The Law Of Resistance

Why is it so difficult to create movement – never mind successful movement?

Remember, the law of movement says: All movement is governed by the integration of motivation, direction and structure.

If you want positive movement (greater success) you need to ensure the following:

  • Clarity of and passion for the source of the motivation
  • Accurate and simple direction
  • Relevant structure

In essence, why do leaders fail at creating successful movement? They lose sight of the source of their motivation; the passion they once had for it fades! When the source of, and passion for motivation fades into the background, the accuracy of the direction suffers, because it ceases to be guided by an authentic source; it is now influenced by an unauthentic component, like ego, greed – and so the direction loses its simplicity.  And what follows is structure (systems, procedures, and resources) becomes irrelevant.

But here is the challenge. While there is a universal law of movement, and a way to expand on that law, for greater success, there also exists a universal law of resistance.

It simply states: “All movement in life is accompanied by resistance.” Common words we use to identify the presence of this law are: challenges, problems, obstacles, constraints, issues, etc. We walk into the leaders office and say – “We have a problem, challenge.”

So where there is movement there is resistance – whether it is the car, you walking, a business, a country or a relationship.

Let’s start simply.

When you drove to work today, was the law of resistance present? Were there obstacles, challenges, constraints? When you walked from your car to the office? In both instances the answer is yes.

First the obvious obstacles, constraints were – robots, cars, buildings. Then there are the not so obvious resistance factors – air resistance, friction between your vehicle tyres and the road, gravity and more. There are often obvious and not so obvious resistance factors in leadership.

On the one hand a leader must learn to manage movement successfully, while on the other hand learn to process the law of resistance.

But what seems to be the underlying purpose of this law? Imagine if I could click my fingers and with immediate effect all your obstacles, challenges, constraints in your life, relationships, business, in SA are gone. No problems! Would you enjoy that? This is what most people want isn’t it? We want to retire to escape problems, stress – the law of resistance. We yearn to go on holiday to avoid resistance. It is in our nature to want ease, comfort, an easy life, success without resistance.

Now of course clicking my finger won’t work. But, what would happen if I could do this? What would be the result? No opposition. Every person that implements motivation, direction and structure could move with ease. You achieve all your dreams, ambitions and aspirations, without any problems. Nothing stands in your way! Everybody drives the best cars, look slim and fantastic, has money, success, fame, and much more. Sounds great – yet at the same time weird, strange, unnatural.

What is the point? If everyone achieves successful movement overnight, or drives the best cars, or everyone achieves success with ease it becomes common and loses its appeal.

Resistance is actually not the enemy of movement but the friend. Without it movement loses its appeal; movement has no purpose; without it we stop growing. It gives meaning to movement.

Instinctively all leaders of substance have a fairly healthy attitude towards resistance – challenges, problems, obstacles. They know that it motivates us to move, to sharpen the saw, improve systems, fine tune the direction and structure, and test our source of motivation.

You see, if my source of motivation is not pure and superficial, will I really endure in the face of real opposition, resistance.

Jeffrey R Holland said: “If for a while the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best of people who ever lived.”

Great leaders thrive under resistance; they almost welcome it; they realise that it is part of life and sustains movement if processed correctly with the right attitude.

 So, why is it so difficult to create successful movement? Because there exists a law of resistance; and while it may be simple to create movement, it is also made difficult by this law for good reason!

As a young assistant manager in a large corporate the MD walked into my office when I was standing in for the manager. He sat down and chatted, then referred factually to our performance, followed by a question: What challenges do you have that I can assist you with? I think I answered none. It made me feel good and I was impressed with him. But I still didn’t tell him anything about our challenges.

His instinct as a leader was great. But know this –  people don’t just tell the leader about their challenges, for various reasons. As a leader you need to refine your skill to draw out of your people their obstacles, challenges – real or perceived.

We challenge you to change your attitude about challenges, resistance. Welcome it. Make it your friend. Hating problems and challenges is, strangely, like a body builder that wants to build muscles, yet he hates the weights and training in the gym.

Create movement by implementing the law of movement!

Expand the law of movement by implementing the law of successful movement!

Develop a positive attitude towards resistance and learn to confidently identify, confront and process it!

For more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside your organisation, contact us on




Adriaan, as an accomplished author and leadership advisor, has been interviewing and working with top leaders for more than 15 years. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Leadership Platform. (Twitter: @AdriaanG_LP)

Call: +27 (0)12 653 3022

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Leadership Platform is a specialist leadership development consultancy, focusing on creating measurable impact to the bottom line through the enhancement of leadership understanding and engagement.


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