This time last week I went on my first solo trip to the east coast of Taiwan where I explored several of the towns there. One of the towns I visited (named Jiaoxi in English) is primarily known for its beautiful natural hot springs which can be accessed free of charge by anyone who fancies a dip.
Disappointing, I know.
For some reason my former eagerness towards trying out the hot springs had dissolved by the time I actually made it there. Later on that day I questioned my actions, trying to figure out exactly why I hadn’t taken the opportunity to try out the hot springs while I had the chance. The ‘reasoning’ I gave into at the time, was that I didn’t want to be carrying around wet swimming shorts for the remainder of my trip, but in reality I could have found a way to dry them or stored them separately in my bag. At the end of the day it was nothing but an excuse. The real reason I didn’t try out the hot springs on that day was Resistance.
I have stolen this term from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (which is a must read book, especially for those looking to undertake an Artistic pursuit.)
In this book, Pressfield describes resistance as an invisible force with the sole purpose of trying to stop you doing what you should be doing by any means possible. It’s a destructive force attempting to deny the act of creation. What I mean by this, is that by staying true to ourselves, ignoring resistance, and following through with what we should be doing, we are able to create something out of nothing. If I had spent some time in the hot springs that day, which deep down I knew I should have done, I would have at the very least created a memorable moment for myself which otherwise wouldn’t exist.
Now that’s great and all but how do we know what the right decision actually is?
From my personal experience, I think we always have an indication to what the right decision is. Something within us tells us what we should be doing. The hard part isn’t knowing what to do. The hard part is accepting it and then following through with it. In other words, conquering resistance before it conquers you.
Resistance comes in many forms including somewhat rational excuses, like the one that stopped me swimming on that day. But I would say that the main two ways in which resistance presents itself are through fear and laziness.
The next time you have a decision to be make, however small it may be, remember that you are already aware of the solution. If you have you doubts, ask yourself:
Is this fear?
Is this laziness?
Is this resistance?
And then take action based on the answers.
It’s not easy to be self-critical in this way but it’s important. Every time you overcome resistance you are one step closer to living out your life in a way that you know you should be. You become more in touch with your purpose.
Don’t deny creation. I’m going to try my best not to.
Start reading The War of Art – it’s great!