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Defeat resistance

I’ve just finished reading a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield which was recommended to the class of the story seminar by the teacher, Robert McKee. Although the book is primarily written for writers, it has truths and application for anyone who has ever wanted to do anything and found themselves struggling to make it happen.

Pressfield talks about a force of evil which he calls Resistance, whose aim and objective is to prevent us from doing the things that we’ve been called to do, that we dream of doing or that we’ve started to do and stopped. I have come across Resistance in many forms, as fear, procrastination and even Imposter Syndrome. As a writer, I’ve found that it also turns up disguised as writer’s block, which I was well acquainted with before I went to the Story seminar.

Some of the things that elicit Resistance, in Pressfield’s opinion are:

* The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting film, dance or any creative art.

* The launch of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise

* Any diet or health regime.

* Any programme of spiritual advancement.

* Any course or programme designed to overcome and unwholesome habit or addiction.

* Education of every kind etc.

His list goes on, but basically he considers any act that rejects immediate gratification in favour of long-term growth, health or integrity as fair game for Resistance.

I now understand what the Government has been up against; it is Resistance. Perhaps that is why it has been unable to reject immediate gratification (or let’s call it short term gain) in favour of long-term growth.

I’m convinced that Resistance has been effective in paralysing the Minister of Finance and preventing him from doing the things that need to be done in order to reduce the fiscal deficit. We can only hope that the plan to implement a stimulus package to the staggering amount of $600 million also meets up a similar fate after coming up against Resistance.

The former Opposition Leader seems to be sitting on potential solutions for the Government, having, in his own words, successfully found ways to stimulate the economy during his tenure. I hope that he will not allow Resistance to prevent him from offering some of these solutions to the Minister of Finance for the benefit of the country and that the minister would not be so hard headed to refuse advice because he believes that he has all the answers because it is obvious that he does not.

I recognise that Resistance has also taken up residence in Town & Country Planning and has taken on the role of ensuring that major projects that could help stimulate the economy are held up. Should someone not be fired over this?

If I seem a little trigger happy when it comes to firing, it’s because I simply can’t believe the inefficiency that we allow to go unpunished in Barbados, especially at a time when things are so rough, particularly in the construction industry. If I believed in the conspiracy theory, I would wonder if there is some conspiracy to destroy most of the construction firms in the island.

However, being the ultimate optimist, I believe there is hope. In my book What Do You Have in Your House? I wrote about the story of a poor widow who only had a little bit of oil in her house, which she practically disregarded as having any value. However, once she stepped out in faith and collected her jars, as instructed by the prophet, and she began to pour it out, the oil miraculously began to flow until all the jars were full.

Pressfield describes something similar in his book. He says: “When we conceive of an enterprise and commit to it in the face of our fears, something wonderful happens. A crack appears in the membrane. Like the first crack when a chick pecks at the inside of its shell. Angel midwives congregate around us; they assist as we give birth to ourselves, to that person we were born to be, to the one whose destiny is encoded in our soul, our genius.”

Perhaps that’s also true for nations and maybe when someone (government, opposition or otherwise) can conceive of a way out of this crisis and commit to it in the face of fears (of not getting re-elected, of being unpopular, of stepping outside their comfort zone) then maybe we will see something wonderful happen, maybe we will see cracks appear in the shell of impossibility and believe that heaven is standing by waiting to help us give birth to a new Barbados.

* Donna Every is a Chartered Accountant and an MBA who worked with Ernst & Young for ten years before starting her own Business Advisory practice, Arise Consulting Inc. She has written four books including What Do You Have in Your House?, Surviving in Times of Financial Crisis and the novel The Merger Mogul.

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