11 Situations That Commonly Elicit Resistance

I have been a fan of Steven Pressfield since I first read The War of Art. He wrote about the roadblocks that keep us from fulfilling our creative potential. He referred to these collectively as “The Resistance.”

As a writer and speaker, that resonated with me. Every time I sat down to create, I squared off against this internal, malevolent force. Pressfield gave me a name for it, along with the tools I needed to defeat it.

I went on to read several of his books, including Do the Work, which we gave to all of our Platform Conference attendes last February, and Turning Pro. All three of these books are outstanding.

That’s why I was especially excited to hear that Oprah interviewed Pressfield for her “Super Soul Saturday” show. You can watch the entire interview here. If you are a creative, it is well-worth taking the time to watch it.

One of the most interesting parts of interview was their discussion of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance. He mentions these eleven in The War of Art:

  1. The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
  2. The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
  3. Any diet or health regimen.
  4. Any program of spiritual advancement.
  5. Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals.
  6. Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.
  7. Education of every kind.
  8. Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.
  9. The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.
  10. Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.
  11. The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity.

He goes onto say that “any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity … will elicit Resistance” (p. 7). That’s certainly been my experience.

In the interview, Pressfield offers several suggestions for doing battle with the Resistance. He elaborates further in The War of Art.

When he began writing the book, he assumed it would only be useful to writers. But as he got into it, he realized everyone faces Resistance at some level. That’s true for me. I’ll bet it’s true for you.

Question: Where are you facing the Resistance in your life right now?