“I’m going to really stick to this training program and diet and completely change my body!” thinks the wannabe athlete. “Oh man, I need to tweet about this before I forget.”
Twitter is loaded, 140 characters are carefully crafted, and the announcement is sent.
“I probably should write a quick blog post about it, too,” he or she thinks.
A few hours later, a few thousand words are posted, and a few minutes are spent basking.
“I can’t wait! I’m going to get so shredded. Wow. I should probably start looking how I’m going to revamp my wardrobe–”
“ENOUGH!” a voice booms.
The man snaps to attention.
The reply is only three words.
“DO THE WORK.”
People share their health and fitness goals with me all the time. They have pretty spreadsheets, fancy workout plans, carefully cultivated motivation boards on Pinterest, and dreamy visions of turning heads at the beach and posing in underwear ads.
My reply is always the same.
“That sounds good. It looks like it’s time to do the work.”
This is usually followed by an awkward silence.
“Well…yeah…I’ve been reading a bit more to make sure I haven’t missed anything and I’ve picked up some really good tips. I also am meeting with a couple trainers to see if I want to get some professional help and I’m tweaking my one-year plan, which is looking really good. Here, let me show you–”
“No, I think you misunderstood me. It sounds like it’s time to do the real work. The hard work. The work that you don’t want to do.”
Another awkward silence.
They don’t get it. Or they don’t want to get it.
They aren’t doing the work, and they won’t succeed regardless of how busy they keep themselves with not doing it.
What’s going on? It’s simple. They’re getting whipped in the war against Resistance.
Resistance is invisible, insidious, and impersonal.
It can’t be seen, but it’s in you right now, and it can be felt.
It will tell you anything to keep you from doing the work. It will lie, argue, bluster, seduce, and bully you to get its way.
It will say anything to strike a deal and then stab you in the back.
It doesn’t care who you are or what you want to do. It has no conscience.
What kinds of things does Resistance hate most?
Any creative artistic action. Any type of entrepreneurial venture. Any new diet or fitness regimen. Any method of spiritual advancement. Any type of education. Anything courageous.
In short, anything that requires us to forego immediate gratification in search of long-term growth or fulfillment.
Resistance hates doing the work, and it wants you to be just like him.
In his brilliant book, The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield reveals that Resistance’s Achilles’ heel lies in the fact that it will only fight that which is truly important in your life. It wants to kill your deepest purposes and desires, your true calling and gifts. Yes, kill them. In this way, however, it shows you what work you must do—your very personal path to profound fulfillment, happiness, and success. Resistance dares you to meet it in pitched battle.
When you do anything but the work, it sneers at you. It’s playing you like a marionette. You’re feeding it, making it stronger.
When you do the work, it shrieks in horror. “Anything but the work!” it cries.
It invades your mind and flashes shiny distractions. Television! Movies! Friends! ANYTHING BUT THE WORK!
Make no mistake. The fight against Resistance is a war to the death.
It will tell you you’re too weak to kill it. Too stupid. Too lazy.
But you’re not. Ironically, it depends on your obedience for its strength.
Defiantly do the work instead and it withers. Every bit of work done strikes at it.
Do enough work and its armor crumbles, its power fades, and all that’s left is a whispering ghost.
Do more work and it even stops whispering.
If you’re trying to create a healthy, strong, vital body, a business, a career, a relationship, or anything else in your life, you’re a warrior.
Your primary enemy is Resistance.
Fight the battle anew every day by doing the work, and who knows what you might achieve and how you might evolve.
What helps you get into the gym every day and do the work? How are you beating Resistance? Let me know in the comments below!