Productivity takes courage.
The life of the modern day worker is often akin to walking through a hurricane. You know it’s going to be a challenge but when you get out in the middle of things, you’re amazed by the strength of the wind.
There is much that is against you. In the book by Steven Pressfield, Do The Work, he calls it Resistance.
Resistance is a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.
Steven capitalizes the word Resistance for a reason. He believes that it is an active life-force:
Resistance is an active, intelligent, protean, malign force—tireless, relentless, and inextinguishable—whose sole object is to stop us from becoming our best selves and from achieving our higher goals. The universe is not indifferent. It is actively hostile.
Every principle espoused so far in this volume is predicated upon that truth. The aim of every axiom set forth thus far is to outwit, outflank, outmaneuver Resistance. We can never eliminate Resistance. It will never go away.
But we can outsmart it, and we can enlist allies that are as powerful as it is. One thing we can never, never permit ourselves to do is to take Resistance lightly, to underestimate it or to fail to take it into account. We must respect Resistance, like Sigourney Weaver respected the Alien, or St. George respected the dragon.
Whatever it is that you do to earn a living and feel fulfilled (and the latter is a key component to your life-work), there will always be a fight to accomplish it. The blank page, the silent telephone, the empty room. It is up to you to envision the success for each of these virtual “mountains” you must climb.
You’re not going to get the view you want from the valley.
As you plan your week, know that Resistance is looking over your shoulder, trying to tell you why this won’t work or why that is an unbelievably bad idea. Say aloud, “I’m going to do this anyway.”
I have found great reassurance comes when I face my fears and say, “Okay. So I may make a total fool out of myself. So I might be ignored or unappreciated. I’m going to do it anyway.”
You have to fight this Resistance who is constantly telling you that your contribution to this world doesn’t matter.
Resistance, as Pressfield says, is a master of diversion. You may think you’re being productive as you research and research… and then do more research.
But you’re not doing the work.
There comes a time when after you’ve done a fair amount of research, you have to stare at that blank page, the silent telephone, or the empty room – and fill it.
Fill it with your thoughts, your voice, your presence. But fill it. Pour into that space that special alchemy of your research blended with your perspective and insights.
Deliver what you promised yourself you’d bring.
Do that over and over again and you’ll find that you’ll kick ass when it comes to producing work that matters.
And buy Steven Pressfield’s book. It’s one of the best books on how to prepare for the battle.
The Kindle version is only $3, which is the decade’s best buy to help you reach the stars.