The Higher the Stakes, the Greater the Resistance

I never would have guessed this, though if I think about it, maybe it makes sense. This idea came from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, the chapter entitled Resistance and Love.

Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too. If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.

The more Resistance you expereience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you–and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.

This reassures me that when I do avoid doing my work, at least I don’t need to worry that the work isn’t really important to me. The more I resist doing my work, the more afraid I am of it. And the more fear I have, the more important the work is to my soul. Hence, the greater and deeper the payoff is of actually sitting down to do my work.

This seems to actually be one of my life themes. I resist doing things that can bring me great pleasure and satisfaction. Somewhere deep inside me I know I was meant for doing my thing. Yet, on just about every other level I still struggle to make myself do that thing. For me I guess it’s programming. Writing too. Those two things. I’m afraid that once I’ve written something down, it will be used to make me feel ashamed. I guess shame is what scares me. Feeling dumb in front of other people. And yet, what could be more natural? What could be more fundamental to learning and growing? Of course you have to let your dumbness be obvious before it can be replaced with smartness. I think we call that wisdom, don’t we?

Yet, it scares me. I know better, but it still scares me. I remember Henry Fonda as being one of the greatest actors in my lifetime. And yet I hear that he would throw up before he went onstage even while in his 70s. No doubt he was a master. But if it’s okay for him to feel resistance, I guess I can own mine too.

By the way, I’ve been working on some tests for the React app I’m working on. When I started the project, I didn’t write tests for the backend or the frontend. I figured I didn’t need to. I was confident in my ability to make the back end work correctly without tests (a mistake!) and React was too large a pill to swallow and write tests. So I kept procrastinating. And now I’m pretty close to the finish line, and I hit a bug. But I’m not sure at what point the bug started or where the bug truly is. Or if it’s even one bug or an entire colony. But if I had tests, I would know. It’s bad practice to not write tests, so I’m taking time now to write tests. Maybe I’ll find the bug–or bugs!

Here’s to Fears!