Resistance: The Biggest Obstacle To Success

18 Jan

“Most of us have two lives. The one we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.”  ~ Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art.

Resistance is the inner force that distracts us and prevents us from doing an important work. It is one of the biggest obstacles in achieving our dreams and it stands in the way of our greatness. Most of us never express our talents because of resistance. UK’s leading coach and author Nick Williams estimates that about 80% of human talent and potential goes unrealised because of people’s resistance.

Resistance shows up when we want to do something more meaningful and important.

See if you relate to any of the following:

  • You dream of writing a novel but you do not write it,
  • You want to leave your boring job and work on something you love but you don’t do anything about it,
  • You buy a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic,
  • You have an idea for a great business but you do not start it,
  • You have an inner dialogue that operates to sabotage even the best planned projects,
  • You procrastinate,
  • You play small,
  • You make excuses,
  • You hide,
  • You doubt,
  • You overthink,
  • You hesitate,
  • You start an important project but never finish it,
  • You come up with all kinds of reasons not to do the very thing you should be doing.

This is called “resistance”. Resistance works hard to sabotage our success, it prevents us from fulfilling our potential and realising our biggest dreams. It is so powerful that it scares us from doing what we most want to be doing. Resistance kills our inspired ideas and stops us from doing the work we were put on this planet to do. It is the enemy within us.

Why are we faced with resistance when we want to make important changes in our lives? Because our ego is threatened when we want to change the status quo. The ego wants to stay in the comfort zone in order to maintain a sense of being in control. It likes what is familiar, therefore pulls us back into our old comfort zone like a giant magnet.

Resistance operates in many different ways. It might look like any or all of the following:

  • Procrastination (It’s not the right time / I’ll do it tomorrow / I have more important things to do today)
  • Laziness (I just don’t feel like doing this right now)
  • Lack of time (I am excessively busy)
  • Confusion (This is too complicated)
  • Perfectionism (My post is not good enough so I won’t publish it)
  • Excessive need for information (I’ll do it after I’ve read ten more books)
  • Undervaluing oneself (I’m not good enough to succeed in this)
  • Internal distractions (Let me check Facebook first)
  • Despair (I’ll never make it)

Resistance shows up when when we want to do something more meaningful / really important. It is an excellent teacher because it shows us our life’s purpose and where we need to go to do bigger and more meaningful things.

Resistance is so powerful that it will keep us from creating the life of our dreams if we don’t recognise it and learn to manage it. In my next post we’ll be looking at some of the ways to overcome resistance.


Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Resistance


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4 responses to “Resistance: The Biggest Obstacle To Success

  1. Eric Mieles

    January 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Very true and also very important that Steven was able to give it a name so that we all have a reference point for when it appears. Seth expanded a little in his book “Linchpin” stating we all have a “Lizard Brain” and part of our brain has this reptilian flight or fight response.

    For that reason it will respond in times when we face a challenge or think about doing something that may disrupt our “Normal” way of life.

    Great post. Try reading “Do the Work” by Steven Pressfield as well.

    • Ebru Ulufer

      January 25, 2012 at 2:31 am

      Thank you Eric for your comment, I appreciate it. “Do The Work” is already in my reading list and I have now added “Linchpin” in the list following your recommendation. It looks like a great read, thanks! 🙂

  2. Faizan

    January 25, 2012 at 3:50 am

    I really love this post. Thanks for writing it. I am still learning how to keep up and keep going with the dream I have dreamed and keep executing it. Its funny I some how feel that really there are three types of people. One who are just trained to do what everyone does. They want to keep doing normal things in life and seems like have no dream or may be they are just not listening to inner self. Second, who have a dream and as you mentioned above they get prioritize normal things over their dreams. Third those are the crazy one who dream and execute and don’t give up. They are the one who keep doing what they love and achieve their dream and make it to reality.

    • Ebru Ulufer

      January 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      Hi Faizan, thank you for your comment. Sadly most people do not have big dreams because they underestimate their own abilities. Also, dreaming is often discouraged by the society, which is another reason why many people settle for mediocrity. I’m glad to read that you have a dream which you are pursuing. I’m wishing you all the best.
      p.s. Look out for my next blog post where I will give some tips on how to overcome resistance.


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