The Resistance Fighter Inside of You

Whenever we think about doing something different with our lives, a little resistance fighter starts preparing for battle inside of us.

He tells us why we can’t do it. He comes up with lots of plausible excuses. He talks about things that would be a lot more fun to do.

Often, he convinces us to do the wrong thing. We abandon that change we’ve been thinking about and go on with our lives as normal.

In short, he’s a real jerk.

We need to defeat him.

Once upon a time, that resistance fighter would convince me to be reckless with my money. As I began to turn my finances around, he would fight me every step of the way. He’d convince me to spend my money in ways that I knew I shouldn’t be spending it. He told me again and again that I shouldn’t take the leap into writing full time.

Each time, there was a series of battles against this resistance fighter. Sometimes, I lost. Eventually, though, I won the war and found great value in that victory.

Lately, the resistance fighter inside of me has been yelling at me to not get adequate exercise. He tries to tell me that I don’t have time or that I won’t really see any results from doing it.

He’s wrong.

Every day, we have a battle. Some days, he wins. That does not mean the war is over. It means that we’re going to battle again tomorrow.

More and more, though, I find myself winning the battles. I go on a walk and the resistance fighter retreats.

That resistance fighter is inside of all of us. He encourages us to keep doing the thing we’re doing that we know we should be changing. He resists change.

It is hard to battle him, particularly at first. Take it one battle at a time. Choose, just once, to do the right thing instead of the easy thing. Overcome the pleas of that resistance fighter.

What you’ll find is that the more you push yourself to overcome that resistance, the easier it becomes to win future battles. The resistance fighter gets quieter and quieter.

Before you know it, you have a new routine and a new life.

You’ve won the war.

Today is your first battle in this war. Are you up to the challenge?

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  1. Shannon says:

    Why does the resistance fighter have to be a “him” and not a “her”?

  2. Mike31 says:

    @Shannon(#1) – Probably because Trent’s a guy and this the resistance fighter thing is an internal dialogue with himself

  3. Stephan F- says:

    Try telling him/her/it what it is you are doing in the snarkiest most devastatingly insulting, but truthful, way possible.
    It does wonders.

  4. Steven says:

    I think an articles like this is more relevent when the changes being made are small, or at least when you’ve got support to fall back onto. In your case, transitioning from work to writing was done so with support from your wife. Not buying a video game isn’t really all that frightening. Sure, it takes a little getting used to, but really…not that big of a deal.

    What about the times when you’re about to embark on a journey that is truely life-changing. For example, one where you quit your job, sell all of your possessions and move to a third-world country to help people out of poverty? When you sacrifice the stability of your relationships in order to do what you believe to be right? Those types of changes are much more difficult to overcome the fear that goes along with making the choice that this is what you want to do with your life.

    In my opinion, your life is becoming more and more introverted. And maybe that’s exactly what you want, so I don’t mean that to be judgemental. So it’s difficult for me to take this kind of article as inspirational when it comes from someone who seems (to me) to be afraid of taking risks. You plan every single aspect of your life down to the more minute details…probably to eliminate any type of risk.

    Sorry to be rude, but when I read your inspirational posts, I just think about a guy who’s in his early 30′s locked away in a spare room, playing board games, and reading books. You don’t ever write about how you are interacting with neighbors or your community. What kind of risks are you taking that you have to “defeat the resistence fighter” inside of you? That’s a genuine question.

    Again, I’m sorry to be rude. But I’m growing weary of all the “self-help” articles from people who aren’t (in my opinion) very inspirational. That’s not to say I don’t find value in your other articles regarding frugality or finance. I just don’t think the inspirational guru is your niche.

  5. krantcents says:

    Inner strength or discipline is very important whether to resist bad habits, spending or straying from your goals.

  6. kristine says:

    Woah Steve, pretty harsh! Where this blog really shines is in articles like Pennies or dollars- where he runs numbers most people just will not bother to ever do, but would like to know, or the Christmas gift series, which was first rate. And the reader mailbags- the comments section is always terrific! I prefer the logical and creative solution posts to the self-examination extrapolations, but I am sure some people prefer these, and find them inspiring.

  7. Jen says:

    I actually found this post pretty cool because I can relate to it (especially with the exercise bit… Oh how I do!). Anyway, I respect Steven’s opinion but completely disagree with it. I don’t think we need to know everything there is to know about Trent to be able to give him credibility. I don’t think in order for his words to have any impact or meaning I need to know exactly what he does in every aspect of his life. Having said that, I actually think he continuously shares lots about his family and lifestyle decisions. Wanting to know more, at least for me, would be pure intrusion!

  8. deRuiter says:

    “For example, one where you quit your job, sell all of your possessions and move to a third-world country to help people out of poverty?” Trent is working hard to keep HIS family out of poverty and to give them a comfortable, happy life. If everyone did that, instead of shirking their responsibilities, there would be a lot less poverty. The reason there is so much poverty in certain non first string countries is that people are not taking responsibility for themselves. Think 3rd world countries where the men drink alcohol each night and or smoke tobacco, sucking up money which ought to go to the children they have fathered. Go read “Angela’s Ashes for examples of people shirking their responsibilities to their children leading to poverty. Trent is not only supporting his family, he is (at gunpoint from the government) being forced to suppost Americans who are not working for whatever reason, government officials who pass regulations to make life more difficult for the private sector while those officials produce nothing of value, and the American government’s lavishing of billions of dollars on third world nations, like that million dollars in the last stimulus bill which was thrown away teaching Kenyan men to wash their penises after having sex. Trent’s tax dollars contributed to the Kenyan man penis project, or other third world follies lavished on foreigners by our Federal government with American taxpayer dollars. Trent is helping his family, the third world, and Americans in need, by staying put and earning money.

  9. Baley says:

    I found this article particularly inspiring because I don’t fight the inner resistance fighter very often. Instead, I’m on her side. This article helped me think about that a little more and decide to stand up and fight her!

  10. Katie says:

    This is not a criticism, merely an observation. I find this choice of metaphor interesting – my own framing would have been the opposite; my internal resistance fighter would be the one fighting ennui and the status quo in my life.

  11. Johanna says:

    My first thought when I read the article was “I guess the principle of not blaming others for your problems doesn’t extend to made-up metaphorical people.”

    And I sort of agree with Steven – it is kind of weird to see someone imagining himself as the hero of some kind of epic battle, when all he’s doing is trying to make time to go on a walk every day.

    If that’s the sort of thing you find inspiring (and I do understand how it would be), then go for it. There’s no harm in thinking that way, as long as you can put things back in an appropriate perspective when you’re faced with someone who’s had to make the kind of life-changing decisions that require real heroism.

  12. lurker carl says:

    This reminds me of cartoons where a devil and an angel sit on opposite shoulders, counteracting each other’s arguments. Trent’s example shows a strong internal evil persona but lacks an internal good persona. Where is the balance? Perhaps some effort should go into cultivating a strong good twin, rather than fighting alone against on evil twin.

  13. Earth MaMa Jo says:

    “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Confucious said that a LONG time ago. I believe every decision whether small or large starts with a single step, a single decision, a single action. I find inspiration in this kind of thought and do with Trent’s article, since it’s a variation of the same principle.

    A life changing decision/action, I believe, would require a lot of smaller decisions along the way (Moving a mountain, one stone at a time?). If a person can’t make the smallest decision that could ultimately lead to a life changing decision/action then they aren’t willing to take the risk of realizing their goal. The goal may remain out of reach because of their own….fear, perhaps?

    I have a mental “toolbox” where I keep such concepts. They help me become what I believe is a better person and keep me on track with my goals. I’ve realized I can be my own worst enemy (my resistance fighter is powerful), but taking ownership of my progress on a goal ultimately lies within myself.

    Another concept in my toolbox is the idea that if I disagree with how a problem might be solved, I should offer 3 possible solutions to the problem. Even if the ideas aren’t very good, they might be the spark to a better overall solution.

    For example, to be rude and judgmental are closed minded concepts. It forces your beliefs upon someone else, without regard or respect. To apologize for being rude and judgmental, especially in a forum like this, is…in my opinion is not an apology at all. We all have the time to think about what we want to share before hitting the submit button. Instead of being that way, we could: a) rethink our thoughts and attempt to make them constructive criticism so that the person is left with “food for thought” and not just an insult, b) not respond at all if we don’t have something positive to share, or possibly c) take the value of what is shared for what it is, knowing that it may not answer every “what if” question that life throws our way.

    Just my 2 cents – take it or leave it….or maybe improve on it.

  14. joan says:

    #8 I agree completely with your comments. I have been wanting to begin a project for some time and my resistance fighter has been strong with what might be good agruments, but who knows maybe just maybe, if I fight HIM hard enough, I might find that I can win. Thanks Trent, for a new way of looking at my procrastation.

  15. Steven says:

    @deRuiter: I’d rather MY tax money be used for keeping penises clean than for it to be used to bomb countries that we just have to rebuild after we bomb them. I don’t want MY tax dollars to be used to occupy sovereign nations. It’s a waste, and completely senseless.

    If I had a choice, none of my tax dollars would be used to fund wars, bomb nations, allow guns to walk across the border… My tax dollars would be used to keep penises clean, educate women, build wells and schools, etc.

  16. Brittany says:

    Normally I think it’s better to ignore the trolls rather than feed them, but well said, Steven. Hear, hear.

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