Be careful about how much power you give to the concept of “Resistance.” I appreciate how Steven Pressfield writes about it and uses it, but an overuse sets up the situation in which anytime we don’t want to do something, it’s Resistance at fault.

Understanding Resistance as an external force obscures the fact that we, ourselves, are the root of resistance. It’s our stories that place the weight on us. It’s our reactions and misperceptions that create the very monsters we then claim need slaying.

It’s us.

I’ve shared the following quote from the Tao Te Ching before in You Are Not Your Past:

The places where the troops camp //
thistles and thorns grow.

The line is not about troops and armies per se. It’s an observation that negative energy and violence rest upon some type of ground – whether that ground is physical, emotional, social, mental, or spiritual – and the only growth that happens there comes from the scrappiest things. Roses don’t last long being trampled by marching armies.

When we accept that the army that is Resistance is mustered by us, we understand that we are the root of Resistance. It’s then not a question of beating it, but instead a question of not nourishing it and of letting it pass so the ground can be refreshed.

Our true and best creative work doesn’t happen when we force it – it happens when we allow it to emerge and give it space. It may be true that that space needs some fighting for, but your creative force isn’t something that you whip into submission. It’s something that, when tapped, you’ll have a hell of a time keeping up with.

Next time you find yourself demotivated or trying to force the creative process, check to make sure that it’s not some story, perception, desire, or striving-goal that’s squatting on your creative ground. It’s hard to beat a monster who’s fueled by the very energy you’re trying to muster to beat it.

Touch in with that powerful, emergent, playful, and creative aspect of yourself without judgment, plans, shoulds, and stories.

You might find yourself surprised, relieved, and bewildered by something that you didn’t have to fight to create.

This is the yin to the yang of fighting Resistance. We need both to flourish as creative people, and the yin is just as powerful as – if not more powerful than – the yang. Use all of your resources.

Originally published at


  • Charlie Gilkey

    Author, Speaker, Business Strategist, Coach

    Charlie Gilkey helps people start finish the stuff that matters. He's the founder of Productive Flourishing, author of the forthcoming Start Finishing and The Small Business Lifecycle, and host of the Productive Flourishing podcast. Prior to starting Productive Flourishing, Charlie was a Joint Force Military Logistics Coordinator while simultaneously pursuing a PhD in Philosophy. He lives with his wife, Angela, in Portland, Oregon.