Yesterday I was walking home from the grocery store and two young guys ran from behind me and tackled me to the ground. They immediately started hitting me, kicking me, and yelling at me to give them my money. My first thought was, “Holy shit, I’m being robbed. This has never happened to me before, so I better cooperate.” Then I noticed that their hits and kicks were really “weak.” I no longer wanted to cooperate, I wanted to fight them off. Immediately I yelled “Fuck this!” and got to my feet, ready to fight. But by the time I could look up they were already bolting away toward a car down the road. I checked all my pockets – they didn’t get anything.
Steven = 1
Young Thugs = 0.
Upon reflection, I figured that the robbers didn’t really want to hurt me, they just wanted to intimidate me; they expected me to feel overwhelmed and just give in, taking the path of least resistance.
I thought more and realized that actually describes a lot about the obstacles we face in life. So often I find people quitting or selling themselves short when the going gets tough. Maybe they are writing a book and they can’t think of how to end it, or they are trying to build something and they find they made a lot of mistakes. Some people give in whenever they are met with the slightest bit of resistance or uncertainty, and that can stop many from achieving really great things.
Self-efficacy, feeling capable of overcoming obstacles, is key to facing resistance. If we are met with a challenge and think we are powerless, then we automatically submit any control we have over the situation. You can only take action once you think your actions have an effect. Having self-efficacy doesn’t mean we don’t ever face challenges, just as courage doesn’t mean we don’t ever have fear; in fact, both are required. The point is that you try to do your best in spite of whatever resistance that arises.
So I want you to take a moment and reflect on some of the resistance in your life, whatever it may be – work, health, relationships, etc. And I want you to try and find how resistance can be a necessary part of life, growth, and self-improvement. You can’t avoid it in all situations, and you can’t avoid it forever, so you need to learn how to face it head-on, perhaps even embrace it. Whatever you do, don’t give up so easily.