Resistance Wakes Up With Me

People ask me sometimes, “When in your day do you first feel Resistance?”

Paramahansa Yogananda did not lie in bed in the morning

My answer:

“The instant I open my eyes.”

In fact maybe sooner.

Maybe before I even know I’m awake.

I feel it.

It’s like Resistance is this huge, rapacious bear that sleeps in bed at my shoulder. By the time my feet hit the floor, it’s already lacing up its shoelaces.

Resistance is waiting for me.

He’s wide awake.

He’s ready to rumble.

He does not give me .0001 second of slack.

What’s the answer?

What’s my answer?

The only way I’ve found to beat this bear is to tackle him head-on from Microsecond One.

I get up.

I stagger to the bathroom.

I’m grumbling, I’m muttering to myself, I’m waiting (miserably) for the first positive thought.

But in my mind I have set myself to face that bear and beat him.

I was listening to a tape once of Paramahansa Yogananda. He was talking about what he does first thing in the morning.

Get up! Do not lie there ‘thinking.’ Nothing good every came from that. Get up! Begin your day!

When Yogananda says “thinking,” I know exactly what he means. He means the voice of the Resistance.

We think we’re “thinking.” We imagine that the stream of consciousness in our heads is cognitive ratiocination.

It ain’t.

It’s Resistance.

Every one of those “thoughts” is trying to get us to put off our work, to blow off our calling, to give up on ourselves and our destiny … just for the next few minutes, just till the clock hits seven, just for this one day.

Resistance wakes up with us.

It is relentless, merciless, pitiless, insidious. It cannot be reasoned with or appealed to. It takes no vacations and no holidays. It’s there on Christmas and it’s there on Kwanzaa.

We must accept this.

This is our calling.

It’s the life we’ve chosen.

Get up! Do not lie there “thinking.” Nothing good ever came from that. Get up! Begin your day!

 

 

DO THE WORK

Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

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THE AUTHENTIC SWING

A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.

The-Authentic-Swing

NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.

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TURNING PRO

Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"

Turning-Pro

39 Comments

  1. Joe Jansen on October 2, 2019 at 3:32 am

    This post makes me think of (former Navy SEAL) Jocko Willink’s Instagram. Have you seen it? Pretty much every day, his first post is a photo of his digital watch, demonstrating that he’s up and hittin’ it. Usually, the time shows as “04:32,” plus or minus, followed an hour later by a photo of puddles of sweat between two kettlebells.

    https://www.instagram.com/jockowillink/

    I was listening to a conversation with Montana writer Tom McGuane. He was telling a story about a rancher neighbor who’d get up at 0430 and turn on his kitchen lights so his neighbors would think he was working. Then he’d go back to bed until 0830. I’m guessing that rancher neighbor was not named Jocko Willink.

    • Denise Todd on October 2, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      Wow! talk about accountability––got to respect that.

  2. Renita on October 2, 2019 at 8:09 am

    It’s true.
    Jerry Seinfeld the most amazingly impossible success story from achieving financial freedom in the arts says he feels it every morning.
    Depression doesn’t go away until his feet hit the floor.
    Thanks, Steve. I’ve got a job to do.

  3. Barbara Newton-Holmes on October 2, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Thanks for the reminder and call!

  4. Mike on October 2, 2019 at 8:16 am

    On the money Steve, as always ..

  5. Laura on October 2, 2019 at 8:17 am

    Thanks, Steven!

  6. Candice on October 2, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Definitely needed this today! Thanks Steve!

  7. Rebecca on October 2, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Needed this today too! Think I need to stencil this on the ceiling above my bed. “Get up and start. It’s coming for you!”

  8. Gwen Abitz on October 2, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Can sometimes “timing” be a force that holds one back; or is it always Resistance?

    • Renita on October 2, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      Gwen, It takes Wisdom to know the difference. Renita

  9. Ingmar Albizu on October 2, 2019 at 8:46 am

    We all face resistance and we are all guilty of procrastination once in a while.
    Still, success demands action.
    Great post, Steven.

  10. Kristi Garrett on October 2, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Wait—how did you get inside my head this morning?!?!?
    Seriously, though, thanks for reminding me what I’m doing. I’ll think of this post next time I’m lying there after the alarm “resting” because I “need it.”

  11. Patrick on October 2, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Interesting post, I guess up to now I hadn’t thought of Resistance as a form of addiction (in reverse). If you’ve ever heard/read someone struggling with addiction talk about how the ‘disease’ waits for them, inside of them. At the first sign of weakness, it rears up, overwhelms them, takes them down.

    The ‘disease’ often finding the weakness during a period when things are going good, out of rehab, successfully through withdrawals, etc.. It finds the weakness in moments of strength, when you take your eyes off your enemy because the enemy couldn’t possible catch you now…..Resistance as disease.

  12. Patrick on October 2, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Interesting post, I guess up to now I hadn’t thought of Resistance as a form of addiction (in reverse). If you’ve ever heard/read someone struggling with addiction talk about how the ‘disease’ waits for them, inside of them. At the first sign of weakness, it rears up, overwhelms them, takes them down.

    The ‘disease’ often finding the weakness during a period when things are going good, out of rehab, successfully through withdrawals, etc.. It finds the weakness in moments of strength, when you take your eyes off your enemy because the enemy couldn’t possible catch you now…..Resistance as disease.

    thanks again.

  13. Marie Esposito on October 2, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Oh crap! This happens to me every day. I just thought it was me – that I was lazy or depressed or ill-equipped or in too much physical pain or not aging well. But it IS that bear. I feel his hot breath on me all the time. His fur prickles and he stinks of ancient leaves and pine and dead fish and damp caves. I don’t know if I can fight him off. I don’t know where you find the strength.

  14. Renita on October 2, 2019 at 9:37 am

    For me the bear is my damn iPhone. Addictive.

  15. Brian Nelson on October 2, 2019 at 10:03 am

    I have an unpublished, incomplete screed started years ago called “While Fat Americans Sleep.” It is a book of habits, snarky and angry. I had just returned from Afghanistan, and wasn’t in the most optimistic way of being.

    Habit 2 is “Don’t hit Snooze. Don’t make the first act of your day one of failure and procrastination.” Your alarm is the first goal of the day. Hitting snooze is failing before the day even starts. It is George Costanza’s wearing sweats to work.

    Jerry, “So again with the sweatpants George? You know you’re telling the world, “I give up. I can’t compete. I’m miserable, so I may as well be comfortable.”

    Classic. Have a great week.
    bsn

  16. Maya Lila di Vento on October 2, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Freaking out a bit right now.

    Paramahansa, or Parmie, as I like to call him, is one of my spirit guides. We’ve had a tight relationship for about 10 years running now.

    Literally THIS MORNING I was writing my Morning Pages and thanked Parmie for some recent help.

    I don’t usually click on your blogs (Sorry Steven) but I just cleared out my gmail inbox and have committed to dealing with each message… so I clicked. And saw my Parmie.

    Thanks for the synchronicity!

  17. Ken Robertson on October 2, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Thank you sir! The first step toward recover is admitting that I have to face resistance. The second step is to declare that it won’t have me! Well said!

  18. Stephanie Clayton on October 2, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Yes, yes, YES. I needed this today. thank you.

  19. Anne Marie Gazzolo on October 2, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Rock on, Steven! Thanks for being here. 🙂

  20. Nancy Lewis on October 2, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Thanks, Steven! You’ve described my morning get-up routine (10-15 minutes of lingering in bed after the alarm goes off) precisely. Tomorrow my feet hit the floor before I hit the off button, turning my first act of the day into a success story instead of a failure.

  21. Denise Todd on October 2, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Steve, thank your diligence in keeping our awareness of resistance front and center. Its insidious nature causes me to think I’m immune. But then I look at my writing log, and know for sure, I’m not. Thanks for all you do for the writing community.

  22. Yvonne on October 2, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    I love this. I always thought that first-thing-in-the-morning Resistance was a “me” problem: being lazy, depressed, feeling overwhelmed/stressed over issues I’d know I’d be facing that day, etc. It’s helpful to know that it’s all Resistance; helpful to be able to call it by its name, and you’ve given us the secret to defeat it. I really needed this…thank you!!!!

  23. Steve Zen on October 2, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    RE-WRITE IN YOUR HEAD AND THE PROJECT IS DEAD. RE-WRITE ON PAPER,LATER, ACTION IS VICTORY.
    Resistance is a great heavy topic. How has the Human race accomplished so much, while dealing with this resistance?
    Answer: We are programmed for survival. A law of the Universe is that Nothing expends more energy than it needs to or has to. Feed a lion and it will never hunt. Things only get done because they have to. The mother of invention is necessity.
    As artists it’s easy to lose ourselves in our own creative minds. The answer as Steve well knows- is ACTION Write write write and write. Rewrite later and on paper. Only Action builds skyscrapers

  24. Steve Zen on October 2, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    RE-WRITE IN YOUR HEAD AND THE PROJECT IS DEAD. RE-WRITE ONLY PAPER-LATER! ONLY ACTION LEADS TO VICTORY.
    Resistance is a great heavy topic. How has the Human race accomplished so much, while dealing with this resistance?
    Answer: We are programmed for survival. A law of the Universe is that Nothing expends more energy than it needs to or has to. Feed a lion and it will never hunt. Things only get done because they have to. The mother of invention is necessity.
    As artists it’s easy to lose ourselves in our own creative minds. The answer as Steve well knows- is ACTION Write write write and write. Rewrite later and on paper. Only Action builds skyscrapers

  25. @unfoldthesoul on October 2, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Sir, I think it rude that you didn’t warn me to tense up my abs prior to reading this…thank you for another ON-POINT post!

  26. Tim Haag on October 2, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    I’m nodding my head as I read your definition of ‘thinking’, Steven. This is even more of a ‘keeper post’ than your other ‘keeper posts’.
    Question: Did this topic pop into your head soon after you caught yourself ‘thinking’?
    Your post will serve as a deterrent to my ‘first think’ in the morning. Good show.

  27. Hiram on October 2, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks Pressfield for reminding and refreshing that the enemy never sleeps. He’s a step up transformer! Amplify everything. I’ll fight him. Thanks

  28. Alejandra Salgado on October 2, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Wow, very true. I too, have waken up in the morning and just laid there, “hoping,” for inspiration to motivate me to get up. Thank you for posting! I love your work.

  29. Ann on October 2, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Very good! True. Sometimes, we must perceive “Better rest more” voice as wisdom before getting sick. But fighting spirit should not be lost at any moment.

  30. Pauline Brin on October 3, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks, Pressfield. This is a very inspiring read. Love the Yogananda quote. Namaste.

  31. Connie on October 3, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks.
    I feel a big push to get my MS revised and ready to send off.
    I tell myself that I have to hurry and get it done, ’cause I’m 83.
    That works.

  32. Susanne Dejanovich on October 3, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    So inspired by everyone’s comments. I used to study Paramahansa Yogananda and meditated all the time. It was interesting that I really never missed the sleep I thought I should have had. No resistance; it just flowed.

    • connie on October 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      “it just flowed” What a wonderful thing that must be. Good for you, but you did the work to get there, I guess.

  33. Wanda Bowring on October 4, 2019 at 9:15 am

    No, Paramahansa Yogananda did not mean resistance. He meant, literally, stop thinking. Thoughts are meant to be used for the tools that they are. He meant suspend your thoughts.

  34. Connie Lufkin on October 5, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Press,
    Maybe sometime you can tell us your thoughts on Seth Godin’s “The Dip” as it relates to resistance. I’ve been thinking that fear, rejection, grief, denial and procrastination are ways to resist.
    Thanks, Connie

  35. connie on October 5, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    “it just flowed” What a wonderful thing that must be. Good for you, but you did the work to get there, I guess.

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