Creativity and Resistance

All humans experience resistance and fear — and what is more confusing and disturbing than feeling fearful of our greatest powers and talents? Many artists understand this experience, including myself. Although I honor my gift of musicianship, I often feel paralyzed into inaction by the fear of seeing my dreams manifest — the fear of realizing my potential. Where does this come from? What does it mean? In the book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Creative Inner Battles, author Steven Pressfield discusses the underlying energies of our resistance to creativity. His understanding is that the fear and self-doubt is a demonstration of the tremendous value we place on that which we resist. Ultimately, these feelings are a positive indicator of how deeply and passionately we feel connected to whatever creative project we are fearful to face. Below I have listed a few quotes that I have found extremely helpful to understanding this strange phenomenon. I hope that you too find these ideas useful:

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that the enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. that’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.”

“Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too. If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference. The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you — and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.”

“Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it.”

“The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”



Photograph By Victor Grigas – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,