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The Unlived Life



The Whole Person Blog: Week Six, Day One, Part 1/2 - The Unlived Life

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

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020


About five years ago, I found myself inside of a difficult client situation, seemingly unable to help them reach their goals, despite the fact they were doing all of the "right things." In an effort to better understand why my client was stuck, I unintentionally created a framework that is now called Current to Preferred Status. In it, I highlight where my client is (Current Status), where they want to be (Preferred Status), and what keeps them from getting there (GAP). The GAP is full of all the things that resist people from becoming who they ought to be (self-doubt, people-pleasing, perfectionism, addictive personality, poor time management traumatic experiences, poor self-relationship, etc.) Interestingly, when I picked up the War of Art about three years ago, I found that it perfectly described the GAP in a fuller way than I understood it at that time.


Steven Pressfield writes:

"Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course in yoga, a meditation practice? Late at night, have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn't write, a painter who doesn't paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.


Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. If you believe in God (and I do), you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius. A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center.


Every sun casts a shadow, and the genius's shadow is Resistance. As powerful as is our soul's call to realization, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it. Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine. We're not alone if we've been mowed down by Resistance, and here's the biggest bitch: We don't even know what hit us.


You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen, he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it an overstatement, but I'll say it anyway: It was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas."


I'm afraid I have to disagree with Pressfield in regards to Resistance being evil. To call it evil is to suggest it has no functionality. Functional does not mean positive either. I interpret Resistance as a perfect expression of a poor self-image. When someone sees themselves through a negative lens, identifying as what I call a "NO," Resistance is a natural manifestation of that perception, perfectly reflected in the struggles many face with self-care endeavors. In order to care for yourself, you must acknowledge and embrace your YESness, but if you can't see it, self-neglect and self-rejection will ensue. We continue to confuse the manifestations of our problem for the problem itself.


"Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance." Steven Pressfield

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