The Ideas and Concepts Mastermind (Facebook Group)
In the War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls it the Resistance. I’ve heard it referred to as the thief, the villain, the gremlin, one book on eating habits calls it “your inner pig.” Maybe some even call it Satan? The devil? I call it the base. And I tried to study it out of my existence for two years, before finding out that it doesn’t go away – and here’s why it doesn’t and won’t go away.
Welcome to the Second Mix Podcast where we reflect, revise, and remix our lives. My name is Matthew Bennett. At the end of this episode there’s going to be a call to action -a call to take some little step to remix your life – please join the Facebook group Ideas and Concepts Mastermind so we can continue the discussion. The link is in the description.
We all have a voice inside us that does its best to steal our joy and hurt our productivity.
In the War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls it the Resistance. I’ve heard it referred to as the the thief, the villain, the gremlin, one book on eating habits calls it “your inner pig.” Maybe some even call it Satan? The devil? I call it the base. And I tried to study it out of my existence for two years, before finding out that it doesn’t go away – and here’s why it doesn’t and won’t go away.
I think it’s the part of us that wants to go with the flow. To take the path of least resistance. And this becomes a problem, because all of life is a struggle against the downward pull of the normal negative. It’s like a tree’s struggle upward against gravity and all other opposition. It’s just there – it’s part of nature.
We will always have to struggle against the base, because it’s part of nature.
Our minds give it a voice because we tend to do that – to try to categorize and explain things.
A tree does not have will or the power of decision. So it is going to struggle against this downward pull naturally. No matter how hard, it will grow as tall as possible, dig its roots as deep as it can.
A part of being human is that we have the power and dignity of making the decision for ourselves of how hard we will try to grow, or how little effort we will put into our lives. The base is the pull to do nothing extra but get the bare necessities to just get by, and usually to keep from being bored.
I think that why there is such joy in becoming something better, something wiser, and something stronger. We are doing our part to participate, along with the rest of nature, in the struggle against the normal negative.
I’ve learned a few things about the base, since I discovered its existence.
The first thing I learned is that the base will scream its head off to get what it wants. It will loudly scream “I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t feel like going to work today. A salad for lunch will not satisfy me. I don’t care if I have to lie to get my way.”
The base screams loudly, and as soon as you are in any position of leadership, or even if you become part of a large network, it’s easy to see people who are listening to their own base voice – either through their actions, or their excuses.
But the base screams so loudly because in actuality it has no control over your actions. Zero. You are as strong a nature – you are as strong as that oak that says I’m going to dig deep and climb as high as I can. But the base doesn’t want to do the work, so it screams and it lies and it says all the words that it possibly can to try and trick you and tempt you to stop pushing forward.
It is powerless. You can safely ignore it, it only screams until you act it into submission. The voice that yells at you that “those push-ups today will be meaningless, so you don’t need to do them,” that voice disappears after you do the push-ups. It has no reason to be there anymore. It wants you to think that it will keep screaming, but let me ask you,
Have you ever had that voice try to stop you from exercising, and then you fight through it, and do your exercising – has that voice ever come back and chastised you for your efforts? “I can’t believe you exercised. That was a stupid move. You shouldn’t do that anymore.”
I’m gonna guess that this hasn’t happened, because there’s no reason for it to happen. The voice only comes to stop you – to kill, steal, and destroy your hope and your productivity.
The second thing I learned is that the base will take all of your negative experiences, and all the negative scripts running in your head, and play them for you at the most appropriate times (or inappropriate) – times where they will have the most influence. It will also take your thoughts and twist them into conspiracy theories, creating stories that are not true and then try to make you believe them. If you listen to these scripts and conspiracy theories, without recognizing that they came from the voice of the base, you can actually get worked up enough to be furious at another person for something they are not even thinking or doing. The stories that the base creates are often NOT TRUE.
The third thing that I learned is that the base is tricky, and that’s why it is so important to keep studying and working hard on yourself and your life. That’s why it’s so important to journal and reflect and plan, and to be a student of your own life. To be a scientist of your own life who will continue to run experiments until you get where you want to be.
I was tricked badly by the base last year. I began to work on my eating and exercise last March in an attempt to lose weight. I started this diet. I would have three eggs for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and an avocado with dinner, plus a small portion of whatever my wife made for the family. And then I would hike/walk for at least 45 minutes.
Here are two sides to the story. In March I lost 8 pounds and I was thrilled. In April I lost 10 pounds and was even more excited. In May I lost 6 pounds. Things were going great. By the end of June, I was kayaking a few times a week also. And I lost no weight in June, by the end of July, I had gained ten pounds back, and was disappointed – the exercise made me feel good, but the weight was coming back on. I understood plateaus, but why was I gaining weight again? I didn’t change my eating, and I added exercise. This was crazy.
The other side to the story. I made my salad, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, sometimes avocado, peppers, sometimes I sliced up a hard boiled egg. Shredded cheese. It was beautiful. All of March and April. Then I slowly began to add more cheese. I added pepperoni to my salad. I told myself, I’ll put ranch dressing on instead of oil and vinegar every once in a while – which became every time. And I’ll have another bowl every once in a while – which became every time as well. And more and more pepperoni and cheese and ranch. All the while, I’m telling myself, I can’t believe I’m gaining weight – I’m still eating salads for lunch. I haven’t changed my eating. And at the dinner table, same story. Those small portions turned into huge portions. And the base was there the whole time saying - you may as well give up your diet, because it’s not working.
Had I not been reflecting on things, I may not have every caught what was going on.
Still, to this day, I say things to myself like, “I’ve been doing all the right things, and my mind is in the right place, so why don’t I feel happy today?” And I get mad because I put in all this work to be happy, and I’m not happy. But I know the answer is twofold. I just deceive myself and don’t always see it for what it is. The answer is this: First, I can’t be happy all the time. Everyone goes through winter – so if it’s winter right now, then I have to work on being better, stronger, and wiser. Second, if I’m whining that I’m not happy when I did all this work to be happy, then my mindset is NOT in the right place, so I shouldn’t fool myself and say that it is.
Choose right now to let your inner adversity scream all it wants without giving in to the voice. Choose not to believe the stories it tells you about yourself and others. And choose to not let it trick you for very long before you reflect on your life and begin to make it better.
I wanna hear some of the ways that your inner voice tries to game you into failure – let me know in the Ideas & Concepts Facebook group – the link is in the description. Even if you don’t want to share these publicly, take some action this week to review your life and see where the base is pushing against you, and come up with a winning strategy.
Thanks for listening to the Second Mix Podcast, once again, I am Matthew Bennett. You can grab this transcript on the blog at secondmix.net. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I read every one, and I want to talk to you! Please give me 5 stars on Apple or wherever else they let you do it, subscribe to get notified about the latest episodes – and if you haven’t yet, please leave me a review. If you know anyone who will find this information helpful, please tell them about the show – I do this to help people. I’m gonna be here every Monday and Thursday until hashtags aren’t a thing anymore.
Take steps that will make your week incredible. I’ll be back on Thursday – this week continue reflecting, revising and remixing your life. I’ll see you soon!