The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by: Steven Pressfield
The War of Art is a book primarily written on Resistance. What it is, how to recognize it, how to understand it, how to embrace it and most importantly how to conquer it. The book is divided into three parts; Resistance, Combatting Resistance and Beyond Resistance. It’s a story of how Steven Pressfield journeyed through all of these different areas of resistance and broke through to become the writer, the artist that he truly loved being.
RESISTANCE – Defining the Enemy
Socrates demonstrates long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who do not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern them. Resistance needs to be identified and conquered to win.
Resistance is actually Fear in motion. Understand that Fear is actually a good sign. Fear is an indicator that’s telling us what we have to do. The more we fear about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that enterprise is important to us and to our growth.
To conquer Fear we must become a professional. A professional tackles a project that will make him stretch. He takes on an assignment that will bear him into unchartered waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself. Is he scared? Absolutely, yes! However if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do. This leads to the next subject below.
COMBATTING RESISTANCE – Turning Pro
To tackle Resistance you just have to sit down and do the work. By performing the mundane act of sitting down and starting whatever project is important, you set in motion a mysterious sequence of events that produce inspiration. A Pro does exactly that!
A Pro is a pro in one area: his profession. A Pro shows up every day no matter what. A pro is committed to the long haul. A Pro can handle criticism in fact he takes it for what it is; an extreme compliment. The critics hate Pros because they do what they would have done themselves if they only had the guts.
A Pro plays for pay, however in the end, he does what he loves. There’s no mystery to being a pro. It’s a decision brought on by an act of will. We make up our minds to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that!
BEYOND RESISTANCE – Higher Realm
Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from a decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.”
~ W. H. Murray The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
The War of Art is a quick and simple read. However is packed with a great deal of understanding and clarity on how you can detect and defeat resistance. I invite you to take this book on as you will engage in some interesting reflection of your own resistance.