The point in any story where the hero is forced to overcome obstacles is always compelling to us because it is the point where they’re forced to grow.
As a society, the typical heroes are athletes, entrepreneurs, artists, and occasionally politicians. But we are all heroes in our own stories.
As we continue down our heroes journey, there are over 20 different types of hidden monsters that we can face to serve as obstacles to overcome.
Collectively, they make up the resistance. They’re the opposition to the Hero, to us, in our story. The resistance will stand against any act that we try to take for meaning, purpose or growth.
This includes things like any new diet or health program, a new exercise program, a weight loss journey, a program for spiritual advancement, any calling for writing or music or any unconventional art form, big commitments of heart like getting married or having a child, any program to help you overcome a bad habit or addiction, educating yourself, any business or entrepreneurial adventure.
Your journey is littered with opportunities for change, and this is their meal.
They’re invisible to the physical senses. You cannot see them, or hear them, or touch them or smell them. You can only feel them, down in the darkness. You can catch a glimpse, like a shadow in a darkened room. The force of the negative feelings they try to push from the core of your being is aiming to drive us away from where we want to go.
Each one of them is insidious. They’ll tell you anything to keep you from doing what you need to do or heading in the direction you need to go. They will lie, seduce, bully, and torment. Individually, they can take any form that needed to trick you. The resistance will present itself in the form of a well-meaning friend or family member or it will attack you like an armed criminal waving its weapon in your face. The monsters have no conscience, no moral standards and they feel the opposite of what you feel. Their nature is ever shifting and ever changing, making it difficult to identify them.
These monsters are unbiased, nondiscriminatory, objective. They are a force of nature, part of every life. That adds to their power because most of us believe they shouldn’t exist at all and when they do we believe they can be vanquished. But they can never be so and are an essential part of our nature, of our journey. Though we sense malevolence, they are truly the definition of indifference.
The monsters are universal. They are the opposition to everyone and everything, not just to you. Everyone experiences them. The more important your mission or call to action, the more the monsters will attack your soul.
The warrior knows that the battle must be fought and won anew every single day. The great artists understand this also. Everyone is an artist and their life is their defining work of art. The hero’s journey, your journey, is an endless work of art.
The monsters do not aim to wound you. They do not aim to hold you back or disable you completely. The monsters aim to kill. They want to annihilate the art entirely. Your genius, your unique gifts and experiences, and perspectives that can never be replaced. The monsters want to remove them from the history of the universe absolutely and completely.
Overcoming the monsters, the obstacles in your story, is a war to the death.
How do we overcome the obstacles?
You just do it. Start. Start now. Start before you’re ready. You’ll never be ready before you’re almost finished. So “waiting until you’re ready” is one of the monsters and it’s got a stranglehold on you.
The enemy, the opposition, the obstacle to our journey is not a lack of preparedness. It’s not the difficulty of the task or the problems that need to be solved. It’s the monsters of the resistance. The voice in our heads that tell us it’s too difficult, too strenuous, that is the voice of the monsters. The one that hears the voice is the artist, the hero, you. If we give that voice one second in our brain it’s going to inject us full of excuses and justifications and reasons why we can’t, shouldn’t, won’t.
So start now. Start before the voices get louder. Start to abruptly end their momentum. Good things happen when you start before you’re ready to start. Starting before you think you are ready thrusts you into a high-pressure situation.
When your natural fight-or-flight reaction kicks in, choose fight.
Choose to embrace the adrenaline, the head rush, the feeling of your heart slamming against your chest and courage coursing through you.
When you start the fight, when you dive in head first, you make a commitment. Without it, you only give the monsters more to feed on.
If you still have an alibi, an excuse, a justification, your monsters are still in charge.