Blueprint >> Resistance

Disclaimer: This document is in raw form as I process and distill 4 years-worth of my personal development notes. Expect some typos and cryptic language for now. I will be updating frequently and polishing up.

Prescription: Understand how you create resistance and ways to overcome it.
Related Concepts: Sedona Method, Be a Creator

What is Resistance?

The agitating feeling of not wanting to take action on something important.

Why is it Important?

You will encounter resistance in pursue your life purpose and doing anything worthwhile. Without understanding resistance, you will self-sabotage your creative efforts and be very frustrated.

Resistance Videos

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Coach Leo Gura
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Resistance: Key Points

Resistance is your body' s and mind's inertia, or tendency to preserve your current state, even if your current state is negative. Your body wants to be in homeostasis — maintaining your past level of balance. Your mind generates resistance by creating excuses for why you can't or shouldn't do something. Your lower lizard brain just cares about survival and security. Your higher, conscious brain has ambitions, but the lizard brain takes priority.

"The solution is to create an environment in which the lizard brain snoozes. Seduce your lizard brain to let you create art." — Seth Godin

The key to success: activating your conscious mind precisely when it wants to let the lizard brain take over. This is the core difference between winners and losers. And this is HARD. Are you sitting down and doing your work every day?

Your mind is the greatest excuse-making machine in the world. It will come up with very plausible excuses for why you can't or shouldn't do something. Resistance is the force that simply stops you from doing work that will lead to meaningful change. Resistance will generate procrastination, illness, excuses, limiting beliefs, etc. Resistance come from the fear of what changes may come and how your ego will have to adapt. Resistance wants you to stay comfortable and secure. Unfortunately that means you will stay the same, with all your imperfections uncorrected.

Situations that generate resistance:

  • Launching a business or organization, whether profit or non-profit
  • Any project intended to make money
  • Any diet or fitness plan
  • Any program of personal improvement or spiritual development
  • Any attempt to kick a bad habit or addiction
  • Education, whether in school, college, or self-study
  • Any enterprise intended to help others
  • Big commitments like: getting married, having kids, going back to school, changing careers
  • Any calling in the creative fields or arts, especially: writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any other creative art
  • Taking a principled stand in the face of adversity
  • Whenever to start to think that you have to, must, or should do anything.

Being a perfectionist is a sure way to generate resistance. A perfectionist will put a lot of pressure on himself to deliver great results, and do it on the first attempt. Obviously this creates massive resistance. Think of how scary it would feel to have to sit down to write your first book and make it a best-seller, all in one iteration. Now consider the alternative, you're just sitting down to play with words and catalogue ideas.

"The more scared you are of your work or calling, the more right it is for you to do it."

Examples of resistance in action:

  • Putting off getting started because you "need" a degree or certification
  • Delaying sitting down to write because you remembered you forgot to turn the lights off in the other room
  • Not starting a business because you haven't done enough research yet
  • Over-planning to the point where you never get started
  • Not quitting smoking because now's not a good time, the situation at work is rough
  • Not quitting a job you've decided to quit because that juicy holiday bonus is coming up
  • Stopping work on your project because you're already done a lot for today
  • Taking a bathroom break 5 minutes after sitting down at the computer
  • Quitting because your work sucks
  • Quitting because your work has lost its excitement
  • Checking your email to see if you got a response
  • Going to lunch 60 minutes early
  • aking a day off because you're "not in the mood"
  • Getting an irritable bowl or feeling feverish before an important business meeting

Sit down and do your fucking work — that is the key to it all and no one can do that for you. That is why most people do not succeed at anything, they never sit down consistently. It takes emotional labor to do creative work, and it takes added emotional labor to do it consistently, in the face of obstacles like lack of support, feelings of inadequacy, fears of failure and embarrassment.

The tricky thing about resistance is differentiating the valid excuses from the invalid ones. There are two ways to approach this:

  • You can call everything an excuse and just force yourself to do your work.
  • You can recognize that there are valid and invalid excuses, and that your mind fucks with you by blurring the lines. You need to fight your mind by setting boundaries.

Either way you still need to do your work. But calling everything an excuse is too simple-minded. The fact is, your life is about balancing priorities. You need to create focus. The worst thing that happens is you get so distracted and out of control that you lose sight of the horizon. If you know what you're trying to master, if you know what your work is, if you set up block time to work on it, if you carefully observe your behavior patterns and journal about them, you will be able to differentiate between valid and invalid excuses. There is no one rule-of-thumb, you have to develop a sense of judgment through repeated failings.

Two approaches for dealing with resistance:

  • Increase pressure: Push your way through, build macro-momentum, stay vigilant against excuses and slacking off.
  • Decrease pressure: Take the pressure off yourself, use Sedona Method to release, keep using it to dissolve future resistance.

Top ways to combat resistance:

  • Decide and write down exactly what it is that you're mastering over the next 10 years and why it's important to you.
  • Be very clear about which aspects of your work are the work, and which ones are the frivolous.
  • Schedule 1-2 hour blocks of time where no one can interrupt you.
  • Do your work early in the day, when your willpower is strongest.
  • Just show up. Don't worry about the quality of the work. Make a habit of showing up and staying the full day, even if you don't create anything great or you're not in the mood.
  • Have a warm-up procedure for building micro-momentum every day. Maybe to take your coffee, read your journal, create a daily task list, and then pick the easiest thing on it and start working. Baby step it.
  • When you're just starting a new project:
    • Be easy on yourself, don't expect a full day's work right off the bat.
    • Detach yourself from the results, focus only on process.
    • Build up macro-momentum.
    • Put extra focus and attention on consistency those first few weeks or months, because that is your number biggest pitfall. If you are going to screw up, it will be because you quit.
  • Write a manifesto what you can turn to for support when you feel like quitting.
  • Set proper expectations. How long does it take other people to succeed at this? What can you reasonably expect, and how fast can you expect it?
  • Use Sedona Method to let go of the resistance. Stop trying to change how you're feeling and just sit in the discomfort and anxiety.

Resistance is generated whenever you start to think that you MUST do something, or you're told to do something. When you make things obligation, you generate massive resistance. Sedona Method talks about this. The solution is:

  • Acknowledge that you're feeling resistance in your body.
  • Allow the feeling to remain. It's okay. Be okay with feeling bad for a bit. Stop trying to change how you feel.
  • Use the Sedona Method 3 questions
  • Remind yourself of why you want to do this work. Tell yourself that you don't have to do it and really mean it. You need to generate positive motivation again. Think about what made you excited for this work in the first place.
  • Release your resistance to doing a thing, and on the flip side, to not doing the thing.

According to Sedona, things we tend to resist include:

  • Important things you believe you have to do.
  • Things other people have told you to do.
  • People (even loved ones).
  • Mundane maintenance tasks like: dishes, garbage, brushing teeth, working out.
  • Certain sensations like bright lights, noises, smells, annoying voices, etc.
  • Unpleasant feelings
  • How your body looks or feels


  1. The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
  2. The Sedona Method, Hale Dwoskin
  3. Linchpin, Seth Gobin
  4. Mastery, George Leonard
Coach Leo Gura
Hire me as your coach. Super-charge your life. Email me now!
  • Redesign your life to align with your purpose
  • Mindsets and tools for exceptional success