I’ve written a great deal about how we know what we should be doing for our Health, Fitness and Personal Energy, but don’t do it. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the reasons why we don’t.
Steven Pressfield might just have an answer. You may remember Steven Pressfield as the author of the book and movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance. In his more recent book, the War of Art, which has become sort of a cult classic among many solo and independent entrepreneurs, he writes about what he calls — “The Resistance”.
What is “The Resistance” you ask? Pressfield describes it as that indefinable “thing” that keeps you from doing the things you know you should be doing, but don’t do for one reason or another. And that’s the overriding problem for many of us who know we should be moving more, eating better, and taking better care of ourselves, but don’t. He says that “The Resistance” is an invisible force with the aim of distracting us and preventing us from doing the work we know we should be doing.
In the forward to the book, Fulbright Scholar and Screen-Writing Teacher, Robert McKee, calls the Resistance:
“. . . That destructive force inside human nature that rises whenever we consider a tough, long-term course of action that might do for us or others something that’s actually good.”
What activities commonly elicit “The Resistance”? In the book, there is a long list. I have extracted four from the list that are appropriate to Health, Fitness and Personal Energy. Pressfield suggests that “The Resistance” pops up in these activities:
- Any diet or health regimen.
- Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals.
- Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction
- Any program of spiritual advancement [Ed: meditation, visualization, affirmation, etc].
Pressfield says that “The Resistance” is fueled by Fear. It has no strength of it’s own; it comes entirely from within us. We feed it with our fear of it. We must master that fear to conquer resistance.
It usually keeps us from getting started, even when we know absolutely that we must do certain things to keep up our health and energy, or else become ill, or cut short our regularly scheduled lifespan. But Pressfield says that “The Resistance” is at it’s most powerful “. . . at the finish line. The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this Point, Resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It slams us with everything it’s got.” So we say to ourselves, “I’m really starting to look and feel better. I have more energy than ever. I guess I can cut back or stop now.”
So how do we beat “The Resistance”? Steven Pressfield says that the way to beat it is to “Be a Pro”. What does a pro do? He or she shows up every day no matter what. A Pro is committed for the long haul and sticks with the program. For example, we are coming up on the New Year and are making our health and fitness resolutions now. Gym owners love the surge of new members at the beginning of each new year, and they know that the new members will give up around the middle of February, keeping their memberships active, believing they will start again soon. Sure they will.
Some other attributes of a Pro: A Pro is patient. A Pro acts in the face of fear. A Pro ACCEPTS NO EXCUSES. A Pro does not show off. A Pro dedicates himself to mastering technique. A Pro doesn’t hesitate to ask for help. A Pro endures adversity. A Pro recognizes limitations. Pretty good list.
So the reasons we don’t do the things we know we should be doing to build and maintain our own health, fitness and personal energy have been codified by Steven Pressfield in his book, The War of Art. I’m not trying to “shill” his book here, but you might benefit by reading it. And while it’s primarily written to provide answers to entrepreneurs, writers and creatives as to “what’s stopping them”, it applies to all of us who are trying to start a program of action and just can’t or won’t get started, or stick with something we actually do start.
The answer is to: BE A PRO AND DO WHAT THE PROS DO!
New Year’s Day, 2018 – Coming Soon!
Thank you for reading.