You can relate to the tale I’m about to tell. I know because I with talk with business owners every week.
All of us know we need to do what’s important and yet we find ourselves constantly seduced by urgent matters. We find it nigh impossible to unflinchingly maintain our intention as we become overwhelmed by niggling concerns. Why, we wonder, does the balance of our time-management scale seem to always tip more to the side of doing the urgent?
This morning, I intended to explore this topic by writing on how to strengthen intention and overcome that imperceptible slide toward doing the “urgent.” I started out well: I dusted off Stephen Pressfield’s War of Art that addresses this very subject of defining “resistance.” I highlighted potential quotes and bookmarked key ideas. To ensure I hadn’t written on this topic before, I checked the past blogs on my website. (I’m not).
- I remembered a partner whom I had promised materials from my site.
- This task kept me on my website longer than I had planned as I harvested those URLs.
- Thinking I could save time, I decided to package them into a new email, to complete later, of course.
- I started a fresh email by pasting in the links.
And since I was in my Inbox,
- I wondered if another client team had responded to an idea I had for them and looked for their response. (They hadn’t).
- So, I checked to make sure I had actually sent them the email. (I had). Then I felt deflated because they had ignored a really good idea.
Then I felt a bit sad and very distracted.
How can I best sum up what happened in this last hour? I met the cousin of Urgent, the enemy of intentionality—Resistance! I experienced why that scale tips so quickly toward the urgent (and trust you experienced it vicariously during the above recount).
So, what are other signs telling us we’re engaging his enemy, Resistance?
We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work in potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s a negative. Its aim is to shove us away, prevent us from doing our work. (Pressfield, p. 6)
Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony”. Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.” (Pressfield, p. 20)
And, of course the insidious truth is that every day of our life we can say we’ll start tomorrow:
The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed (Pressfield, p. 32)
“We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.”
On the surface it may seem hopeless. With the urgent winning so many skirmishes, won’t it win in the end? Take heart, for you’re winning any time you do…
…any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. (Pressfield, p.6)
You’re reading this blog because I met, acknowledged, and overcame the enemy of resistance today. But, I did so for today and this day alone.
If you finished this blog (and do the Toolkit below), congratulations! You’re building your arsenal to combat your own resistance! I encourage you to pick just one item you’ve been intending to do and start doing it TODAY.
Now that we’ve identified the enemy, we’ll explore how to overcome resistance. Know Your Friend: “Intention,” Cousin of “Important”
Write down a single longer-term intention for yourself for this week. Record it in something like Evernote* for iPhone/Android so you can remind yourself at any time.
Every time you meet resistance when acting upon that goal, note what your resistance is. By the end of the week you’ll begin to discover your particular enemy within—your own patterns of resistance.
*I am not an affiliate for this company or their products.