This is a review of the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. Pressfield has written many books in both the fiction and nonfiction space with one of his most successful being “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”
I am an avid reader of nonfiction books specifically directed at business and development. I came across “The War of Art” last year and consumed it first in audio form while working in my shop. After listening to the book multiple times and gaining great insight every time, I have added this book to my list of “Must Reads” for anyone wanting to succeed in their business and personal life.
If you are a creative in any field, this book will bring to the surface those things we all do that sabotage our focus and productivity. Whether your gifts and talents are put to use as a hobby or they are the sole form of revenue for your household, using these talents in a way that the universe calls for you to do is not something you can ignore. What Pressfield calls “Resistance” sets up shop in our lives with a sole purpose to keep you from that which your guts tell you has to be done to be complete and happy.
The book begins with a formal introduction into the definition of “Resistance” and where it lives. This section of the book impacted me, as I’m sure it will you, because I found that many of the forms of Resistance Pressfield identifies have made camp in my life. If you are honest with yourself, and look at each of these, I’m sure you will discover that Resistance has infected you at some point as well.
Resistance is anything that takes you away from doing the work. Work here is not defined as the time clock punching tasks that we do for the benefit of a job we don’t care about. The work that is the focus of this book is the work that is no more a decision on your part than breathing or blinking. This work is that one thing that you feel in your soul that is your calling and the thing that only you can do the way you do it. This form of work is something that you do despite rejection, sales, or success. Win or Lose… you will continue.
Resistance is that one element in nature that, according to Pressfield, will do anything and everything to keep you from doing your work.
“Resistance is not out to get you personally. It doesn’t know who you are and doesn’t care. Resistance is a force of nature. It acts objectively.” -Steven Pressfield
In the book, he points out that it’s only focus it to inhibit you from reaching your goal and mission by any means available to it… and the means are infinite.
Why a “Must Read”
I have been inflicted and affected by Resistance for the majority of my life and after reading this book you will discover that you have as well. I recommend this book as a Must Read for you because I know that you ask yourself maybe many times a day, “Why don’t I feel motivated today?” or “Why am I not further along in my craft than I am?” or even tell yourself “I don’t have time to do that which I am so passionate about.”
These questions and statements that we present to ourselves can be solved by knowing what Resistance is and how to deal with it. This book dives into ways to address Resistance and explains how “professionals and amateurs” work with Resistance on a daily basis. Professionals are not free from Resistance. Hell, they probably experience more than amateurs do… but they process it more effectively.
“Aspiring artists defeated by Resistance share one trait. They all think like amateurs. They have not yet turned pro.” -Steven Pressfield
If you are reading this blog post, then you are most likely a “professional.” That doesn’t mean that you are free from the grasp of Resistance. If anything you feel something is trying to pull you from your work and just can’t put your finger on it. That is why this book is for you.
“Not all readers are leaders, by all leaders are readers.”
As creatives in any industry or art, we battle with “daily life” snatching up our time available to do what it is we feel we are called to do. We put off and sacrifice our talents in order to provide for the family, socialize, mow the grass, and many other tasks that are important to do but keep us from that one thing… that one thing that, if not done, creates a dull sense of mediocrity in our minds.
Whatever this one thing is for you doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that you gain the ability to define it and recognize where Resistance has its hold on you. Is Resistance succeeding at its mission? Or are you succeeding at yours?
Follow this link to see if “The War of Art” would be a good tool to add to your tool box. I think after you read it or listen to it on Audible you will come away with a new perspective of your calling and the hold that Resistance has on your life.