The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
My rating: 10/10
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The most important thing about art is to work. Turn pro, sit down every day and try, overcome Resistance.
Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.
The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
When we drug ourselves to blot out our soul’s call, we are being good Americans and exemplary consumers. We’re doing exactly what TV commercials and pop materialist culture have been brainwashing us to do from birth. Instead of applying self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification and hard work, we simply consume a product.
Rationalization is Resistance’s right-hand man. Its job is to keep us from feeling the shame we would feel if we truly faced what cowards we are for not doing our work.
The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.
The artist must be like a Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable.
The professional understands delayed gratification. He knows that any job takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much. He accepts that.
A pro views her work as craft, not art.
The professional knows that fear can never be overcome.
The professional does not forget that the work is not her. Her artistic self contains many works and many performances. Already the next is percolating inside her. The amateur over-identifies with his avocation, his artistic aspiration.
The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had had the guts.
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.
Resistance feeds on fear…
Fear That We Will Succeed. That we can access the powers we secretly know we possess. That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are.
We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tell us.
We know that if we embrace our ideals, we must prove worthy of them.
Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
When the hack sits down to work, he doesn’t ask himself what’s in his own heart. He ask what the market is looking for. He’s scared of being authentic, writing what he really feels or believes, what he thinks is interesting.
Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?
Are you born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter? In the end the question can only be answered by action.