Resistance is a mythical concept created by American novelist Steven Pressfield that illustrates the universal force that he claims acts against human creativity. It was first described in his non-fiction book The War of Art and elaborated in the follow-up books Do The Work and Turning Pro, and in other essays. It is also a recurring theme in some of his fiction novels such as The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Virtues of War.
Resistance is described in a mythical fashion as a universal force that has one sole mission: to keep things as they are. Pressfield claims that Resistance does not have a personal vendetta against anyone, rather it is simply trying to accomplish its only mission. It is the force that will stop an individual's creative activity through any means necessary, whether it be rationalizing, inspiring fear and anxiety, emphasizing other distractions that require attention, raising the voice of an inner critic, and much more. It will use any tool to stop creation flowing from an individual, no matter what field the creation is in.
Pressfield goes on to claim that Resistance is the most dangerous element to one's life and dreams since its sole mission is to sabotage aspirations. He explains steps that human beings can take to overcome this force and keep it subdued so that they can create to their fullest potential, although Resistance is never fully gone.
Pressfield's concept of Resistance has been cited by authors such as Seth Godin, David Kadavy, David M. Kelley and Tom Kelley, Eric Liu and the Lincoln Center Institute, Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter, and Gina Trapani.
Psychologist Frederick Heide has cited Pressfield's book The War of Art and questioned whether "fighting" Resistance is always a helpful metaphor; Heide suggested that such agonistic metaphors could end up "ironically perpetuating the resistance it predicts." Nevertheless, Heide noted, such an agonistic approach to resistance remains widespread in psychotherapeutic thinking. Heide cites a scholarly article that points to some alternative nonagonistic strategies for working with resistance in relational psychoanalytic psychotherapy, personal construct therapy, narrative therapy, motivational interviewing, process-experiential therapy, and coherence therapy.
- Holiday 2012.
- Pressfield 2002.
- Pressfield 2011a.
- Pressfield 2012.
- For example, Pressfield 2011b.
- Pressfield 1995.
- Pressfield 2004.
- Pressfield 2002, p. 11.
- Pressfield 2002, pp. 4–56.
- Pressfield 2012, p. 74.
- Godin 2010.
- Kelley & Kelley 2013.
- Liu & Noppe-Brandon 2009.
- Kiyosaki & Lechter 2005.
- Trapani 2008.
- Heide 2010, p. 68.
- Heide 2010, p. 79.
- Frankel & Levitt 2006, pp. 220–221.
- Frankel, Ze'ev; Levitt, Heidi M. (September 2006). "Postmodern strategies for working with resistance: problem resolution or self-revolution?" (PDF). Journal of Constructivist Psychology. 19 (3): 219–250. doi:10.1080/13854040600689141.
- Godin, Seth (2010). Linchpin: are you indispensable?. New York: Portfolio. ISBN 9781591843160. OCLC 430051358.
- Heide, Frederick J. (March 2010). "The agonistic metaphor in psychotherapy: should clients battle their blues?". Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training. 47 (1): 68–82. doi:10.1037/a0018839.
- Holiday, Ryan (6 July 2012). "How to turn pro, from the warrior artist, Steven Pressfield". Forbes. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- Kelley, David; Kelley, Tom (2013). Creative confidence: unleashing the creative potential within us all. New York: Crown Business. ISBN 9780385349369. OCLC 848756224.
- Kiyosaki, Robert T.; Lechter, Sharon L. (2005). Rich dad's before you quit your job: 10 real-life lessons every entrepreneur should know about building a multimillion-dollar business. New York: Warner Business Books. ISBN 0446696374. OCLC 60705631.
- Liu, Eric; Noppe-Brandon, Scott (2009). Imagination first: unlocking the power of possibility. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 9780470382486. OCLC 317456255.
- Pressfield, Steven (1995). The legend of Bagger Vance: golf and the game of life. New York: William Morrow and Co. ISBN 0688140483. OCLC 31045499.
- Pressfield, Steven (2002). The war of art: winning the inner creative battle. New York: Rugged Land. ISBN 9781590710036. OCLC 49837985.
- Pressfield, Steven (2004). The virtues of war: a novel of Alexander the Great. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0385500998. OCLC 55095668.
- Pressfield, Steven (2011a). Do the work!: overcome resistance and get out of your own way. Hastings, NY: Do You Zoom Inc. ISBN 9781936719013. OCLC 707232622.
- Pressfield, Steven (20 April 2011b). "Overcome resistance and get out of your own way". 99u.com. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- Pressfield, Steven (2012). Turning pro: tap your inner power and create your life's work. New York: Black Irish Entertainment. ISBN 9781936891030. OCLC 798188052.
- Trapani, Gina (2008). Upgrade your life: the Lifehacker guide to working smarter, faster, better. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470238363. OCLC 191090279.