In this episode, I talk about resistance, or more specifically resisting resistance.
I recently read a couple of books by author Steven Pressfield. The first is The War of Art, the War of Art. And the second is Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be. I became very enamored of this resistance thing, which both of these books are largely about. In his mind, resistance is the thing that we all need to be able to overcome, or to achieve not only what we want, but to keep what we have.
Pressfield describes resistance as a very powerful force, like a gravitational-like power force, sort of; its sole mission is to keep us from achieving what we want to achieve, keep us distracted from achieving what we want to achieve.
We all know about this thing called resistance – we might call it different things, we call it laziness, we call it procrastination, we call it fear, we call it all of these things. And we all need to overcome it, whatever we call it.
I hope you enjoy this episode.
Full transcript below.
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Mike Malatesta 00:12
All right, Everybody, welcome back to this Friday’s solo episode of the “How’d It Happen” Podcast. Very happy to have you here. And today I’m going to talk about resistance, or more specifically resisting resistance. I’ve become very enamored with this resistance thing. After reading a couple of books by the author, Steven Pressfield, I read two of his two of his books recently. The first is The War of Art, the War of Art. And the second is Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be. Put your ass where your heart wants to be, which is a very provocative title. Both of those books are largely about this thing that Steven Pressfield calls resistance. And resistance in his mind is the thing that all of us need to be able to overcome, in order for us not just to achieve what we want, but to keep at what we want, until we get it. He sort of describes resistance as this unit, this very, very powerful force like a gravitational-like power force, for example, that well, its sole mission is to keep us from achieving what we want to achieve, to keep us distracted, or to give us reasons to be distracted from achieving what we want to achieve. And as I read the books, I thought to myself, this is something that all of us knows about, we call it different things, we call it laziness, we call it procrastination, we call it fear, we call it all of these things. And he sort of sums it all up in this very elegant, but maybe not elegantly-named, book.
So this package that he calls resistance, I’m going to read to you a little bit from the book, Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be, and you’ll get more of a sense of it. And maybe it’ll encourage you to think differently about your beyond, you know, the resistances in your life. Maybe it’ll help you think about how you can help people overcome resistance in their lives. Maybe it’ll make you want to pick up his books on Amazon and read them for yourself. Or maybe you want to reach out to me and talk about resistance, I’d be happy to have the conversation.
So, this is from the very beginning of the book, says a note to reader. “Who is this book for? What sort of person is a book called Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be for? It’s for writers and artists and actors and Instagram chefs and podcasters and filmmakers and choreographers and video game creators and every kind of entrepreneur. Whether your game is startups or nonprofits, or your new Thai fusion restaurant. In other words, it’s for everyone who is on their own in business or the arts. And for everyone who wants to be on their own, who dreams of being on their own. We all know how hard it is to write a book, make a movie or create a new business. Powerful forces line up against us, obstacles to entry rivals, competitors, finances, funding, the difficulty of the craft itself. But the most formidable antagonist of all, resides inside each of our own skulls. Talking about the negative force I call resistance with a capital R. What is resistance? It’s our own tendency, yours and mine and everyone’s to yield to procrastination, self-doubt, fear, impatience, self-inflation, self-denigration, distraction, laziness, arrogance, complacency and perfectionism. It’s our inability to focus, our incapacity to press on through adversity. It’s our terror of finishing and exposing our work to the judgment of the marketplace. It’s fear of failure. It’s fear of success, fear of humiliation, fear of destitution. It’s our inability to defer gratification, to acquire an act with self-discipline, self-validation, and self-reinforcement. Resistance is our tendency to self-sabotage, fail to start and fail to finish. In its most extreme forms, resistance expresses itself as vice and even crime, abuse of ourselves or others, cruelty, addiction to substances, diva-ism, compulsive self-dramatization, self-aggrandizement and self-diminishment. How do we defeat this monster that lives inside of all of us and never tires, never loses strength, never takes a day off, and is endlessly ruthless and protean and subtle and clever and diabolical in the ways it can get snares for us and bring our most noble and brilliant aspirations to nothing. How do we get past this force called resistance and set ourselves on the path to achieve our dreams? The title of this book, as we said, is Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be. That, in nine words, is my answer. It’s the simplest and most direct way to get up in the morning and do our work. And to lie down at night feeling at peace with ourselves. Knowing for this one day, at least, we have defeated our demons and moved 24 hours closer to living the true sell. And best self we were born to be. Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be, may sound glib and superficial at first, but believe me, its implications are profound, and its applications universal. We’ll start in this book with the purely physical interpretation. Ass meaning body, our flesh-and-blood presence. But as the chapters unfold, we’ll take the subject deeper and deeper into the psychological, the emotional, and metaphorical and even the spiritual dimensions of this principle.”
That’s how it starts. And as I was reading that ,I was reminded of this saying, and I think it was attributed to Teddy Roosevelt, but it’s something called The Man in the Arena. And part of it goes something like this — people who live their lives on the sidelines know neither victory nor defeat. And I thought about that, and then the resistance Steven described, and I thought that’s what keeps people out of the arena. Resistance. Right, because once you’re in the arena, and you’ve got, say, like a boxing-ring arena, and you’ve got those ropes around you, you’re in there, and there’s no getting out but getting in there in the first place. That can be kind of a challenge. So that visual, kind of like getting in the arena, keeping resistance out so if I can keep resistance as an observer, someone who’s in the audience, rather than someone who’s in the ring with me, or worse, someone that’s occupying the ring so that I am afraid to get in it. If I can do that, then it feels like, you know, I’m on the road to doing what the what Stephen says, which is, you know, to put my ass where my where my heart is.
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this. I was very interested in how he describes — and, really, he’s such a great writer — but in how he describes this whole concept of resistance and how powerful it is and what an excuse it is for all of us, to keep us from doing what we want to do, what we need to do sometimes, and frankly, what we’re meant to do, as well. So, I invite you to pick up the book, you can get his books on Amazon, you can get a free course from him on his website. That is helpful. He talks through the concepts of the book, I listened to a couple of those, I thought that was really helpful, but I guess most of all, just get in the arena, when you want to do something, get in the arena, put your ass where it needs to be and do the work, and you’d be amazed by what you can accomplish. At least I think you’d be amazed by what you can accomplish.
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. Before I leave, I just have to ask, first, if you like what I’m doing on the podcast, either my Monday episodes where I have conversations with high-performers and we get to dig really deep into you, know, how it happened for them, but more importantly, why it matters to you and what you can take away from it. And then these Friday episodes, I do the solo. I just talk about something that interests me, like this concept of resistance, Steven Pressfield books in this case. And other things that I think have either made me think about something differently or provided value to me that I could pass on like this book that and share those things. So if you like what I’m doing, please consider following me or subscribing on Apple podcast, or Spotify or, wherever you get your podcasts or enjoy your podcast, YouTube is available as well. And second, if you want to get more of my thinking, content that I don’t put onto the podcast, you can sign up for my newsletter. You can do that on my website, which is my name MikeMalatesta.com, and you will get every episode; they come out on Thursdays. It’s called the Inspire, Activate and Maximize Greatness Blog. And let me know what you think. If you like it, share it; if you don’t like it, let me know what you don’t like about it or what I could do differently, and I will do my best to provide you and everyone with as much value as I can. And that’s my goal in doing it.
So thank you so much for joining me for this episode and until next time, maximize your Greatness