Using The Permanence of Paper as Resistance

Nov 4, 2016
Joe Buhlig
~1 min

The concept of resistance is getting to be common knowledge. In its original context as posed by Steven Pressfield, resistance is entirely negative. It is the internal and sometimes external force keeping us from doing our best work. As good brainworkers we consistently look for tactics, methodologies, and habits to remove and eliminate resistance.

But there’s another side to resistance. You can take the inverse process and instead of removing resistance to doing the positive, you end up creating resistance to prevent the negative. In part, it’s this inverse relationship with resistance that has me using pen and paper for my daily planning.

I appreciate uniformity and order. That’s a piece of why I build and enjoy structures and systems. It’s also natural for me to write my daily plans in the same format every day. And I don’t like drawing lines through a plan I’ve already made to accommodate a change. Granted, things happen and I’m okay with alterations if it’s an external input dictating the change. But if it’s just me, I don’t want to change it because it will destroy the cleanliness of the plan.

Type A, I know. But that’s how I think. The beauty is that I can create my goal for the day and know that when I put it on paper it pains me to change it after-the-fact. And when I go through the day following the plan and don’t feel like doing the next step, I know that putting it off requires a disruption in the cleanliness of what I’ve written on paper. Strange as it is, I would rather do the unwanted task than break up the structure I’ve created.

I find it interesting how big an impact these little habits can have on the outcome of a day. I may be doing the same process on paper as I can digitally, but because pen and paper have more permanence than an event in my calendar, I’m more prone to following the plan.