One of the most powerful forces of the universe is Resistance. It can’t be seen or touched, but it can be felt. Resistance is universal and impersonal. Its mission is to keep things the way they are. Whenever we try to take on a new challenge, we feel Resistance.
Resistance only works if you want to go from a lower field to a higher. If you’re a charity worker at Doctors Without Borders and you want to start working as a telemarketer, you can relax. Resistance will give you a free pass.
Resistance makes it hard for you to break bad habits and create new healthy ones. But it’s very sneaky and it can be hard to spot. You must train yourself to recognise and overcome Resistance, because it’s what keeps you from living the life of your dreams.
Creating a System to Battle Resistance
Ever been procrastinating on a project? Ever come up with lazy excuses not to do your work, or tried yoga and given up halfway through just because it was too hard?
Has your emotional bank account suffered because you couldn’t keep a promise? Congratulations! You’ve felt Resistance. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. As the bumper sticker says, Stuff Happens.
(OK, that’s not what it says, but I’d like to keep this G-rated.)
There is a terrific friend that can help you battle Resistance. In fact, it’s so old it’s been built into our genetic make-up since we lived in caves. You may not see him as a friend, because he says things we often don’t like to hear. But you’d be foolish to ignore him. This terrific friend is called your Fear.
Your old friend is very loyal and honest. He shows up in the middle of the night, or when you least want him there. “Hello!” he says with a sluggish grin. “I’m here. Have you missed me?”
No, you haven’t. He’s like that annoying friend you have to carry around because your mum tells you to. But instead of ignoring him, you must learn to listen to him. This may sound counterintuitive but befriending your fear is one of the most efficient ways to battle Resistance. Your enemy is a very good teacher.
If you feel fear, you know you’re on the right track. Your fear is an exellent guide. What do you fear today that you can act on right now?
Moving Forward Is Scary, but Standing Still Is Scarier
I went skydiving once. It was the scariest and most exciting thing I’ve done in my life. I could live on the adrenaline for months. But I felt terrible before the jump. Resistance kicked in big time. It struck me with lousy, but convincing excuses, like “I can do the skydive after the New Year” (notice how sneaky it is, it’s not telling me that I can’t do it, it’s simply saying that I can do it later).
Resistance keeps you still. Fear forces you to act.
As soon as I was on that plane, there was no turning back. We soared across the sky, and my instructor opened the door. I was the first one to jump. I looked down to the ground and it felt surreal. Those few seconds were the scariest moments of my life.
It was more scary to stand still than it was to jump.
The trick is to take small steps, keep small promises, and then you’ll move forward on your path. The result? You build the courage to be seen, to let go of who you think you’re suposed to be, and embrace who you are.
You allow yourself to take a step forward.
A New Vocabulary to Empower Yourself
So, how are you going to conquer resistance and move forward with your life?
Fortunately, there are ways we can train our brains to pull through even when our deepest fears settle in. In her classic book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, author Susan Jeffers provides us with a new vocabulary we can use to feel more empowered about our lives. In this lesson, I share the three most important phrases.
I can’t v. I won’t
According to Susan Jeffers, any fear can be translated to: “I CAN’T HANDLE IT”. The words “I can’t” make you feel powerless, as if you are left with no options.
“I won’t”, on the other hand, implies that you take a stand. You refuse to be treated like a victim. You take charge and decide what you will or will not do.
Whenever you want to say “I can’t”, try to say “I won’t” instead. See the difference it makes in your day-to-day life.
I should v. I could
How many times have you heard that:
- “You should go to a good college”
- “You should get a real job” (whatever that means)
- “You should get married”
The problem with “I should” is that it restrains you. It feels more like an obligation than something you truly want to do. Compare this with the more powerful word “could”. Of course, I could go to a good college. I could get a “real” job”. I could get married. When you say “I could”, you’re exploring your options and expands your thoughts.
If only v. Next time
It’s so easy to look back at your past mistakes and blame yourself. Not only is this dumb, it’s only dangerous for your well-being. Let’s look at a few examples:
- “If only I would have signed up to that class”
- “If only I had more time”
- “If only I hadn’t said that stupid thing to my boss”
“If only” allows you to stay in the past. It’s a very dangerous trap, indeed. Translate your “if only” statements into lessons for next time that you’re in a similar situation. They will help you a lot!
If you want to learn more words, check out this article I wrote on my blog.
What If I’m Standing Still?
Different people are ready to listen to their fears at different points. A few are ready to go out there immediately.
If you have something you fear, you must listen to it and find a way to take action.
You’re not going to battle Resistance overnight. It’s too smart for that. Remember that Resistance is in it for the long run, and so are you. Indeed, you have to move forward, not stand still.
Those last two points are very important, so I’m going to repeat them:
Step 1: Listen to your fear. He is a very good guide.
Step 2: Make it incredibly simple to take action, because it gives you courage.
Your next lesson will talk about why “quick fix” tactics are a bad idea when you’re living the life of your dreams. Catch you then!
All the best,
Your tour guide
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