If you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution and reached a point where things just stopped, you’ve already experienced The Wall firsthand. The Wall is a form of resistance that often comes after we’ve made decent progress. Unfortunately, the end still seems so far away that we justify simply stopping. The Wall can be a good thing, though. It’s a very real form of resistance that, once overcome, builds confidence in our abilities and desire to take more action.
I’ve hit the wall more times than I can count. I’ve written books half way, given up on diet and workout routines, halted career opportunities, and stopped learning about interesting topics. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was resistance at work, that unseen sinister force that wanted me to give up. We’ve all been there. Here’s the good part: once you get a victory under your belt, you can see resistance for what it is: an evil force wanting you to be miserable. For me, the victory came when I published my first book. It wasn’t good but I did it and I learned a great deal in the process. Once I had that win, I knew I could do it again and do it with a higher degree of quality in the finished product. Getting the victory is critical, but identifying resistance is the first step.
Nobody is immune to The Wall, but putting victories under your belt does make it easier to overcome it the next time. I’ve experienced The Wall so many times in my life that I’ve learned to recognize it when it happens. And it happens often. Every time I write. Every creative endeavor I’ve ever undertaken. It happens with my physical fitness goals. It happens with my businesses. The Wall is everywhere. Now that you know what it is, you can probably look back and see countless times when you hit The Wall.
Randy Pausch said, in his incredibly moving “Last Lecture,”
"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people."[i]
Translation: The Wall is not for us. We press forward. We go over, through, or around, whatever it takes. The Wall is there to stop other people, not us.
[i] Carnegie Mellon University. “The Last Lecture.” YouTube. Pausch, Randy. December 20, 2007