On Ingratitude And Resistance: Steps To Break Your Mental Blocks
I’d like to make a comparison after having just finished reading Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art. It is a guide for overcoming the internal resistance that prevents individuals from achieving their goals and realizing their full potential. The book is primarily aimed at artists, writers and other creatives, but its principles can be applied to anyone looking to overcome self-sabotage and procrastination. It’s become a classic in the creative industry and is often recommended to writers and artists who are trying to develop their craft and overcome creative blocks.
It reminded me of another book I’ve read called De Beneficiis, written by the Roman philosopher Seneca around 60 AD. It is a collection of letters to his friend Lucilius, discussing the act of doing good or performing kind acts for others. The letters explore the nature of giving and receiving benefits and the gratitude that comes with them. Seneca emphasizes the importance of generosity, gratitude and the practice of giving without expecting anything in return. He argues that true gratitude should be done with a selfless attitude and that it is important to give without keeping track of it or expecting anything in return. This book became one of my favorites and was massively impactful in helping me write our second book, Gratitude Through Hard Times.
In Steven Pressfield’s book, he argues that “resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction.” This is similar to when Seneca said in his book that “there always will be homicides, tyrants, thieves, adulterers, ravishers, sacrilegious, traitors: worse than all these is the ungrateful man, except we consider that all these crimes flow from ingratitude, without which hardly any great wickedness has ever grown to full stature.”
Both “resistance” and “ingratitude” refer to internal states or attitudes that can prevent individuals from reaching their full potential and leading fulfilling lives. In their books, they are emphasizing the importance of overcoming these internal obstacles in order to lead a fulfilling and productive life.
Pressfield’s concept of “resistance” refers to the inner resistance or self-sabotage that prevents people from pursuing their goals and passions. This can manifest in various forms such as procrastination, self-doubt, fear and lack of motivation.
Seneca’s concept of “ingratitude” refers to the lack of gratitude or appreciation for what one has, which can lead to destructive behavior. This can manifest in various forms such as envy, greed and a sense of entitlement.
Both resistance and ingratitude are toxic forces because they prevent individuals from being content with what they have and from taking positive actions toward their goals. They both can be seen as forms of self-sabotage that can lead to unhappiness and other negative outcomes.
The Rolling Stone Culture Council is an invitation-only community for Influencers, Innovators and Creatives. Do I qualify?
In summary, what resistance and ingratitude have in common is that they’re internal states that can prevent individuals from reaching their full potential and lead to negative consequences, both in the individual and in society.
As a creative, I highly suggest reading both of these books. One book can help you break through internal blocks and start a creative project like a piece of art or building a company. The other can help you develop gratitude for the progress you’re making along the way.
Here are three things that have worked for me that you can try, too:
1. Establish a consistent routine or schedule for working on your creative projects. By setting aside dedicated time each day or week to work on your projects, you can build momentum and make progress toward your goals. This can help to overcome resistance by creating a sense of structure and accountability.
2. Break down your projects into smaller, manageable tasks. By focusing on one small task at a time, you can build momentum and momentum can help you overcome resistance. This can help to overcome feelings of overwhelm and self-doubt that can lead to procrastination and stagnation.
3. Find a support system of people who can encourage and motivate you. Join a group of like-minded individuals, or find a mentor or coach who can provide guidance and support. Having people to share your progress with and receive feedback from can help to overcome resistance.
As important as these books are to read, nothing will actually replace the good old-fashioned effort of sitting down and doing your work or sitting down to practice gratitude. The quicker you can take action on shifting your internal perspective, the quicker you can start to produce meaningful work for the world.