Somewhere in the midst of day 45 of a 48 day project, it happened. I should have been ready for it, because it always happens, but my confession is it hit me like a ton of bricks. Steven Pressfield, in his book The War of Art, calls it the resistance. Essentially it’s this voice that pops up and says, “Who are you to do (whatever it is you’re doing)?” It strikes nearly every creative project on a seek and destroy mission to keep you, the creative person, stuck, unproductive and not moving forward. The resistance is awful, and it’s a lying voice that needs to be silenced.
For me it went this way. “Who are you to tell people how to create a better life? After all you haven’t made it yet. You’re not rich. You’re not famous.” From there it goes downhill all the way to “You have nothing to offer. This project was a mistake. Quit!” Here’s the thing. I confessed all of this on day one. I didn’t position this project as “Hey, I’m a huge success, follow my ten easy steps and become a mega-bazillionaire!” Instead I said “Join me on a journey, to creating something better.” I didn’t even define what something better was, because that is an individual choice. Instead I shared what I am doing and principles that will help you to get where you want to be. The truth is, only you can define what your better life looks like. By this point, the people who were in this looking for the easy route to wealth and fame have probably given up. Anyone who is still with me at this stage of the journey is probably part of the audience I sought in the first place—people seeking to do the work of creating something better. For me to give up now would have been to let a lot of good people down.
That’s exactly what the resistance desires. To stop good things, and good people, in their tracks, by asking “Who are you?” and “What’s the use?” The resistance is the guardian of the status quo at best and diabolical at worst. It kills great ideas, knocks down great solutions to great problems and strangles dreams. It makes problems seem insurmountable and it makes us feel too small to do what it takes. The resistance is to be resisted and on the other side of resistance, great things happen. Do not let it stop you.
Vincent Van Gogh, the great artist once said, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” This is how to defeat the resistance. You do what that negative voice says you cannot do until it shuts up and goes away. So let’s answer that question once and for all. Who are you? Well you might be the person who makes things better. You might be the person that makes a difference. You might even be the one who changes the world. You have within you the ability to at least help one person and maybe many people. You’ve got a story to be told. You’ve got a battle to be won. My faith says you were created on purpose to do good things that were prepared in advance for you, by a creator who loves you sacrificially. (Ephesians 2:10) There is a real purpose in your life and a real resistance that comes against you and that purpose. Resist it and live.
Who are you? You’re someone creating a better life, maybe even, in some big or small way, a better world.
Fight the resistance!