How Do You Manage “The Resistance”?
It was a typical Saturday morning run. I slipped out of my warm and comfortable home while the rest of my family slept soundly in bed. It was chilly, but bearable. I wasn’t sure what to wear as it wasn’t so cold that I needed to cover my head and wear heavy gloves, but it wasn’t warm enough to head out in just shorts and a shirt.
I decided on a long sleeve shirt and sweats and determined I would run six miles. The traffic was light and the sun crested the horizon. I could feel the light breeze on my back as I started my watch and began my run, at the protest of my cold and tired muscles.
The first three miles were pleasant, in fact, I felt pretty good. I logged each mile with ease and was feeling good about my run, until I turned around at the halfway point to head home and log the last three miles.
The wind hit my face hard and invaded my peace. The wind was at my back during the first three miles and I couldn’t feel it, but now I was fully aware of it as it rudely introduced itself. A gust challenged my pace and forced me to shorten my stride and slow my pace. I winced at the resistance and leaned into the wind and began to prepare my mind for a much harder three miles.
The wind was relentless and frustrating. I shifted my gaze from the horizon and stared at the ground and concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and pumped my arms harder as I attempted to fight the wind with every step. My heart raced, and sweat poured down my back. It seemed like each mile took an eternity and I couldn’t wait to finish this horrid run as my frustrations grew and patience deteriorated with each gust of wind that mockingly smacked me in the face.
Eventually, I finished the sixth mile and I slowed to a walk, sweat dripping off my chin as I leaned over to catch my breath. I was happy the run was over, but I was thrilled that I overcame the wind and finished my run.
Wind and hills are the two primary enemies of a runner. They are the resistance that challenges a runner and his commitment to the journey. Just as the wind challenges the runner, life challenges the living.
It’s called “the resistance”, which is anything that threatens your momentum and forces you to ponder quitting in order to ease the burden. The resistance is predictable and never ceases to show up at the most horrible times. It shows up when you’re tired. It frustrates you when you’re not sure what to do next. It’s a constant nuisance that we all must endure if we wish to continue our journey on a path towards anything of meaning and significance.
I don’t know why this is the case, I just know that resistance is a part of life and something we all must overcome if we seek success. Resistance comes in many forms. It’s a difficult boss, a health issue, mechanical issue with your car, a financial setback, it’s anything that holds you back from moving forward. So how do we overcome resistance?
Here are three practices to consider:
- Maintain perspective – This is achieved by remembering your “why?” The reason you are on the journey in the first place. If you don’t have a definitive “why?” established, then you will crumble at the first sight of resistance. Define your “why?” and you will become resistance proof.
- Get focused – There will be times on your journey that you will need to cut down the distractions and focus all your energy on the journey in order to fight resistance. These are called “seasons” of life. When I was a father of young kids my resistance became late night diaper changes, puke stained clothes, and sleep deprived days. I had to get focused if I wanted to continue on my path. What do you focus on? Focus on the fundamentals of your journey and simplify your life until the resistance subsides. Identify the basic tenants of success on your particular journey and focus on the basic elements that will get you there and set aside the rest, for now.
- Slow down – You cannot maintain a normal pace when resistance smacks you in the face, and that’s okay. Don’t stop, keep the momentum, just accept that you will move slower for awhile in order to ride out the storm. This is hard to accept, but patience must be your companion as you fight to overcome the resistance in your life. Remember, just as the wind is temporary, so is the resistance and it must eventually yield to you. Just keep moving.
Success isn’t easy. The resistance will challenge you often and test your mettle, but as long you lean into life and keep moving forward, the resistance will eventually fade and you will find your success and it will be worth it, because you paid the price to achieve it. What’s “the resistance” in your life right now? What are you doing to overcome it?