Monthly Archives: July 2011
The Resistance, as Steven Pressfield calls it, is a powerful force indeed against creative energy.
You feel the spark of a new idea, and you feel the adrenaline rush to the brain saying “Yes! You are creating” and you feel even just for a moment completely invincible. All creative thoughts and endeavors exist in that positive space, even if just for an instant. But the really good ideas, the ones that might lead to bigger shifts in your life, stick in you and grow.
And then, maybe after an hour or a day or a week, you feel it. The doubt, the mistrust of your own thoughts. The dark clouds roll into your brain. “I can’t do that” or “Just not practical” become part of the conversation. And then you take your idea, carefully fold it up, and put it away.
It’s an issue for me personally. I’ve always had pride in the ideas I generate. But The Resistance is strong in me, and I’ve found excuses for years to not follow through on many of my initial thoughts.
So how do you fight The Resistance?
Inertia is a powerful force, and I can tell you from experience that if you start with an idea and not let it go until you have a deliverable, a tangible thing that you can hold and read through or look at or touch, then you have a far better chance at success. You see, the kryptonite against the dark forces lies in pressing forward, momentum, inertia. Once the ball starts rolling downhill, get out of the way!
Doing the great work with speed and immediacy is one of the best antidotes I know to The Resistance. If you work hard enough, and fast enough, (and I’ve found, without googling over and over about your ideas to try find legitimacy), you are bound to grow.
And the goal might not be what you think. The goal is not the success of your ideas but rather the conquering of the beast. Learn how to turn The Resistance into something manageable that draws you into the right energy, and you will powers you didn’t know you had. Do the great work without hesitation, interruption, or distraction until you have something you can hold and enjoy.
The image above is the cover of Pressfield’s new book Do The Work. This is a must read for anybody with creative energy in their blood.
A (not so) funny thing happened to me in 1999, otherwise known as ‘pre-internet days’. I went to my favorite local breakfast joint before going to my job at the best fine wine shop in town. I had to be at work at 7:45am, so I sat down for breakfast at 6:30 to be able to relax and read the paper. The line cook, and friend of mine named Steven, asked the common question: “Hey Jason, how are things?”
I responded like I always did — with honesty and condor. “Pretty good but I’m nervous today because I might be leaving the wine shop for a wholesale job.”
“Why?” asked Steven.
I went on about my current job and how I felt like I stagnated, reaching a point where my personal development couldn’t expand without new challenges. My plans weren’t set, but I had a couple of secret meetings with local wholesalers. I was simply exploring options, but I was also simply talking about them with, of all people, the guy who just cooked my bacon.
We had a nice back and forth while I drank coffee and ate pancakes. I paid my tab, Steven wished me good luck with my issues, and I left for work. I was on the floor writing wine descriptions and helping customers at 8am sharp, happy as ever that I have a good job in the wine biz.
Soon after I left the breakfast joint, as I’ve been able to piece together, a waitress named Amy just started her shift and Steven (knowing Amy and I were friends) conveyed my story but shifting it unintentionally from “Jason’s thinking about leaving his job” to “Jason is leaving his job.” Amy, I only found out later, had a brother in the wine biz, whom she called up to let him know I’d be on the job market soon. Amy’s brother took that info and told his boss, who just so happened to have an 8:30am appointment with my boss, who did not want to see me go away.
Literally two hours after my breakfast, I was called to the office to answer a question from the guy who signed my paychecks: “So when did you plan on telling me you were leaving?” It was amazing, caught me off guard, and only through some lucky and deft conversation was I able to keep my family income alive.
The world is small, and with current technology it is shrinking faster than ever. We meet people at on Twitter, Facebook, and at conventions. Over the course of years, a network develops that turns into, at most, two or three degrees of separation between every single person in the your chosen industry. Even in a situation that you believe to be benign and private, the wrong information can get to the wrong people and make for a mess that you don’t want to face later.
The lessons are clear:
- Be careful about what you say and to whom. Always be conscious of how somebody may interpret information and whom they may share it with. If you ever start off with “I shouldn’t tell you this, but…” then try to hear that alarm going off in your head.
- Stay positive with your commentary and discussions. We’ll explore the power of positive energy at a later post, but for now keep negative opinions to yourself and a trusted circle (and realize that negative energy is simply energy you have determined to be negative with … thank you John Unger for that realization!).
- Realize that a power even more dark than rumor and speculation is the damage it can do to your reputation. Your personal brand is your most valuable asset on any level of any business. Treat it with the respect it deserves.
Everybody has a shrinking world story … what is yours?