On Resistance

I did a presentation about financial freedom at a conference in Los Angeles and got a lot of resistance to my message.

“If I want to gain financial independence in the couple of years. You’re telling me that means that I have to save 90% of my income. I can’t do that!”

“My money is hard-earned and I deserve to spend it however I want. You can’t tell me not to do that.”

“Capitalism is the problem and the only solution is to overthrow the system.”

The presentation was uncomfortable. I spoke with my friend and mentor Terces Englehart, who founded Cafe Gratitude, a project serving love and transformation by acting as a restaurant. What was the source of the resistance to my message? How could I handle it better next time? This was her response:

Whatever we resist, persists. 

But our resistance actually “holds” it, whatever “it” is, in place. 

I suspect any resistance that we feel, or put forth, is probably a good indication of our own boundaries, our own self imposed “jail,” so to speak. We are bumping up against what holds us, and our reality or perception, in place. 

It’s always good to look to see if that boundary still serves us. So many boundaries are created out of past failures, or wounds. We design them to protect us, and they do that well. However at some point in our growth and development, they stop serving us as protection and begin to hold us in, keep us trapped. 

Perhaps we are safer than we once were, and can now rethink those walls we have built. 

Real freedom, in my way of thinking, is the ability to or not to.  In other words, I could say yes, or I could say no, I choose freely. I could stay home or I could go out, either would be great, so I choose. So often we let the circumstances, or our perception of the circumstances choose for us, but what if we were truly free to choose…. anything, either thing, or all of it? 

Resistance is such a great teacher, a wonderful “nudge” to awaken and pay attention to the boundary we have bumped up against. To better understand its place in our lives, to befriend it, to move it, to create a new opening where there wasn’t one before. 

My big learning is the last part: resistance is a great teacher, a wonderful “nudge” to awaken and pay attention to the boundary we have bumped up against. In Financial Freedom 1, students hit their resistance in different places in the course:

  • The math

  • How consumerism is mostly a desire for status and belonging

  • What’s in their control and what isn’t

  • I’m too old

When students are willing to pay money for the course, it is a sign that they are open to get close to their discomfort. They see the boundary and they’re willing to let go of old perspectives, to see the world differently. Our job at SOFF is to hold that space and let people experience the edge of their boundary.

I’ve come to believe that Financial Freedom is really a pathway to personal growth more than it is a pathway to financial independence. It’s a challenge to figure out what you really want and become who you really are. Budgeting is the discipline to let go of the superficially important for the really important. It’s so empowering to do so.

Where’s your resistance?