A resistance-beating habit makes all the difference. The momentum can be tremendous.
We did a show recently, called Skyscrapers of the Midwest, that required every bit of effort we had to pull it off. Seriously, our tanks were way below empty by the time we were finished. And it was totally worth it.
I remember there coming a point about 10 days from the end, when several of us went straight past the point of rational, determined resistance-beating to a mind-set where resistance could barely touch us. We started laughing at danger and dining on anything resistance threw in our paths.
It wasn’t that the work became easy, that certainly wasn’t the case. It was as-if by consistently beating resistance with constant effort for the previous three hellacious weeks, we reached a plateau from which we could look down on the ordinary resistance we had faced and realize how paltry it’s efforts actually.
Of course, on that plateau, we faced a big boss battle. Myself and two other people in particular were worked from 6am on opening day right up until the moment (this is not an exaggeration in any way, shape, or form) that we opened the theater doors, and even after that. It was incredible, and incredibly rewarding.
But we certainly wouldn’t have survived opening day without the plateau, and it weeks of brutal, misery-making slogging through the jungle to get to the plateau.
(And, once we rested, we didn’t get to start from the plateau, or even celebrate our boss battle. We started right back at the beginning, about to enter the jungle and get covered in leeches all over again.)
If you’ve worked at an incredibly busy restaurant, you may have experience a version of that plateau. On absolutely crazy days, like New Years Eve or Easter or Parents’ Weekend (for the Kona fans) you cook your ass off (or run your ass off) in a total panic for a couple of hours, but before long you realize that it’s hopeless, that those individually frustrating orders or customers are barely worth your notice. You stop sweating the small stuff, and start focusing on the bigger challenge, survival. Your focus shifts entirely, and when everyone reaches that plateau together, you can even start to have fun, right there in the seventh circle of hell. I don’t work in restaurants anymore, but I look back on those crazy days with fondness, believe it or not.
As for that show, when it opened successfully and when we could breathe long enough to take pride in our work, we bowed to resistance, our sensei, and we were thankful for our most worthy adversary.