If you've seen the flims Rocky I, II and III you'll be familiar with Apollo Creed and Clubber Lang, but will give a quick summary for those who haven't (spoilers ahead!). In Rocky I, Rocky (the character) is an underdog who is fighting the champion Apollo Creed. He eventually loses to Creed, but preforms so well in the fight that his status as a boxer rises and his given a re-match against Creed in Rocky II that he wins.

Rocky III (the film) begins with Rocky (the character) losing embarrassingly to Clubber Lang who he was favored to defeat. Rocky (the character) spends the rest of the film trying to overcome the psychological consequences of losing to Clubber Lang and getting his mind back in to a place where he can face Clubber Lang again and win. 

I find in my own life when I'm starting something fresh and I'm interested, it's like an Apollo Creed problem. I could "win" or "lose" but so long as a I preform well, the conditions of my life improves and eventually can overcome whatever it is.

But when I've already failed at something once and then need to get back in it, there's a psychological wall that's difficult for me to overcome -- this would be like a Clubber Lang problem. Like I have more of an unconscious resistance to working on those problems. I really have to force myself to work on them, and if manage to work on them progress goes very slowly.  My mind just wants to focus on like anything else it possibly can. It feels icky and demoralizing to work on them, and it's hard for me to sort out exactly why. 

I would like to be better and solving Clubber Lang problems. So... two questions... 

(1) Is there a better way to frame this issue? I feel like it should have been studied before and I don't have the keywords to go looking around for what has been written about it so far. 

(2) If you (the reader) are or aren't aware of answers to (1), do you have insight on to this issue either from your own research or personal experience?

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This sounds like an Ugh Field (habryka post). See also the Aversion topic.

Yes! these are exactly what I was talking about. Thank you!

1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:35 PM

Dear CraigMichael,

I am by no means a guru. It seems like you prefer Apollo Creed problems to Clubber Lang problems because you're more able to motivate yourself to do Apollo Creed problems. I feel the same way. I find it exciting to start new projects, and grueling to continue my existing projects. My advice:

If you need to solve a Clubber Lang problem, then in moments of clarity, you should establish habits/systems to solve the Clubber Lang problem that don't require you to be motivated on any given day.

 E.g. go for a jog even when you're not feeling motivated to go for a jog, because you set out your jogging clothes and shoes the night before, & you made a program to pay your rival $5 on venmo if you don't log your jog on MapMyRun.com

Wishing you the best,