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November 4, 2013 / Dale Melchin

The Six Things you Need to Overcome the Resistance



Credit goes to U.S. Army Korea (Historical Image Archive) for this image


Recently I was reading through Stephen Pressfield’s book Do the Work.  There was one section in particular that resonated with me.  Enemies and Allies.  The fortunate thing for us is that our allies in this case out number our enemies.

Enemies* Allies
Resistance Stupidity
Rational Thought Stubbornness
Friends and Family Blind Faith
Friends and Family
*Notice the would be creative would have a 3:1 advantage if he would just move into action


The unfortunate thing for us is that at least one ally doesn’t show up until we “enter the war” and the last ally can also be an enemy.

Pressfield lists out our allies as follows:

1. Stupidity

This is the most important one.  Pressfield cites the three stupidest people in history.  He names them as Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs. and Winston Churchill.  Why these three?  They are considered heroes in Western and American culture!  Because they ignored naysayers and were so narrow focused in the tasks that they set out to do.  One of them sailed solo across the Atlantic, the other founded, was fired from and then retook Apple, the other one spent most of his time motivating the British to keep punching the Hunnic (Nazi) Monster in the face, when it was the last standing Allied Force in Europe.

We need to be like these men in our approach to whatever work we are setting out to do.  Whether it is becoming our own person, getting a business off the ground, losing weight, stopping smoking, or whatever noble work we are setting out to do.  We need to be cocky and arrogant enough to not listen to the experts in our lives and go for it.  People may call it stupid, but in the end when we succeed, they are the ones left feeling stupid.

Pressfield says that we stay stupid by acting and “not allowing ourselves to think” about what it is we are doing.

2. Stubbornness

This quality is gritter than tenacity, or perseverance.  It is the idea of a junkyard dog biting down on the behind of the would be intruder to a junkyard.  It is like a group of Marines who are in the worst conditions, picking off enemies until the reinforcements arrive.  This is the idea of there being no quit inside of of us, we are mean, ornery, and mulish when it comes to our goals.  In this case we are “set in our ways” and its a good thing.

3. Blind faith

Whether you are a person of faith or not, you have spirituality.  You believe in something even if someone offers you evidence contrary to it.  That is the key in our creative work.  If you believe in nothing believe in your ability to create something valuable for others, and that it can eventually bring you value.  Believe it and do not doubt.  Give up your need to control the results and focus on the process of creation.  Even if it sucks at first, keep creating.  Again, this applies to anything.  For fitness if you are a man, imagine how you’ll feel after you get that chiseled body.  If you are a woman, imagine how you’ll feel when you get that toned physique.  Think of all the benefits of going through that process and staying on that process.  Your quality of life will be improved, you’ll feel great because you’ll have that endorphin rush, you’ll have more energy, and you’ll probably live longer.  I’m writing to myself as a I write this, but again, this applies any noble endeavor where we have to sacrifice short term gratification for long term fulfillment.

4. Passion

Hayden composed with it, Van Gogh painted with it and children play with it all day long.  They get into it with their toys and their imaginary friends.  Passion for the work is the engine that drives you.  It is cultivated into a roaring flame that cannot be quenched.  It is your love for what you are doing and the results you are trying to get.  It is the “romantic activity” that conceives and forms the child which is your work.  The beautiful thing is that even if your work sucks, you can cultivate a passion for improving it.

5.  Assistance (the opposite of Resistance)

Stephen doesn’t go into this right away when he’s first describing the allies.  But I will.  To put it in Christian terms, it is God showing up when you need Him most.  For the Taoist, it may be the success achieved after you decide not to give up.  Most importantly, it is unexpected help from Above, usually in the form of human help.  For the Entrepreneur it could be that string of customers that make his business viable, or that angel investor, that unexpected check in the mail, the friend coming over with groceries or whatever.  It is Providence moving the pieces that you don’t control after you’ve started to control the things that you can control in your work.  The key to getting assistance from the Universe is to get yourself into action.  Do all that you can do, and then Providence will do all that is necessary to help get you to the goal.  But even then, keep going.

6. Friends and family

As I stated earlier, these are a wild card, depending upon their attitude.  They are either fellow travelers on the creative road, or sympathizers.  They may not believe in themselves enough to do the work you are doing, but they love you so much they want you to succeed.  So they give you encouragement, they fall in line with Divine Assistance.  They may even be the first folks to comment on your blog.  Regardless of what they do, they are cheering for you and they are doing whatever they can for you.  Put yourself around these people whenever you can.  They are the relationships you’ll need to get through the creative journeys you are embarking upon.

So there they are.  The first four are cultivated through action and mind practice.  The last two are done simply by taking action in your creative endeavor, and by putting yourself around them.

Question:  What do these six things look like for you?  Have you seen them yet?  If so tell us.


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