Seth Godin calls it the lizard brain, Steven Pressfield calls it the resistance. However you want to call it, we all have it. We all struggle with it. And for most of us - it runs us.
Are you a lizard? Do you act upon the amygdala? How much of your thoughts you have are really your own thoughts?
We say we want to do all these things: write a book, start a blog, start a Youtube channel, start reading books, get fit … No obese person ever says, “I never want to be fit.” Instead, we tell ourselves: “I will…”. And then we don’t. Why?
Again, let me ask you - how much of your actions are really based on your own thoughts? We don’t have these aforementioned thoughts like “I’m never going to read books or do the things I want to do.” Yet our actions often speak differently. Our actions are different than our thoughts.
The lizard brain runs us quietly in the background. Like the Windows operating system where you think you control the computer, but in reality, it takes orders from Microsoft first and accepts your orders only if they are in line with Microsoft.
The same applies to our lives - we think we’re in control, but in a lot of cases, it’s the lizard who calls the shots.
You start a project, but the lizard tells us to get back where you were and to quit, and so you do.
It’s in the artist who never finishes her painting because it’s “not ready yet.” It’s in the company that postpones the product launch and has meetings instead. It’s in the student who keeps stressing over the small details in his master’s thesis instead of the main ideas. It’s in all of us.
“We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.”
Steven Pressfield, Do the Work
But what if you genuinely don’t want to do the work? Here’s how to know if you need to do it or not: do you feel the resistance or not? It’s a compass - the more resistance we feel towards something, the more of a sign it is that it’s what we need to do.
The lizard brain only wants to keep us moving up and doing the things that would help us get where we want to get.
To quote Seth Godin: “Now … [that] … you know its name. What are you going to do about it?