- The Storried Platform
IF YOU ARE READING THIS I BEAT RESISTANCE – By Ayo Oluwa
It’s the last day of the week, premier league matches abound, millions of fans around the globe sit in front of their TV’s giving full expression to waves of emotion, as they watch their favorite teams do battle. There are thousands of wedding ceremonies, birthday celebrations, and familial visits happening all over Lagos. Millions of souls, carrying out their individual existence in ways only an early Saturday evening can allow.
The evening sun shines down on it all, in its usual magnificence and life in its fullness waxes strong as always, yet, all is not well.
I’m sitting in front of my laptop wondering what to write about. My media publication lies dormant, and my skills as a writer are in danger of degeneration, courtesy of my lackluster approach to being a creative.
All is not well.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve constantly questioned my identity as a writer. There have been moments where it seems so clear, moments where I can easily put out a thousand to two thousand words in one go, but those type of moments are hardly common, they are vastly outnumbered by days like today, when writing is the last thing I feel like doing, and my mind is bombarded with thoughts like:
“How can I call myself a writer?”, “my writing is bland”, “nobody is interested in what I talk about”, “I’m not even consistent”, “Why can’t I be more like Demola, or Yusuf, they have their shit together”, “I want to binge on junk food and watch anime”, “fuck this shit! I can’t make it as a writer! I need to run from this country, go somewhere nobody will know me and see the failure I have become”.
Yeah… things get pretty dark in my head.
Still, the fact that you’re reading this, means I made it past the thoughts and I’m still writing. Hallelujah.
When I was younger, or rather less enlightened, I was of the belief that work, especially creative work shouldn’t be boring, and if it was, that means I had to stop or postpone it. So a lot of the time, I’d start articles and never finish, start a project, lose interest halfway, conclude it’s not worth it and jump to something else. The fact that I could do a lot of things decently didn’t help matters either. I was a starter but never a finisher and that became my normal routine.
Time passed, and obviously I wasn’t improving or growing, because I didn’t have any work out there for anyone to see, and because I was hardly using them my talents were unrefined and in decline.
I was a heavy reader though, binge reading online articles and novels was and still is one of my favorite ways to procrastinate, and in the course of one of my mindless online sessions, I came across Medium, where I discovered content by people like Steven Pressfield, James Altucher, Srinivas Rao, and a lot of others. These were people who had done the things I want to do, and being the blessed souls they are, decided to share their experiences to help struggling creatives like me.
Reading through their experiences, I discovered that my tendency to never finish a project because it didn’t flow, or because it didn’t come naturally was a symptom of the harsh reality that comes with being a creative entrepreneur or anything good for that matter; Resistance.
Resistance is that feeling that comes when you make a decision to do you,
It’s the boredom you feel when you know you have to study,
The anxiety that comes when you decide you want to talk to that girl you’ve been eyeing since,
It’s the fear that grips you when you decide to claim your freedom and say “fuck you!” to the system,
It’s the strange feeling you get in your chest when you realize you can’t eat as much junk as you want if you’re serious about being healthy.
It can be a big dream killer, if you let it.
The ability to respond positively to this all too human condition is what separates the professionals from the amateurs.
Habits such as consistency, discipline, delayed gratification and deliberate practice are the motto when it comes to going pro and these habits, unfortunately, don’t mix well with the default human tendency to seek comfort, novelty and immediate gratification. I know this from experience.
But I’ve come to learn from experience as well that the sweet spot lies beyond the wall of resistance, just like diamonds lie deep beneath the earth’s surface. Sometimes it might be different, on some days, inspiration will hit you so hard you’ll feel like no wall can hold you back from your dreams, or you’ll get high and your altered mental states will feed you insights you won’t get normally and work will be a breeze.
Most times though, you’ll have to coax yourself into that place where you can function optimally, and a lot of the time, you won’t feel like. Doing the opposite will be far more attractive, but if you take it a step at a time, you’ll eventually get there, and the magic will flow. For example, I have written 880 words as of this sentence, despite the fact that I wanted to kill myself a while ago.
There is no “one-time” solution to resistance, it’s a consistent bastard, an irrevocable law of human nature. The best you can do is to get your consistency game tight and become your own irrevocable law. And of course, you can cheat as well. Here are some of my tips for cheating.
Right now I have an intense desire to watch Anime, but instead of immediately giving into it, I’ve decided to make it the reward for successfully posting this article.
If you have to study, bring out your books, you don’t have to start reading immediately (feel free to do that if you can though), set up your reading area, switch off the TV, place everything you need close to you, and every distraction far from you.
Countdowns work like this, you count from 1 to 10 or 10 to 1, whichever you choose and you decide that at the end of the countdown, you will start what it is you want to accomplish. They are good for starting work after you’ve set up shop.
Journaling while you work can help you observe and resolve any feelings of frustration or boredom that may come up as you work. If your work is on a computer, you can use an app like Evernote, if your work is paper based or hand crafts, you can use a small notepad.
Anytime you feel bored, frustrated, like procrastinating or notice that you’ve already dived into your distraction or procrastination, write it down. Write down the time, write down how you feel explicitly, write down what is frustrating you about the project, and write down the very next action you can take to solve the problem you’re encountering.
Sitting down for 10 minutes every day to focus on your breath, or focus on your senses helps your attention span and the constant attempt to re-focusing attention on your breath or senses during meditation, helps you observe yourself and catch yourself as you slip into your bad habits and stuff.
By Ayo Oluwa
It’s the last day of the week, premier league matches abound, millions of fans around the globe sit in front of their TV’s giving full expression to waves of emotion, as they watch their favorite teams do battle. There are