Those among you who watch Star Trek, of the Patrick Stewart hue, will be familiar with that brilliant catch-phrase of the human-machine race of conquerors, the Borg. They went into battle with the phrase "resistance is futile, you will be assimilated" - and if it hadn't been for Patrick Stewart, they would undoubtedly have won!

Is resistance always a bad thing? Perhaps not, as if we simply went along with everything that hit us, we would soon become amorphous blobs, with no shape to speak of. So in one respect, resistance has its uses. However, resistance also has two drawbacks. First, it is reactive in nature - simply being 'against something' says nothing about what it is we are 'for'. Second, we often resist unconsciously or sub-consciously, while believing that what we're doing is more constructive.

We all have our favourite resistance strategies. I touched on a few of these in my article last July called 'Bringing change to life - and how we resist it'. In this article, I've decided to cover in more depth each of the resistance strategies I've come across. Which ones are your favourites? Which ones do you notice other people using? Which ones do you use at work? They are far more common than you think!

1. In the real world... "Now this might be a great idea in principle, and maybe I might even like to see it happen. But in the real world, it'll never work!" This can be used to derail change at work and elsewhere. I'd love to do that job, but in the real world, we couldn't possibly survive on that salary. We reject change on grounds of practicality.

2. I am confused... If I need to understand the change before I can do it, then what a great cop out it is to fail to understand it! Children do this brilliantly to get out of things they don't want to do. We put the onus on someone else to 'educate' us, or even on ourselves to learn at some point in the future. Until either happens, we cannot change.

3. Let's intellectualise... Oh, the power of rationality. Let's talk about the idea more so we fully understand it, from all the different angles possible. But we'll never actually get round to implementing anything. In the personal development arena, this can manifest itself in someone who reads widely, and still nothing improves. There's always another book...

4. We need a process or procedure... If I want to move from A to B, I need to understand precisely what to do, and in what order. A methodology is needed. Of course, if we do this a lot, it's a great delaying tactic.

5. I'll go along with it... This is the great compliance option. But be sure if the change fails, I'll probably just go along with the failure too! This is a low energy option - I'm not resisting more actively, but nor am I supporting things.

6. It's nothing new... How many times have I heard people say things like "oh, we've seen it all before. We tried that one ten years ago, and it didn't work then!".

7. I'll say nothing... In this case, faced with someone proposing to do something, or make a change, we respond with no response, maybe even silence. Keep quiet and hope it goes away would seem to be the strategy here.

8. The attack... The person behind the change comes under fire, a classic case of shoot the messenger. Attacking them removes the need to discuss the change being suggested. " Here I am with so much to do, and you come along and pile it on to me!".

9. The moralist... Here, we moralise about the situation. "Of course, I understand what needs to be done, but they don't!". Or "If it wasn't for that lot, we wouldn't need to do this". Behind the moralistic front lies a classic blame shifting mentality.

10. I need more detail... I need to understand everything about the change in question before I can do anything. Another way to delay action being taken. I see that change could be good. However, I need more information first, just to be sure. The need for more detail is a continuous process, and a great way to procrastinate.

11. There's no time... There are two variants on this theme. One is that I don't have time to make it happen right now. The other is that now is not the right time - often with this one, the right time will never arrive. I am wholeheartedly committed, but not yet!

12. Flight to health... This is often most prominent in marriage therapy. Just as an unhappily married couple sign up for a joint session to discuss their issues, hey presto, the issue disappears! Problematic work relationships suddenly improve when one or both parties face a transfer out of the team. Suddenly my life seems better now I've worked out the implications of making a change.

There you are, the 12 disciples of resistance. Of course, each of them could be legitimate responses in certain situations. However, for much if not most of the time, they are simply resistance strategies, which are designed to stop us from talking about the real issues.

So take another look at them. Which ones form your favourite resistance strategies? Which ones do you see being used at work by colleagues? Which ones do your loved ones and friends use?

The key here is self awareness, and starting to notice when our own resistance is kicking in. Once we do notice, we can choose to address the issue in a more open, honest way, rather than hiding behind the resistance option. If we want our life to be aligned and fulfilled, then too much unnoticed resistance does indeed become futile...

Author's Bio: 

A published author and coach consultant, Mark has 25 years experience of helping people develop their leadership, power and career to become the best they can be. His motto is 'bringing personality to work, and work to life'. He owns Brilliant Futures, and can be found at