If training were simply a matter of doing the right drills and exercises, everyone would be a badass. But it’s not just physical, it’s mental. If your mind is not already strong, then consistantly following the steps it takes to reach your goals is hard. You find seemingly legitimate reasons to postpone, skip, or even give up on the actions you must take. Most of us end up fighting our thoughts, and in doing so, sabotage our dreams. A closer look at what’s going on inside your mind will help you take action and learn to fight for your goals.
The world is out to kill you. No, you’re not paranoid. It’s true. You reach for high goals, but life fights unfairly. You were supposed to workout, but something came up at work. You want to train, but your shoulder is hurting again. You planned to do something awesome, but it’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.
You are meant to be great, but you are being held down by what we usually call, life. Life gets in the way. Life happens when obligations and unforeseen events interfere with your plans to do something that will bring you closer to your goals. Each time it happens, there appears to be a good reason, but there is really more to it.
Actually, there is something sinister behind these events that interfere with your progress. You actually have a pervasive, treacherous, and relentless enemy that is going to destroy you if you do not fight it. This enemy, coined buy author Steven Pressfield in the War of Art, is known as the Resistance. The Resistance is a highly adept, guerrilla insurgency that operates within you. The Resistance is fighting you, and whether you know it or not, you are at war.
Weapons of War
The Resistance is a force that will use any weapon and any tactic to undermine your efforts to improve yourself. They have no qualms at using the dirtiest of attacks and they follow no conventions of war. Some of the primary tactics used by the resistance include fear, self doubt, procrastination, and rationalization.
Fear - The resistance unleashes some of its most violent attacks via fear. The fear of failure, the fear of not keeping your commitments, the fear of not living up to your values - these can crush you. The Resistance uses fear to fester indecision and stifle action. The darker the fear, the more entangled you become.
Self-doubt - Once the Resistance has poisoned you with fear, self-doubt has room to breed within. Fear will inspire you to look for an escape, a way to avoid the fight. Self-doubt will tell you not to fight the fear, but to withdraw and take the escape. Feelings of inadequacy, of not being ready, and of not having the right stuff will chip away at your vision and goals. These feelings will allow you to accept less from yourself, to lower the bar, and to escape being required to face fear in order to reach your high goals. You are then left with average or meager goals, if any.
Procrastination - The Resistance will deceive you with procrastination by using the promise that you will definitely take action, just not right now. Later. But every day you procrastinate mobilizing your battle plan, the Resistance grows stronger. And so, one day at a time, the Resistance will steal time from you as your will to fight fades away and your great vision is no longer in focus.
Rationalization - One of the hardest weapons to fight used by the Resistance is rationalization. Through a form of espionage and brainwashing, the Resistance injects rationalization into your thoughts so that you second guess everything. When this happens, you find that your arguments for not doing the work are compelling. Before you know it, you will believe your own excuses and become enslaved by them.
In addition to the big guns listed above, the Resistance will use other small arms that can be lethal as well. Some of the small arms the resistance will use to defeat you include self-dramatization, self-victimization, self-medication, and immediate gratification.
Self-dramatization - All of us have problems. Some problems are serious, but sometimes, the little things seem like big things. Often they are not. The Resistance will catch you in a trap when you make a big deal out of nothing and dramatize your situation or life. When this happens, you put all your important work on hold and you spend your energy on something that is not important or simply out of your control. The trap is good because sometimes the drama can be rewarding: You get attention from others.
Self-victimization - Self-victimization is a way avoid shame when you have not lived up to your ideals. If you are treated unfairly or are the victim of bad luck, then you have an excuse for why you are not meeting your goals. Letting others believe you are a victim is a lot easier than doing the hard work that you need to do. The Resistance will entice you with many opportunities that you can use to be seen as a victim. Again, the attention from others can reinforce the victim persona you assume.
Self-medication and immediate gratification - The Resistance will distract you from your higher endeavors with activities that give you pleasure without work. They will hit you with things that give you satisfaction, but have no meaning or value. This includes drinking alcohol, doing drugs, eating sugary things, shopping, watching TV, gossiping, and doing anything on Facebook. It all feels good while you are doing it, but you made no improvement. In fact, you may have taken a step backwards.
These are just a few of the weapons you will encounter when fighting the Resistance. Often they will use a combination of weapons that makes them even more deadly. Know this: You must recognize and understand these weapons so that you can fight back against them.
Know the Enemy
Once you recognize the enemy, then you can start to fight back. If you do not know or even see the enemy, then you are in trouble. The Resistance will continue to derail your progress and sap your energy.
Fighting the Resistance is going to require several missions, some hard fought battles, and very keen observation. This is a war, and you must wage a grand campaign to be successful. You must be ready to hang in there and get comfortable with suffering until you win.
Your first mission is to study the enemy. You must find out how it attacks, learn where it hides, and what it uses for defenses. You must find a way to disrupt its momentum and cut off its resources. Study the enemy so you can defeat it.
Start your first mission by recognizing when the Resistance uses any of the weapons, listed above, in your daily life. If you put off training, skip a workout, or find a reason to avoid doing anything that is useful, you can be sure the Resistance is there, plotting against you. Pay attention to your thoughts. Learn their routines, and see how the Resistance meddles with your mind.
Get to know the enemy. Gather intel and stay alert. Soon, we will discuss deploying the weapons you have for crushing the Resistance. Just know this: The fight is on.