The War of Art

The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, is a novel book that acts as a kick in the ass for your conscious. It’s witty, sarcastic, and sounds quite similar to the way your own inner monologue works. When you read any book, your imagination runs wild and you give the author a voice, but it’s never your own. After a few days with this book, I was reading this book in my own voice – a rare occurrence, and something that indicates that a book resonates with you.

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This past week I’ve been talking about the idea of setting goals, being hungry, trusting the process – everything it takes to go after something. But what if that something isn’t really what you want? There’s always something more that people want to pursue – either they haven’t started it yet, or can’t see it through to the finish line. This book helps to reframe the idea of Resistance – the seemingly immovable object – as your own concoction. It’s up to YOU to decide that you’re not going to let it stop you.

The only way you can do this is to consider what Resistance you’re facing. The next step is to redefine yourself as a Professional – one who takes action. One who doesn’t just acknowledge fear (a form of Resistance), but accepts it. In the Dark Knight Rises, the man in the prison says that Bruce does not fear death. Only through accepting this fear, can Bruce be pushed beyond his physical and mental limits and climb out of the pit. Now, this might be a bit excessive, but you get the gist of the idea.

The biggest lesson about this book is the idea of self-identification. A sense of awareness of who you are and knowing what you don’t know and knowing what you’re not good at. Having this kind of awareness helps you bring out the best in yourself; without thinking about other people’s opinions of you, without second-guessing yourself, and without letting fear get in the way, you can CREATE. But the most important aspect of this is that you have to accept that you may not be like your “ideal” self. The version of yourself in all of your daydreams. That perfect self-image is the hardest barrier to overcome.

To put it simply: this book makes you recognize that extrinsic “barriers” are not as immovable as you think they are, and by shifting your perspective internally, you recognize that Resistance is not a foe so much as it is a friend. You have something to offer to the world – don’t let yourself be the only thing standing in the way.

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