This book is about overcoming Resistance. The way to overcome Resistance is to do your Work. Resistance is not only the antagonist in this book but also the antagonist in our lives. Everyday, we’re fighting the resistance to do X or avoid doing Y.
Resistance – Defining the Enemy
- Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.
- Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction.
- Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalise.
- Rationalisation is Resistance’s right-hand man. Its job is to keep us from feeling the shame that we would feel if we truly faced what cowards we are for not doing our Work.
- Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.
- The more scared we are of our Work, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Combating Resistance – Turning Pro
- The amateur doesn’t love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a side-line, distant from his ‘real’ vocation. The Pro loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time. That’s what I mean when I say turning pro. Resistance hates it when we turn pro.
- The Pro respects Resistance. He knows that if he caves in today, no matter how plausible the pretext, he’ll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow.
- Grandiose fantasies are a symptom of Resistance. They’re the sign of an amateur. The Pro has learnt that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The Pro concentrates on the work, and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.
- Fear of rejection isn’t just psychological; it’s biological. Resistance knows this and uses it against us. It uses fear of rejection to paralyse us and prevent us, if not from doing our work, then from exposing it to public evaluation. The Pro cannot take rejection personally because to do so reinforces Resistance. The Pro’s resolution, before all else, remains: No matter what, I will never let Resistance beat me.
- The Mother of all fears is the Fear that we will Succeed. That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are.
- The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got.
- Doctors estimate that 70-80% of their business is non-health-related. People aren’t sick, they’re self-dramatising. Casting yourself as a victim is the antithesis of doing your work. Don’t do it. If you’re doing it, stop it.
- Resistance meets Consumerism: Instead of applying self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification and hard work, we simply consume a product. Many pedestrians have been maimed or killed at the intersection of Resistance and Commerce.
- We unplug ourselves from the grid by recognising that we will never cure our restlessness by contributing our disposable income to the bottom line of Bullshit, Inc., but only by doing our work.
- The truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.
- Seeking support from friends and family is like having your people gather around at your deathbed. It’s nice, but when the ship sails, all they can do is stand on the dock waving goodbye. Any support we get from persons of flesh and blood is like Monopoly money; it’s not legal tender in that sphere where we have to do our work (in overcoming Resistance).
- ‘I hadn’t written anything good. It might be years before I would, if I ever did at all. That didn’t matter. What counted was that I had, after years of running from it, actually sat down and done my work. The moment you overcome Resistance. You are okay. You would be okay from here on. Do you understand?’
- Principle of Priority: a) know the difference between what’s urgent and what’s important, and b) you must do what’s important first.
- Get real-world feedback. Nothing is as empowering as real-world validation, even if it’s for failure.
- The Pro understands delayed gratification. He is the ant, not the grasshopper.
- A pro views her work as craft, not art. Not because she believes art is devoid of a mystical dimension. On the contrary. She understand that all creative endeavour is holy, but she doesn’t dwell on it. She knows if she thinks about that too much, it will paralyse her. So she concentrates on technique. The Pro masters how, and leaves what and why to the gods. The sign of the amateur is overglorification of and preoccupation with the mystery. The Pro shuts up. She doesn’t talk about it. She does her work.
- The Pro learns to recognise envy-driven criticism and take it for what it is: the supreme compliment. The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had the guts.
- Adversity, injustice, bad hops and rotten calls, even good breaks and lucky bounces all compromise the ground over which the campaign must be waged. The field is level, the Pro understands, only in heaven.
Beyond Resistance – The Higher Realm
- The most important thing about art is work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.
- Angels are like muses. They know stuff we don’t. They want to help us. They’re no the other side of a pane of glass, shouting to get our attention. But we can’t hear them. We’re too distracted by our own nonsense.
- Ah, but when we begin. When we make a start. When we conceive an enterprise and commit to it in the face of our fears, something wonderful happens. A crack appears in the membrane. Like the first crack when a chick pecks at the inside of its shell. Angel midwives congregate around us; they assist us as we give birth to ourselves, to that person we were born to be, to the one whose destiny was encoded in our soul, our daimon, our genius.
- What do I feel growing inside me? Let me bring that forth, if I can, for its own sake and not for what it can do for me or how it can advance my standing.