Here’s a quote from one of my favourite coffee table reads, Steven Pressfields’, ‘The War of Art,’ a book that really re-think my relationship with procrastination among other things. In the book, the term ‘resistance’ is used to basically encompass the latter, along with any other creative blocks and battles; to thing things that stop us from being successful in whatever that means to us.
One of the big-hitters for me when it comes to these aforementioned blocks, is self-sabotage. The higher I climb, the more I veer towards the edge. As such, I really loved this quote from Pressfields on the subject of preparation:
“The professional is prepared at a deeper level. He is prepared, each day, to confront his own self-sabotage. The professional understands that Resistance is fertile and ingenious. It will throw stuff at him that he’s never seen before.
The professional prepares mentally to absorb blows and to deliver them. His aim is to take what the day gives him. His is prepared to be prudent and prepared to be reckless, to take a beating when he has to, and to go for the throat when he can. He understands that the field alters every day. His goal is not victory (success will come by itself when it wants to) but to handle himself, his insides, as sturdily and steadily as he can.”
To me, this goes back to that issue of control in part; of letting go of what we can’t control – to ‘take what the day gives’ you. But it’s also about thinking ahead to those situations where you’re in danger of making a poor choice, despite your underlying best intentions; to develop a planned response to whatever your brain might throw at you.
For example, despite my lowered expectations at this time of year, I’m still facing numerous moments throughout each day when I could slip, fall, or dive over the cliff; where a passing moment of boredom, anxiety or overwhelm, could lead me to initiate my own private one-woman Mince Pie eating contest.
Luckily, for me, I have heard this before. So i can go to a range of pre-prepared mental responses….
that I have Jiu Jitsu later, and if I eat a ton of crap food, I’ll feel absolutely terrible when I go. I’ll be slow and lethargic. I’ll feel sick. I’ll be extra negative. And I’ll be a crappy partner to roll with. At the same time, knowing what kind of buzz I can get from a class works in the other way; I want to have that good feeling and I don’t want to do anything to dampen it. I’m basically exploring the pleasure of not falling into a bad habit, and the pain that will occur if I do.
I used to tell myself that I shouldn’t binge eat my emotions because it was a ‘grotesque’ thing to do. But this argument only fed the part of me that wanted to self-sabotage; that believed that I wasn’t worth any more.
As Steven Pressfields points out, Resistance is a solid opponent. But you are better.
Aside from anything else, you have the advantage of forward planning.
Don’t waste it.