Have you ever dreamed of achieving something and failed to follow through?
Have you found it's easier to check Facebook rather than start that diet or gym regime?
Have you found it's easier to look at porn than sort out issues in a relationship?
Have you ever wallowed in boredom rather than start your next project?
What's stopping us?
I believe we're in a battle, and it's going on within our souls. We're trapped in mediocrity, laziness and self-sabotage, and most of us don't know why! In his book War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls this irresistible force 'resistance'.
The conflict goes like this:
I want to start a non-for profit, but I can't get the funding.
I want to land a business deal, but I'll wait for them to get back to me.
I want to write my thesis/book/blog/article, but hey, look at that cat video.
I want to finish a painting, but I've got more important things to do.
I want to write my next song, but this game on my phone is really addictive.
I want to get out of bed, but it's so warm.
Whatever you should be doing, the 'but' stopping us is the voice of inner resistance plaguing us all.
We're born creative
Whether you're an entrepreneur, a social worker, builder or you like to sew, we are all made to operate out of a deep passion.
Our subconscious knows, our inner child knows, deep down we all know we're made for something nobler and more poetic than the mundane.
Some might call it following your heart—when you start you'll connect your true self to the material world.
Think of a world where everyone works from their God-given talents: counselling would become obsolete, and so would prisons. We'd be busy living.
Time becomes irrelevant
Like a child playing in the sandpit, you call him for dinner and he looks up unaware of how much time has passed. That child is not looking at the clock, he's indulging his inner creative, and when we do the same we'll only look at the clock and wish we had more time to finish our project!
Fear and resistance
We're terrified to be successful because resistance is winning.
Some of us recognise this resistance as procrastination and sometimes it's subtly dressed up as rationalisation. We can easily talk ourselves out of our dreams come the morning: 'Who will pay the bills!' 'What will 'they' think?'
Resistance wants us to stake our livelihood on the praise of others, because it knows this fuel can't be sustained. When we rely on the affirmation of others we'll never be our true self.
Simply raise your head above the wall of humdrum existence, and someone will shoot. The world has always rejected the prophet and the visionary.
The big fear
Our biggest fear is so counter intuitive you won't believe me when you read it. You've probably heard it said before: we're afraid we'll actually succeed! We're afraid that when we listen to that small, still voice we might just achieve something great.
We know deep down that we'll have to follow through and do the hard yards once we step out and start. We fear our true potential because we know it'll require sacrifice.
We assume we'll lose friends, have to change jobs, move towns or continents, learn how to pay tax and hire more staff to make this thing happen. We tell ourselves, 'It'll all be so different, so unchartered, uncomfortable and unsafe'.
Can you imagine Michelangelo as a young boy in Italy, getting his artistic essence supressed by resistance and the jealous wannabes around him? If he didn't follow his painting dreams and paint the Sistine Chapel then the Vatican would have hired someone else!
What is someone else doing right now, that you were meant to do?
Consider stories where someone gets diagnosed with cancer, and spends their final days finishing their long put off doctorate! Maybe they sell up and travel, write a book or climb a mountain!
Don't wait for the right time, and certainly don't wait for cancer!
There's nothing harder than starting. When I come to write each month I know that coming up with a plan is easy, having a dream comes while you sleep, but starting to type is the mission.
Resistance laughs in your face when you say, 'I'll start tomorrow'. Once your brush hits the canvas, once you make that first call, once you apply for that grant and get off the couch the rest will follow.
William H. Murray sums it up beautifully:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too ...Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
Brad Mills enjoys the outdoors and almost any sport... For a day job he's a journalist who works at Rhema Media in Auckland New Zealand.
Brad Mill's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/brad-mills.html