All of us have something we want to succeed at. Maybe it’s winning a gold medal or a championship, maybe it’s having a relationship that is committed and loving, maybe it’s owning your own business. If you succeeded at this thing, you would consider it a win. But sometimes it seems like no matter how hard you try, you can’t succeed. So what is standing between you and this win?
Throughout this article, I’m going to use analogies related to sports because they are the easiest to understand. You can take these analogies and easily apply them to your own situation. At a certain point in an athlete’s career, they have all the technical skills they need to succeed. For example, a tennis player will know every shot and every strategy and their body will be in perfect physical condition. In fact, if you lined up all of the top tennis players, on a physical level in terms of skill level, they are all comparable. What determines whether a player is #1 or #300 in the world is not something you can see. It also isn’t fate or luck. It’s the level of resistance within that player to the very thing they want.
At first, you might be completely blown away by the idea that anyone could resist what they want or what they think they want the very most. Because so much of the resistance we have is hidden deep within in the subconscious mind, you aren’t aware of it. You have no idea you are doing it. All you are aware of is the desperate feeling of wanting the thing you want.
To understand resistance, I want you to think of a game of tug of war between two clones of yourself. On one side is the thing you want. On the other side is the opposite of the thing you want. So, we could say that on one side is you standing on a podium with a gold medal in your hands. On the other is losing all of your sponsorships and failing to the degree that you have to commit your life to something you don’t want to do. Resistance is any thought, belief, word, desire or action that pulls in the opposite direction of what you want. It is the aspect of you that is pulling in another direction from where you think you want to go.
If you want to succeed, the answer is not to figure out how to overpower the you that is pulling in the opposite direction. In fact, this does a lot of harm. It creates a greater split within you. You also do not need to figure out how to become more successful. You do not need to hire a better coach or try to lean better skills. All you need to do is to figure out what that resistance actually is and start dealing with that resistance directly in an integrative way. When you do this, there is nothing preventing you from what you want. There is no momentum or force pulling against it, so you get it.
Resistance could be a great many things. This is why your job and the job of any good coach is to dig deep within you to figure out exactly what your specific resistance is about. There is a reason that this aspect of you is pulling against success. It is because it thinks that pulling in the opposite direction of is actually in your best interests. It thinks it is doing what is right. For example, let’s imagine that a tennis player was pushed into playing the game at age 5. This was the only way to get love from one of their parents. One part of him wants to get that love and so wants to win. But one side of him knows this isn’t real love and so this side doesn’t want to win. This side wants to be done with the game so he can find love that is real, not love that is conditional upon performance. One part of him thinks winning is in his best interests and the other thinks it isn’t. We have to consider that every form of resistance that our being holds is actually being held because some part of us thinks it is in our best interests. To understand more about this, watch my video on YouTube titled: “The Hidden Positive Intention, The Key To Letting Go.”
In fact this is one of the most common forms of resistance that we see when it comes to success. I call it the Why am I doing this? Resistance. Sometimes, our real reason for doing something is not actually in alignment with who we are authentically and what we want authentically. When this is the case, we fall out of touch with why we are even trying to succeed at what we are trying to succeed at. Because of this, not all parts of us are on board with our goal. It starts to seem like our bodies sabotage us and our actions sabotage us. This sabotage is actually our inner being trying to make us aware of why we are really doing what we are doing and of what we really want. And often times this is really frightening to admit to. For example, we might want to be a doctor because we were led to believe we needed that status and income to be valued by others. Inside, we actually hate the job of being a doctor. Succeeding as a doctor when part of you hates it is not going to happen.
Along these same lines, for many athletes winning is not about winning. It’s about not losing. In their minds when they step up to the starting line for a race, they are performing their sport to the best of their ability so as to avoid the consequences of losing; not because they really love racing and want to win for the challenge and fun of it. Much of the terror of performing is about this. I’d throw up too if my entire self worth was on the line every time I competed. In some of these athletes, if you manage to release this resistance by reprogramming them to see that there is no consequence of losing; they actually find their love of the game and start winning. In other athletes, they realize the entire reason they were racing or playing in the first place was because their self-concept was dependent on being in the role of a racer or of a competitor and they quit because they realize they don’t actually like the game or the competition itself.
Even though the real good resistance resides in the subconscious mind, we can play with what we are conscious of in order to get an idea of how resistance works. Resistance comes in the form of any thought, belief, word, desire or action that pulls against the thing you want. Select what you want and then watch every thought you think and with each one, decide whether that thought pulls towards or against the thing you want. If it pulls in the direction of what you want, it will feel like relief internally. If it pulls against what you want, it will feel like tension or pressure internally. Then, do the same thing with beliefs. Then do the same thing with things you say. Then do the same thing with actions you take. Doing this will help you to understand the concept of resistance completely so that the deeper and more subconscious resistance will be easier to recognize.
So for example, let’s say that you want to win a championship in tennis. As long as you actually believe the thought, the thought of, “I can trust my body to know what to do” feels like relief and so it pulls you in the direction of success. The thought, “oh my god there are so many people watching me.” Feels like tension and so it pulls you in the opposite direction of success. One is resistance, the other isn’t. The behavior of punishing yourself and getting super angry at yourself for a missed serve feels like tension in the body. It is resistant in nature. The behavior of using a missed serve to remind you to make a small a correction to your serve, feels like relief in the body. It is pulling you towards success. Sleeping well the night before a game is pulling you towards success. Getting completely drunk the night before a game is an action that is aligned with the resistance to success. Or there might be another pattern where if my anxiety or a negative emotional state is so great that it is causing resistance in me towards performing well, drinking alcohol or doping or taking drugs may cause me to release that resistance caused by my anxiety or emotional pain and as a result, I perform well.
There is another pattern I have seen in professional athletes where they are born into a family where there is no option besides winning. They don’t actually want it. Because of this, they take actions to ‘sabotage’ their performance because of it. For these athletes, failing is actually winning for the core of themselves. They find it as hard to fail as other athletes find it hard to win. These athletes are often the ones who can go on a drinking binge or sleep with prostitutes all night and still win the game the next morning. And in fact, when they do, they feel the same way towards it that other athletes would feel if they lost the game.
After you get the idea about what resistance is, you can experiment with one technique for getting in touch with your subconscious resistance. To do this, imagine what you think you want so badly. So, if it’s standing on a podium with a gold medal in your hands, picture it until you can feel the feeling of that strongly. At a certain point, it will feel like the feel good feeling is slipping away. At that point, imagine a black or a white room and ask to see in your minds eye, like a visualization, the aspect of you that either doesn’t want that or is sabotaging it or doesn’t think it can have that. There is a potential there will be more than one aspect of you that shows up. From there, familiarize yourself with them and talk to them lovingly and help them lovingly like you would talk to or help another person. Your aim is to know everything you can know about this part and it’s fears and needs and motives. Don’t approach it with the attitude of it being wrong or bad or weak or any other negative judgment. This only adds resistance to resistance. Your aim is to integrate it into the rest of you. In fact, doing this is the only way you have a chance at the success you want.
For example, lets say the part of me that is resisting a gold medal shows up in that room as a little child that is hiding in a corner of the room. I might go over to her and pick her up in my lap and just hold her and acknowledge that I see that she is hiding and afraid and maybe even ashamed. She might eventually tell me that she feels like she doesn’t belong in the competition because all the other people seem like they aren’t afraid and like it’s easy for them. She might tell me that she feels like she is alone. I would first validate the fact that it is totally understandable why she feels that way. Then I would help her to see that everyone is actually feeling the same way, they are just hiding it because everyone is afraid to look like the one who is afraid. Then, I would ask her if she wants to actually do the competition or if she wants to stay in my pocket or a safe place and let my adult self be the one who competes. If she wants to be present with me for the competition, I might see who in this world would make her feel the least alone. Perhaps it’s a grandmother or a super hero or a mentor. I would imagine bringing that person into the room with us so that this little child aspect of me can feel companionship and taken care of so all the pressure is off of her. My aim is to help this aspect of me in a way where that aspect of me feels good about what I want. But we have to be open to the idea that this aspect of us might make us see that we don’t actually want what we think we want. Either way, we will be experiencing a greater truth about ourselves.
It is really critical that we have the bravery to see the full truth of ourselves. In fact it is the only way to achieve genuine success. We have to help other people do this as well. For example, so many athletes are too afraid to consider that they started their sport before they even knew anything about themselves and might actually not want to do their sport. So many parents and coaches use fear to motivate them to stay in the sport instead of making room for this kind of inner questioning and as a result, they are all in a battle where only part of the athlete is actually invested in the game and continually burns out or gets injuries because of it. Even if the truth is, “I have no idea what I want”, you are closer to knowing what you actually want than you were when you were just letting the current take you towards what you thought you should want.
We all have aspects of us that are pulling in the opposite direction of what we want or what we think we want. It is only by becoming conscious of these aspects that we can work with them to find alignment so that all of us is on board with what we really want. From this day forward I want you to adopt the thinking that when it comes to any goal you have that within you are two versions of you (or more potentially) that are pulling in opposite directions. One is pulling towards the thing you want and one is pulling in the opposite direction of what you want. Our goal is to get them both to go willingly and happily in the same direction so no tug of war is taking place within us and we hold no resistance to the ‘win’ we are looking for. Because when we do this, winning is inevitable.