On encountering the resistance

Encountering the resistance

There’s in inherent fear in most, if not all of us. I used to define it as laziness, but I understand now that’s not what it is. It’s fear. Sometimes hidden, sometimes very barely concealed, freezing fear. Sometimes it beacons you to walk away from an endeavor. Sometimes it will make you run, as fast as you can.

What fear usually isn’t

Read some of the excellent work from Stephen Pressfield or Seth Godin: they speak about the “Lizard Brain” or about the “Resistance” … They correctly describe it as the place you dread to go. It’s pretty much build into us. A couple of thousand years ago, the place unknown, the place we dreaded to go usually had a couple of meat eaters in it. They ate us. So we stayed away. We became programmed to be aware. It’s only natural selection, in the most direct of manners … the curious ones died. Hence, even while we remained curious, we also remained apprehensive of unknown situations. But fear is not always a relevant indicator of a bad situation. Quite often it’s an indicator of us entering an unknown terrain. A new challenge.

We’re most afraid of going where we can make the most difference

You need to think about that. In essence, as Benjamin Zander said, you need not ask the question whether you will be recognized, or appreciated … you need to ask how you can make a contribution.

Your contribution is pushing through the resistance. Pushing through is doing what you are most afraid of for 10 minutes more. Just 10 minutes. That’s it. That’s where the true difference lies.

10 minutes more

You may find yourself reading technical books with deep wisdom. They may enhance your understanding. They will not make it easier to go out on the plains and face the tiger in your head. You will not find the answer in lofty techniques or the newest tools or whatever. The only way to beat the resistance, every day again, and again, and again lies in giving just those 10 minutes more.

Because usually, after those first 10 minutes, you understand it’s really not that bad out there. Guess what, you may even have fun.

This is something I fundamentally believe in. I also believe that those who beat the resistance (every day again, because it does show up for work, just as you do) are the ones who in the end make the difference and master their own productivity challenges