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The I's of Resistance



The Whole Person Blog: Week Six, Day Three, Part 1/2 - The I's of Resistance

Writings inspired by Steven Pressfield: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art and Self Sabotage here

Overcoming Resistance and Why Talent Doesn't Matter here

Lessons from the Original Spartans here

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020


When looking to "overcome" a challenge, it's helpful to understand the nature and physics of it. What it is, how it works, and why it's there are foundational questions that help define the difficulty. Minus this understanding, you're fully disempowered to resolve the Resistance you're facing, nor are you in a position to accept it, and ultimately, surrender your complicity in it.


Steven Pressfield identifies the characteristics of Resistance:

  • "Invisible - cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled, but it can be felt.

  • Internal - it is not a peripheral opponent; it arises from within.

  • Insidious - it will perjure, fabricate, falsify, seduce, bully, and cajole you to keep you from doing your work.

  • Implacable - it cannot be reasoned with, it understands nothing but power, and it's an engine of destruction.

  • Impersonal - it doesn't know who you are, and it doesn't care; it's a force of nature and acts objectively.

  • Infallible - it makes us believe our distracting actions are moving us towards true North."


When I first read this book, it perfectly described the challenges I was facing, it validated that I wasn't crazy, and it gave me words that allowed me to assign a label to it. Though, it's only in hindsight that I now realize it only illustrated WHAT was happening and not WHY it was happening. And framing Resistance as evil initially made me feel good about fighting it, but it was only fueling the fearful, unevolved, and egoic parts of me. Last, how he writes about Resistance positions me as a victim of it, maintaining a sense of inferiority, and a spirit of losing. I see Resistance as an expression of a poor self-image, typically brought on by the identification with painful experiences, which can be intense and acute, or subtle and chronic.


You may be wondering why I chose to write about this book if I disagree with its primary assertion. Well, for starters, I still love the book and recommend it to others because it grants foundational dignity to the person who's struggling with Resistance and feels defined by it. At the same time, I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I don't need to agree with every aspect of a book for it to be useful. Last, this is part of my metamorphosis, maintaining a non-dualistic (not black-or-white) stance that I can write about something I don't entirely agree with, while still wholly including it.


"Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel towards pursuing it." Steven Pressfield

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