This one has a lot of names and he can be a real jerk. For tonight we will call him Resistance. Have I written about The War of Art yet? No? It’s probably because this little asshole stopped me. In The War Of Art, Stephen Pressfield describes in detail the force that prevents us from doing the work we’re supposed to do, and oh man can I identify. Pressfield labels this negative power “Resistance” and spends the first third of his book cataloging the enemy’s traits and strategies, before he gets down to advising how to turn pro and do the work anyway. But we’re not talking about Pressfield in this piece, we’re talking about the manifestation of Resistance embodied in this red, cigarette smoking rabbit.
Resistance is the voice telling me I shouldn’t be writing this right now because it sucks. He pretty much thinks everything sucks. And he’s right just often enough to be convincing. But it’s easy to dismiss that voice, especially when the piece isn’t done and there’s time to make it better. Well, most days it’s possible to dismiss that voice. Sometimes he convinces me that what I’m working on sucks, everything else sucks, and I suck. Thankfully, those days are rare. But Resistance is at least as smart as Sherlock, and as creative as Paintboy, and he never seems to give up.
He’s got that worldly, grizzled look that demands respect. With his smoke and his stubble, he has the air of someone who has seen a lot and knows what he’s talking about. But he’s three inches tall, who’s he kidding? The posturing of ennui and cynicism is often a defense mechanism to keep from being open and feeling exposed. Still, he can present a convincing case that most things are not worth doing. “Writing about your weird projections on vinyl toys? Really?”
And when he can’t convince me that I’m not good enough or the task isn’t important enough, he changes tactics again. Sure, the work might be worth doing, but it doesn’t have to happen right now. Ah yes, procrastination, your friend and mine. Resistance loves making me procrastinate. Just one more episode of Archer, then I’ll write that essay. I’m probably going food shopping tomorrow and cook the rest of the week, so I can order in tonight. Why not add a slice of red velvet? I can play a few rounds of that sweet cyborg unicorn game on my phone, and then I’ll look for a better job. Resistance gets me distracted with some imaginary future while he seizes the present moment.
I’ve been trying to keep a balanced approach to this personality series, but I can’t see the bright side on this guy. Maybe he’s funny sometimes? But it’s the soul-sucking, bitter comedy of late Carlin, where’s there’s no redemption or compassion. Maybe working against him builds character or something? I don’t know. It’s getting late and wrestling this little demon has gotten me tired. Don’t let his cute looks and his demure stature lull you into a false sense of confidence, this guy means business. I fought him back enough to write tonight’s post, but he’ll be waiting for me when it’s time to write tomorrow’s.
I know I said I was done with Pressfield until a later essay, but he has a quote that perfectly summarizes Resistance:
“Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.”