Tired of Procrastination and Failed Goals? Defeat the Law of Resistance First
Getting inspired to make a change is easy.
Making a lasting change is hard.
My answer, after a number of years on this planet, is the Law of Resistance.
Welcome to the Law That Messed Up Your Life: The Law of Resistance
Well, here’s a non-academic (slightly self-help industry oriented) definition:
Law of Resistance: Our brains like life the way it is right now, unless we don’t have to do a lot to get something better.
In other words, we don’t change unless we feel it’s easy.
This law is the reason behind almost every failure you (and I) may ever have in almost every aspect of our life. It’s why we:
The Law of Resistance functions on a key paradox of the brain. Our brains do a lot. They are always running 24/7 in the background, whether we are sleeping, wide awake, sick, or near the point of death. Our brains constantly scheme, plan, imagine, fantasize, ruminate, and reflect.
Use your brain to think about that for a minute.
Your brain is always running (without medical or other intervention); therefore it needs A LOT of energy (approximately 20% of your body’s oxygen and glucose). As a result, the brain doesn’t like to do more work than it has to. It creates shortcuts, sticks to faulty thinking, and jumps to quick conclusions.
This isn’t a horrible thing, but it’s something we have to consider in our “why did I fail this time” thinking.
Let’s see how this works in reality.
Let’s say I offer you a lotto ticket. If I offer it to you free of charge, you will probably take it. You might wonder why I’m giving you a ticket, but it wouldn’t be too hard to convince you. Now imagine, that I offer you a lotto ticket, but require you to run one mile in 15 minutes or less. You would probably decline (unless you love running and playing lottery).
Now, let’s add one element to this. Let’s say I tell I have a winning lotto ticket worth $100,000. All you have to do is run one mile in 15 minutes or less. Let’s throw in national TV cameras while we’re at it, for fun.
Your motivation changes, doesn’t it?
Your resistance to change (“I don’t want to run one mile in 15 minutes or less because I’m doing perfectly fine right now.”) loses to the goal ($100,000). The same situation, just a shift in how you view it.
We do this kind of thing all the time:
These examples prove that you can overcome a lot more than you think you can. They only require you to make that mental shift from “should” or “have to” to “must” or “will”. Even if we complain or grumble, we still do it.
Why can’t we tap into that power all the time?
My answer, our brains default into the Law of Resistance. It is easier to make excuses, and justifications instead of proactively finding a solution or new perspective. Going back to the lottery ticket example, if I told you that there might be a chance that the ticket is worth $100,000, you might be less inclined to run a mile in 15 minutes or less.
Reality is more like this scenario.
Instead of a guaranteed reward, we live in a world where you can achieve any level of success or failure, depending on how you look at it. One person might want to lose 10 pounds, only lose 3 pounds, and feel perfectly happy. Another person might feel that 3 pounds is a failure.
Our brains know this. It isn’t fooled.
So any time you present a challenging goal to your brain, it falls to the Law of Resistance. We identify why the goal won’t work, why we can’t do it, and why we shouldn’t do it. This does three things.
That’s a lot of resistance to go through. As a result, we fail more often than not. That being said, when we feel bad about not reaching our goal, we don’t take the Law of Resistance into account. We blame ourselves. We internalize the guilt and shame, making an ant hill of self-regret into a mountain.
What’s the simple way out of this trap? Easy.
We’ll get into those two strategies in the next article. In the meantime, we can begin the mental shift that we need right now. Take a few minutes to ask yourself this question:
In what areas of your life do you feel the strongest resistance?
The answer is your key to conquering the Law of Resistance.
Charles Franklin is an almost-graduated college dropout who survived 4 years as a content and marketing freelancer on his journey toward a new family legacy, happier world for all, and his secret dream of becoming Batman. He hopes to use his experiences, humor, and stories to help others convert their life's struggles into a powerful superhero legacy that infects others. His blog: thiscollegedropout.wordpress.com
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