. We are so used to overpowering it that our willpower gets exhausted and we give in somewhere else. Try instead to be curious about it, ask where it’s coming from, laugh about it and then the overcoming is much easier! It works for me.

One last lesson that has been especially hard for me is to only make small changes and keep them. As someone with high drive, I want to conquer whatever my goal is and I tend to make huge changes that invariably never stick. Small changes over a 21-30 day period is what we need to keep real changes and make habits stick. Your friend resistance will constantly be there to spur you on and keep you strong.

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