I've been avoiding a lot of work for knowledge entrepreneurs this week. I kept myself busy, working in—probably too much—detail on a big Trickle update that went live yesterday.
I noticed again and again how I avoided work on ideas and todos that I had scheduled, like writing tweets and new articles. I felt a lot of Resistance with capital R.
If you read the book The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield you know what I mean by this. The book is a must-read for every creative, which includes you. The author wonderfully describes the feeling that we all know but struggle to justify.
It was brought back to me in a recent interview of Pressfield in the Tim Ferriss podcast. There he described Resistancelike this:
...in my book The War of Art, I talk about the concept of resistance with a capital R, which is again, that force of self-sabotage is a big theme in my life, that will try to stop you as a writer or an artist or anybody from achieving your best work, from following your calling, will try to distract you, undermine your self-confidence, make you procrastinate, make you quit, make you give in to fear, or on the other hand, make you such a perfectionist that you spend all day on one paragraph and you accomplish nothing.
You'll notice Resistance creeping up when you enter new territory. Especially once you start losing momentum. When enthusiasm wears off and things start to get harder. Or when you are just not in a good mood and a little vulnerable.
The rational part of your mind starts assessing the situation and sure doesn't like what it sees. It wants to keep you safeand steer you away from potential harm. Uncertainty is always bad news for this rational and conservative thinker. So you'll find all kinds of doubts appearing in your head. All of them leading to the one and only logical conclusion that the best way forward is to stop and quickly return back to safety.
The problem with creative work is that it is never safe. Your best work will always push boundaries. It is scary and uncertain by default. Hence we don't have a choice.
Resistance becomes a constant companion.
At altMBA we learned to use Resistance as a compass. It can show us exactly where the interesting path is, that leads us to the most value. Instead of avoiding it, we should move towards Resistance, approaching it head-on.
You can actually hear it in the stories of people further down the road. People you regard as successful today. In hindsight, they often share their Resistance stories, of doubts and uncertainty and how they stumbled forward into the unknown. Looking back, these moments made all the difference for their success.
In the very same Tim Ferriss interview, Tim describes some of his doubts based on a recent interview he gave:
...he read a few paragraphs from The 4-Hour Workweek, and here’s what you can probably guess. Here’s what I thought to myself. “Goddamn, I have done nothing but become worse at writing since I was 29. For fuck’s sake, what am I doing with my life?" [...] for whatever reason, the pixie dust has been lost. Or that I’ve atrophied, I’ve so let the muscles atrophy that I’m past the point of no return. Have you ever contended with this?
Being expert in this matter, Pressfield replied with a quick assessment (emphasize mine):
So I would say for sure, Tim, that thought that you have is bullshit. It’s Resistance. It’s totally Resistance. There’s nothing wrong with you. You haven’t lost any pixie dust. That is pure Resistance. It’s finding a weak spot in you. It just knows it.
There you have it. Even with millions of followers, millions in the bank, and a track record of success, Resistance doesn't leave. It is there for Tim, for Stephen and it will be there for you.
And this can be good news! It explains how normal it is to have doubts and fears. Like rainy days, your encounters with Resistance serve a purpose. They are a sign that you are on the right track.
And it's going to be just fine ✨🌈
Prompt :: A prompt
Where are you currently feeling the most resistance in your life? Is it a particular task, a project, a conversation with someone that is overdue? Use it as a compass and tackle this task head-on. Know that you are not alone in this and that this is just the way it feels to do something meaningful. Do it and let me know how it turned out for you?
Stack :: Your Writing Coach for Better Copy (Hemingway Editor)
Writing copy for a website or an important email is very different from writing just any text. When you want to convey an effective message every word counts. Long sentences are too complex. It is so much better to be on point. Like here. You get the idea! The Hemingway editor is my tool of choice when I write a text that matters. Ruthlessly it points out where sentences are getting too long or where I use vague language. It always feels like it improves my language when I'm done. It is free to use online in the browser. Try it out. You'll love it!
Profile :: Coffee and Books and an Expert Curator (Patrick Tanguay)
Patrick is part of my small elite of newsletter experts that consistently impress me with their work. In a weekly newsletter Sentiers Newsletter, Patrick features his finds from the web on a variety of topics. It is not only the quality of the links he shares but especially his insightful comments and highlights that make reading his newsletter so rewarding for me. It is a relatively new format of media that works splendidly for me to uncover gems from the web. If you are interested in tech, the future, and culture at large, I highly encourage you to subscribe and watch Patrick doing his magic.
Small Bits from Around the Web
- Rise of the media artisan (isa.substack.com)- you know how I prefer knowledge entrepreneur over solopreneur or digital creative but media artisan is a good one, too!
- What working from home looks like around the world (restofworld.org) - watching these pictures gives you a sense of how similar we work all around the world these days
- The Superhuman Guide to Twitter Advanced Search (buffer.com) - everyone should get familiar with this hidden Twitter option to do proper research on anfy topic.
I wish all of us to happily overcome our Resistance this week ✨
PS: I started an experiment in mentorship. I am going to help an up-and-coming knowledge entrepreneur in weekly sessions to reach his goals. If you'd be interested in weekly 1-on-1 sessions with me to advance your own knowledge entrepreneur journey, reply with a short message.