A few weeks ago in Carry that Weight, I reminisced about the guy walking circles around the apartment gym carrying two 50-pound dumbbells. He found a creative way to use Resistance on purpose. While most creatives either succumb to Resistance or search endlessly for ways to avoid Resistance (I daresay one of Resistance’s favorite tactics), weight trainers look for ways to create Resistance on purpose. I just used “daresay!”
Check out that picture. We all (at least think) we know of the creative, almost seemingly cruel, methods of Resistance that our armed forces employ to develop the most badass soldiers in the world.
In weight training, we use resistance to get stronger. After a few months, we don’t eyeball that 15-pound dumbbell and say, “I won. I have conquered you, 15-pound dumbbell. My work here is done. I’m going home.”
In weight training, when we’re close to conquering 15 pounds, we move on up to 20, we lift that 15-pounder a different way with the same muscle group or lift it with a smaller muscle group. Slow down now. You’re going to pull something!
If resistance in weight training makes stronger…
Resistance is Already There
…why don’t we think of Resistance in art and work the same way? We don’t even have to make it. It’s already there, working every day to make sure we don’t do what we’re supposed to do.
In meditation where each time you return wandering thoughts back to your breath, you make your presence muscle a little stronger. You don’t have work and wondering your thoughts. You have to work to bring them back.
Our work is the same way. We don’t have to work to set up obstacles between daily practicing the things that we want to practice daily. Those things find us.
Every time we do what Resistance tries to keep us from doing, we get stronger.
Every time, we sit down at the computer, piano or canvas, right next to Resistance, and do our work, we get stronger.
Everything else we want to do instead of what we should do is Resistance. So just like letting go of critical thoughts and returning focus to our breath when we meditate, let’s let go of wanting to reorganize the closet again and do some work.
Maybe that’s why a typical meditation session is so effective. It’s great practice for forgiving yourself, then moving on to something productive.
In those previous few sentences, I used, “let’s let” and “for for…” Lettuce let fore four!
Don’t try or even hope to try to avoid Resistance. Try this instead.
Push it. Pull it. Pick it up and walk around the room with it.
“Dance with it.”
Get your work done, then put the Resistance back on its shelf.
Don’t let Resistance be something you fight–or avoid–to make your life easier. Let it be something you use to make yourself stronger.
Every time we do our work, we get stronger. We get better. Every day we do our work consistently, that strength and skill compounds. Remember how the compound effect works. The improvements are super slight and unnoticeable at first. With consistency and diligence, the rate of improvement and progress increases at an increasing rate.
Thank it, aka, Gratitude
Whatever it is holding you back or making you procrastinate, it is just Resistance. It’s what makes you stronger.
Be thankful for that.
Would we waste any time working out if it didn’t make us stronger? Probably not.
The same is true for creative work. Resistance makes you stronger at a job you have to do. It also strengthens your overall resolve and grit for other things you want to try.
After we use Resistance to strengthen our skills and resolve. Let’s thank it.
Plus, it’s gratitude. Practicing gratitude contributes to Happiness.
- The first, daily step of the Five Minute Journal app is listing three things for which you’re thankful.
- In his book Sleep Smarter, Shawn Stevenson recommends a Gratitude Journal as part of an evening ritual to help us sleep better.
- Here are 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude.
When I sat down this morning, my mind was like pancake batter. I really just wanted to go to that job I don’t want to go to and not write. I said to myself, “Shayne….”
I call myself Shayne. You can call me Shayne too. Not Shaynetoo or Shayne II. You can also call me Shayne.
I said to myself, “Shayne, just 30 minutes.“
I daresay this was a well spent 30 minutes.
I daresay just use “daresay” again!
What do you think of the concept of using Resistance on purpose in your creative work? What do you think of my concept of being thankful for Resistance?
Give it a shot and please come by and share in the comments how and if it worked out for you.