“The best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration.” — Steven Pressfield
June’s Book Club reading is an absolute classic.
For anyone doing any sort of creative work, it’s a must read.
The book is, of course, The War of Art.
I first read this book over 2 years ago. It was the first Steven Pressfield book I read, and thank God I did. Since then I’ve also read Do the Work, Turning Pro, and (ashamed to say I’ve only thumbed through his latest,) Nobody Wants to Read your Sh*t.
Content aside, of course, there is something in particular that I love about The War of Art. I love the style. The book is comprised of about 90 chapters, most of which are just one paragraph. There are one-liners on every page.
Pressfield’s other books are written in a similar fashion. (So too is Derek Sivers’ book, Anything You Want, in case you were wondering.)
I think the reason I love books like this is that they forgo long storylines and cut straight to the deep nuggets. The result is a book that is very clear and honest and fast moving.
A book like this is, I believe, something that can only be written by someone with a long history and very deep knowledge of the subject matter. Someone who has lived this stuff, wrestled through it, and won. (And, had the foresight to takes some notes along the way.)
Which is why so many creative folks love The War of Art.
When you read it, you’ll find out that Steven wrote it just for you.
After I first read this book I understood just what a formidable foe Resistance truly is.
Pressfield writes that any act which rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity — any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower — will elicit Resistance.
He has this rule of thumb: “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”
It was in light of this truth that I built an entire module in The Focus Course that is dedicated to overcoming Resistance.
I knew that I would be doing people an injustice if I gave focus and clarity without also giving them the wherewithal to overcome the resistance they would face in pursuit of their goals.
In addition to defining the enemy — Resistance —, pressfield also discusses how to combat Resistance and how to move beyond it.
Here are a few of my own highlighted passeges from the book:
“When inspiration touches talent, she gives birth to truth and beauty.”
“There’s no mystery to turning pro. It’s a decision brought about by an act of will. We make up our mind to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that.”
“Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”