Are you deeply passionate about acting, but often find yourself being pulled away from tackling the items on your actor to-do list? Have you formulated lots of great ideas that will help progress your career, but it seems like there’s always some legitimate reason for you to postpone your work until tomorrow? According to Steven Pressfield, the author of The War of Art, this phenomenon is actually a force and it should not be underestimated. It’s what causes us to give up on a task or even prevents us from getting started in the first place. He refers to it as “Resistance with a capital ‘r,'” and he admits, “Resistance wiped me out for years.”

Whatever it is that a person wishes to endeavor–a writer who longs to write a novel, a composer who wants to create a song, or even someone who aspires to embark on a diet or an entrepreneurial venture–Pressfield claims that Resistance is the culprit that stops progress from occurring. Just how destructive can it be? Pressfield considers Resistance the greatest enemy!

It’s the internal self-sabotage that would have you watch TV, play video games, check your social media, eat another snack, or rearrange your closet instead of getting to work on what is truly important to you. Whether appearing as an urge or a voice in your head, Pressfield argues, “It’s really not you. It’s not a real thought. It’s purely Resistance.” Once you learn to recognize the negative force for what it is, you can dismiss it as hogwash and move beyond it.

“Resistance is invisible and internal,” the author writes and asserts it can take on various forms. Perhaps the most common form is the fear of failure; but, it can also manifest itself when you create drama in your life, take on the role of the victim, or rationalize all the reasons why you haven’t sat down and started working yet. Additionally, it can also reveal itself in a wide variety of vices such as drinking alcohol, smoking, gossiping, indulging in high-sugar, fatty foods–just to name a few. While engaging in these activities is not always a form or resistance, Pressfield believes if the behavior leaves you feeling empty and distressed afterward then Resistance is likely the offender.

Ultimately, the fruits of Resistance are broken dreams. Sadly, countless people have been seduced and defeated by it. If left to fester, it can plague us until death–which, after all, is its goal.

Fortunately, Pressfield offers helpful ways for people to overcome Resistance. Essentially the antidote is to learn the many differences between being an amateur and a professional and then to commit to “turning pro.” Pressfield illustrates one important distinction between the two, saying: “The professional knows that the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work sets in motion a mysterious process that produces inspiration. The amateur waits for inspiration; the professional knows that it will come after he starts.”

That is just a glimpse of his insights. More of Pressfield’s ideas on how to turn pro will be presented in the next blog.