If you’re engaged in any type of creative or meaningful work, you’re bound to meet some form of resistance. It takes shape in many ways: people who sap your energy, or others who don’t appreciate your craft. Perhaps you lack a clear sense of purpose and direction. Sometimes the resistance takes root in your own existence, and you become your own worst enemy. In the face of these challenges, how do you overcome it all, and beat the resistance?
Try this: identify what makes you feel guilty.
More often than not, the things that are keeping you distracted from doing your best work (the work we all need), take shape in a very devious form of resistance. Instead of outright challenging you to do something meaningful, the resistance takes hold of your time and consumes precious minutes from your day. You can easily identify what activities are getting between you and your best work by those activities that make you feel the most guilty.
Do you regret watching four hours of television a night? Meet the resistance.
You need to be clear: not all things occupying your time do so in the shape of resistance. There are many activities and events that do not directly contribute to your best work. Do you enjoy spending time with your family? Strengthening relationships with people that matter is NOT a form of resistance.
Unfortunately, many of us creatives seem to get the meaningful and the resistance confused: we spend hours wasting away on entertainment searching for a muse while neglecting the people that matter to us. In some strange twist, we might even blame our family from distracting us from our great work all while embracing activities that waste of time.
This is wrong.
You should never feel guilty about spending time with family and others who matter. You should always feel guilty about doing things which allow the resistance to take hold of your time and keep you from your best work.
Once you understand what actually qualifies as resistance, and once you actually give “it” a name, it becomes very clear what you must do (and not do) in order to overcome the challenge it presents. Once you pay attention, the strangle the resistance has on your time begins to loosen.
Are you paying attention to what makes you feel guilty?