The War of Art
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield turns the one painful and immobilizing thing to any artist, Resistance, into a character, so that we can come to know it.
The artist, the protagonist in this story, is anyone that creates. Artists create paintings, business plans, callsheets, youtube videos, strategies, articles, products, networks, charitable endeavors, better physical health or even a better life for themselves. If there’s anything that you are meant to be creating, you’ll hear the message in this book loud and clear.
You may love your art but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find yourself on the battlefield with resistance on many days. Steven Pressfield suggests that resistance is something that we go to war against, perhaps this resonates with you like it did for me.
Resistance comes into our life to challenge how much we care about something. The more that resistance comes up against you, he suggests, the more you should pursue something. That's because the greatest resistance comes up for us against the things that matter to us the most.
He talks about the common manifestations in which resistance makes its appearance in our lives, the unsuspecting ways that we procrastinate. The little things that constantly come up and make themselves seem more urgent than what we want to achieve. These are the things that give resistance strength.
What we can do in the face of the many reasons and excuses that come up as resistance in our lives is to go to work, consistently. Any experienced artists know that the hardest part is usually showing up.
He talks about being a professional vs. being an amateur. What sets the two apart? While amateurs may dabble in a hobby from time to time, professionals go to work every day. If you’re a writer, a painter, or an entrepreneur, you have to show up in the same way. You may not have yet reached the level in which you’ve been recognized as a professional, but that will come only if you treat it like a job.
Just like a job in which you're hired by somebody else; Day in and day out, even when we’re not in the mood, even when we’re feeling unwell, even if it’s dreary outside, we have to set our alarm, get up, and go to work. Then stay there, all day, working away until a full day has been put in.
So if there's something that you love, that you consider yourself an amateur at abut would like to become a pro; Do as professionals do, and go to work. Every day.
If you look at any great and successful person and study what it is they do in their day to day, there’s really nothing remarkable about it. They work at it, day in and day out.
Think about professional athletes. Sure some are naturally gifted, just like the unrealized potential in so many people. But if you really look into their lives the one thing that they all have in common is how much they work, despite everything else that’s happening around them.
We all have hurdles that are special to us, but adversity itself is not special. Victimhood, as Steven Pressfield suggests, is another one of the many forms of resistance.
When we focus on a task and commit to it, and become aware of what's around us, we welcome inspiration.
The signs and the guidance, the power and the strength can be channeled from all around us. If only we open our eyes and ears to see and listen.
He talks about the idea that all creative inspiration comes to us from the Gods. If you’re uncomfortable with the concept of God, it’s that intangible force that comes from somewhere beyond us.
Many people in the world might have the same innovative ideas come to them but only few have opened themselves enough to notice it and make use of it. Very few people will do the work to make it into something fully realized, physical and tangible.
There is a magic in keeping going. The alternative is an unfinished project that stares at you causing you pain.
So today, get yourself up, get ready, say a prayer to the muses, and then tend to your work.
We have our life and our unlived life, our potential. What stands in the way is resistance. Steven Pressfield’s little gem, The War of Art, can help us to recognize it and overcome it.
I believe that this very book was brought to me because I was seeking, and I'm thankful for it. It’s empowered me to keep doing makeup, to keep painting, and to keep ahead on my journey despite the inevitable obstacles that will always come up.
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