Tuesday, July 31, 2007

i-TFTD #41: Two Lives and Resistance

Your Unlived Life
Every day we wake up, and, whether we know or appreciate it, we wage an invisible war against an unquenchable foe. This unseen enemy stands between the life we live and the unlived life within us. Fall victim to it as most do and mediocrity is your course. Overcome it and your glory will be the success and accomplishment that can only come with living your Unlived Life.

by Steven Pressfield (This is an excerpt of the article at http://www.nightingaleconant.com/ae_article.aspx?a=achievingyourunlivedlife&i=180&page=3)

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever resolved on a diet, a course of yoga, and then quit on it? Are you a writer who doesn't write, a painter who doesn't paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.

Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and dysfunction. Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine. We're not alone if we've been mown down by Resistance; millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us. And here's the biggest problem: We don't even know what hit us. I never did. From age 24 to 32, Resistance kicked my ass from East Coast to West and back again 13 times, and I never even knew it existed. I looked everywhere for the enemy and failed to see it right in front of my face.

Look into your own heart. Even though you've only read a few paragraphs into this article, unless I'm crazy, right now a still, small voice is piping up, telling you as it has 10 thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I'm crazy, you're no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn't real? Resistance will bury you!

You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At 18 he took his inheritance, 700 kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement, but I'll say it anyway: It was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.

Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. It is experienced as a force field emanating from a work-in-potential. It's a repelling force. It's negative. Its intention is to shove the creator away, distract him, sap his energy, incapacitate him.

If Resistance wins, the venture doesn't get started.
Resistance seems to come from outside ourselves. We locate it in spouses, jobs, bosses, kids, distractions. "Peripheral opponents," as Pat Riley used to say when he coached the Los Angeles Lakers. Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.

At some point in our maturity about life and the universe, we have to strike the right balance between aspiring for further progress and accepting our own limitations. Of course these limits can be transcended but only through our own actions. Small steps forward are much better than grand visions or vague yearnings.

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