Steven Pressfield has written a wonderful new book titled: “Do the Work.” If you are trying to create anything, build anything, overcome anything…really trying to do anything at all, I recommend you find a copy of the book and devour it. I gobbled mine up the afternoon Amazon dropped it in the mailbox. One long gulp of what I was desperately needing to help me with the way I was thinking about a project, a problem and my life.
Pressfield writes in the book that at some point in an enterprise, a project, a book…(I’d add “a life”) things fall off the rails. He calls it the “Big Crash.” What was going great, completely, totally comes apart. You hit the wall and everything turns hopeless.
The voice in your head that has only been whispering begins to scream:
“What a failure.”
“You always screw things up.”
“No one else would have this problem.”
(Those are some of the voices in my head).
And if you’re like me, you’re pretty sure at that moment the voice is right.
He writes: “The Big Crash is so predictable, across all fields of enterprise, that we can practically set our watches by it.”
Let’s leave Pressfield for a moment and talk about you and me.
I know about the Big Crash. I bet you do, too. Everyone has them. Most of us have a bunch.
Sometimes the Big Crash isn’t visible to anyone. Sometimes the Big Crash is big news. Some times the Big Crash is a bolt from the blue. Some times you see it coming a mile away but can’t stop it.
But every time, the Big Crash is painful, horrifying and uniquely personal. Oh, and permanent, you think.
Pressfield also writes about what he calls the Resistance. The Resistance is our enemy. He writes that the enemy is “an intelligent, active, malign force working against us.” This enemy, Resistance, is hostile and not to be taken lightly. Resistance’s aim is “not to obstruct or to hamper or impede. Its aim is to kill.”
The Resistance tells you you’re too messed up, too hopeless, too…(insert whatever is your appropriate doubt-word here) for things to change for the better. Game over. Turn out the lights. Stamp “LOSER” on your forehead. Pull the covers up over your head, you’re done.
Just a hair over 2,000 years ago some guys were part of a great new enterprise. They dreamed of how what was wrong could be right. How life could be different. How the outsiders could be insiders. How what was broken could be whole. They’d believed in a man with wild claims and strange teachings. They knew he was different. They decided that this man was the One everyone was waiting for…even people who didn’t know they were waiting, were waiting for what he promised:
Hope. Meaning. Purpose. Life. Second chances.
He convinced them that things were going to be different, finally. And then the Big Crash.
He was dead. And not a peaceful death. An ugly, bloody, complete and utter disaster. THE Big Crash. Darkness and hopelessness reigned.
The Resistance won. That voice told them they had been wrong to believe. Stupid to have wanted more. Fools for trying to see beyond themselves. Losers for hoping that people like them could have another chance.
And they listened to that voice that sowed doubt and fear. I mean, really, who wouldn’t? It was hopeless.
And then word began to spread that his tomb was empty. He had been dead. But now he was alive. Really alive. Fully alive.
The Resistance hadn’t won.
And because of that, you and I win.
The Resistance wants you to think that you are the sum total of your failures. The Resistance wants you to believe that things are hopeless. The Resistance wants you to believe that whatever you’re struggling with, whatever Big Crash you’ve experienced, is the end. The Resistance wants you to believe that second chances are for other people who aren’t as bad as you are.
Don’t you believe it for a second. The tomb is empty. He lives. And He loves you right now.
Things may feel dark and hopeless right now, but the dawn is coming. Big Crashes aren’t forever.
Dream. Hope. Love.
He is risen.
He is risen indeed. It’s going to be OK. It’s Easter.
I’d love to hear what you think of Pressfield’s book, the Resistance and Big Crashes.