Focus

Have you ever wondered how successful people seem to get more done? Do you ever find it really hard to get started and get things done? Have you ever stared blankly at your computer screen before writing, or done the housework instead of doing something you know is more important? I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there.

In order to be super effective, just like the super successful people, you need to have very strong habits and absolute self-discipline (amongst other things, but these two qualities are high up there) – I know it’s easy to write this… and it’s certainly not that easy to do.

I’d like to share with you a technique that I picked up recently that really works for me, and many other people too. But first of all I want to introduce you to the type of Resistance that we all suffer from. If you are anything like me, you will relate to this in a big way and you will already be well aware of its presence.

“Everyone who has a body experiences Resistance.”

In the book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes about the constant human battle the every single person has with Resistance.

So what is Resistance?

“It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” (p7)

Resistance is basically anything that is stopping you from doing the things you know you need to do.

The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance:

  • The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
  • The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profits or otherwise.
  • Any diet or health regime
  • Any program of spiritual advancement
  • Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals
  • Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction
  • Education of every kind
  • Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct ourselves
  • The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavour whose aim is to help others
  • Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to wether a rocky patch in a relationship
  • The taking of any principled st and in the face of adversity.
  • In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification favour of long term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance

(P5-6)

How Does Resistance Manifest Itself?

Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalise. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start it tomorrow.” (P.21)

How many times have you said that to yourself? I don’t even know how many times I’ve said “I’ll do it tomorrow”…I don’t want to know!

Resistance can include things like sex, masturbation, getting into trouble, being sick, and fear. There are many examples in the book, which provide more depth to underst anding how these elements become a form of Resistance.

If you really struggle with Resistance and procrastination I suggest you buy the book. It really gave me a kick in the ass and I know others who felt that it was written just for them.

There is hope…You Can Defeat Resistance!

“Defeating Resistance is like giving birth. It seems impossible until you remember that women have been pulling it off successfully, with support and without, for fifty million years.”

What a great quote, which comes back to my original purpose for writing this article. You see, it is possible to defeat Resistance, as long as you know exactly how it starts and exactly what to do about it. You can put small disciplines in place to make sure you can defeat it everyday. I have one example for you right now…

90 Minute Work Sessions as a discipline

This works for me, and many others, so there is a good chance it will work for you too. This technique was passed to me from Nigel Botterill.

Everyday I put aside 90 minutes of uninterrupted time to get work done. This might not sound like a lot, but how often do you get an hour and a half to spend on your work, with no one interrupting you?

You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule right? – The Pareto Principle. In this case, 80% of your best work is going to get done in 20% of your time. In a normal working week, spending 90 minutes a day fully concentrating on something, is about 20% of your time. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that the 90 minute sessions really do work!

I literally turn off my phone and the Internet (unless I’m working on the Internet). I deliberately stay away from social media and the sorts of things that will distract me.

By putting in this discipline everyday you’re effectively putting something in place to beat Resistance.

Unfortunately, no one is going to do it for you…it’s entirely up to you – you’re the one that has to discipline yourself.

The book had such a big impact upon me that I felt the need to share it with you. I also wanted to share this little discipline tactic with you too.

Do You Have Any Suggestions?

Perhaps you have your own discipline that ensures you get work done? If you do, please share it with everyone by commenting below.

What do you do to make sure you get work done?

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

When I was 25 my brother Colin (23) was killed tragically. I know this seems a little morbid with regards to all my previous entries, however stick with me…there is a lesson here, as you have probably guessed!

Two distinct events happened this past week that have inspired this blog: –

  • I received an email from Nigel Botterill that got me thinking a little differently about the impact that the death of Colin has had on me.
  • I was at lunch with a really good friend, who has far more life experience than me. She was telling me a story about her youngest niece (in her early 20’s), about how she apparently hates her Dad so much that she wishes he was dead! I feel sorry for my friends niece and I think she may regret saying that in the future. But I’m not here to judge other people, I just want to reflect on this situation and how it applies to life learning.

Having a sense of mortality from a young age isn’t something that you’d ever be glad or happy to have, although I think it can at times give you an edge on life.

I was reminded of my own circumstances and how precious time is, especially time with your family and closest loved ones. On reflection, experiencing death at a young age gives you a different perspective on life compared to other people.

Having a sense of mortality has impacted me significantly in two ways: –

  • I have to do as much as possible with the time I’ve got…”no fannying about”, as I like to say! You can’t get your time back once it’s gone, so spend it wisely.
  • I have managed to develop an amazing resilience to all the BS that takes place around me. I just don’t let things get in my way (more on resilience in another blog).

Losing my brother at such a young age has made me appreciate life and how precious it is. It has made me determined and focussed to get what I want and not let anything get in the way. I also really appreciate the time I have with all my family and friends, because one day the inevitable will take place.

My Step-Dad says “[Of death/growing old]: It’s the one thing we’ve all got in common” and it is so true. Interestingly, he lost an older brother at a young age and his determination and focus is a distinct element of his personality, do you think that’s a coincidence?

I would do anything to have my brother back here beside me. The reality is that I could negatively dwell on this all the time and do nothing with my life, or learn from it and get the most I possibly can out of life whilst I’m here.

Has anything significant happened in your life that has made you more focussed and determined? Do you let circumstances get in the way of getting what you want?

Chris.

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