I finally found what I needed.
First, some backstory. I’ve spent more time than I can really account for listening to “motivational” people telling me how to “make it”. These are brilliant and successful people. Gary Vaynerchuck and Tim Ferris come immediately to mind. I’ve tried to follow most of what they’ve outlined and suggested but, there are problems. Vaynerchuck’s delivery can cloud his message and listening to him for too long can make me feel like I’m doing everything wrong. Ferris is great too, but a lot of what he says I can’t seem to actually take action on, something gets lost in translation.
Then came Steven Pressfield and his book, The War of Art. In the book, Steven spends the first part of the book defining the enemy – Resistance. He calls out Resistance as an enemy that is invisible, internal, insidious, and hell bent on stopping you from your goals. Activities that are most likely to invoke the attention and wrath of Resistance are the ones you would grow from; creative endeavors of any kind, spiritual advancement, education, basically “any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity”. What’s striking is what he calls out as Resistance. Procrastinating? Resistance. Sending too much time researching? Resistance. More planning than doing? That’s Resistance too.
Winning Against Resistance
I highly recommend the book, I can’t do it justice here. In parts 2 and 3, he outlines ways to fight Resistance. I want to leave you with some actionable advice here, or at least what we’re doing at NFR to fight Resistance. Here it is:
- Don’t wait for inspiration to come to you. Schedule your time to do whatever your work is an show up, every time. Start doing with or without inspiration and it’ll come. Keep going even if it doesn’t. That’s what it took to write this blog post.
- Force yourself to start and finish what you’re doing, even if you think what you’re doing isn’t good – that’s Resistance standing it’s ground. Finishing something, anything, in service of your goal gives you momentum in the battle against Resistance.
- Lean into fear. Fear feeds Resistance. Launching NFR a second time and starting a podcast was scary as shit. Steven points out that “Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do”.
Steve outlines many more ways to move beyond Resistance and invoking the Muse in your work. The way Steven approaches it all really hit home for me. I finally found a motivational tool that worked. I hope it helps you too in whatever you’re working towards. You should also check out Turning Pro for additional resistance fighting tips.
Motivation Your Way
All of this is to say, if you haven’t found what’s motivational for you, keep looking. It’s alright if the mainstream guys don’t do it for you. Keep digging until you find what works for you. That’s the driving force in so much of the NFR ideals; find what makes YOU happy and what fits in your life.
“Doing the Work” doesn’t have to be someone yelling at you to have “more hustle”, it can be a simple as carving out 15 minutes of focused time to plan your day towards your goal. It can be that 15 minute victory against Resistance that wins the rest of the day for you. #dothework