How to Deal with the “Axis of Resistance” Sabotaging Your Results
Founder & CEO
“Rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe. Therefore, the Master takes action by letting things take their course.”― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Three different ways of being – rushing, forcing, and grasping – arising from the same impulse: to resist what is so in the current moment.
We rush to resist the limitations of time. We push to resist the constraints of circumstance.
We grasp (or cling) to resist the pain of letting go. This axis of resistance comes with a list of destructive side effects: More stress, anxiety, and restlessness. Less focus, creativity, and agility. And to top it all off: rushing, forcing, or grasping nearly guarantees suboptimal results.
There’s a cruel irony at play here. G.K. Chesterton said that “one of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time.” The more we rush, the longer the outcome takes (when it invariably must be done again). The more we force, the less likely the outcome becomes (when we jam together puzzle pieces that simply don’t fit). The more we grasp, the greater chance the outcome slips out of reach (when we don’t allow ourselves to be adaptive to what is happening around us).
So how do we defeat this nefarious triumvirate? Only through cultivating acceptance. Acceptance does not mean complacency nor tolerance. It isn’t resigning ourselves to a bad outcome. It is about diverting our energy from resisting what is so (which gets us nowhere) to acknowledging what is so as it is and as it is not. Only through acceptance can we create space for possibility.
- Notice – Where in your life are you rushing, forcing, or grasping? Is there a particular project at work where you fall into these behaviors? Is there a relationship where you are resisting what is so?
- Reflect – What is at the source of your rushing, forcing, or grasping? What about the reality of the situation are you resisting? What is it that you really care about underneath it all that might be animating the resistance? Is there fear? Feel the resistance in your body – where is it and what does it feel like? Hold that feeling. Get familiar with it – it is a good red flag for you!
- Accept – Now—can you allow the situation to be as it is? Can you acknowledge the facts of the situation as they are and as they are not? Can you accept and honor the fundamental care you have that fueled this resistance? Can you approach the situation as it is with your noble intention in mind, and begin to see a new possibility to reach it without the energy of resistance?
- Act – With the energy of acceptance, what new actions do you now see to take? Are there any new pathways—that you were previously blind to in the whirlwind of rushing, forcing, and grasping—that have now come more sharply into focus?