If you are a writer, then you have heard about Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.
His advice about overcoming writer’s block is synonymous in the writing world.
I first come across his work while listening to a Podcast interview via the Art of Manliness. At that point, I was not necessarily doing any type of writing.
But Mr. Pressfield’s description of resistance in the War of Art, and how all of us face it in our working lives – definitely resonated with him. Even before I started blogging I faced the challenges of resistance as a Sales Professional.
I had to grapple with my resistance all day today. Just before writing this article, I spent the last 2 hours fighting resistance. It was a tough battle, resistance won initially (and I wasted 2 hours) but here I am now writing, after having slain my sworn enemy – my resistance.
In this post, I will write more about the concept of resistance (that Steven Pressfield describes in the War of Art) and some things that he recommends we can do to overcome it. I will sprinkle the article with some quotes and nuggets of wisdom from the book.
“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance”.
Resistance is described as the most toxic force on the planet.
And yielding to resistance deforms our spirit. How did you feel after eating that candy, even though you knew you shouldn’t it?
How did you feel skipping the workout this morning?
The enemy lies within. It’s in all of us. More than wars, poverty, diseases – resistance has done more damage to human growth and potential.
Here are some examples of areas where Resistance commons into effect:
- Launch of any entrepreneurial venture
- The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film
- Health or Diet regimen
- Overcoming an unwanted Habit or addiction
- Education of every kind
- Taking a Principled stand against adversity.
In short, anything we do to improve our lives or career – resistance stands in the way. It is universal. The best of us have faced it. And we will continue to face it.
The most annoying part about resistance is that it is invisible. And it is internal. It is within us.
Also called as “starting trouble” we face this numerous times.
I face it every day when I go to work. I work in Sales, and every day I have to fight the resistance to pick up the phone and make calls. I face resistance each morning when I get ready to work out. I face resistance each time I start writing any type of article.
The struggle is always strongest at the beginning.
However, it does not stop there. Even when you have managed to start, and are working on your task at hand – it shows up again. It is very strong towards the end.
“The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got.”
Have you ever tried running a 400-meter lap? And you noticed that the end is always difficult. You need to exert tremendous willpower to keep the pace and finish the lap. That is resistance.
All negative aspects such as Fear, self-doubt, criticism has some type of connection with resistance. However, it can be cured. It can be overcome.
The cure for resistance is discipline and work.
“The Professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work”.
Resistance can be beaten by self-discipline and work.
This below quote from the book summarizes how to beat it.
Someone asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. ” I write only when inspiration strikes”, he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”. That’s a pro.
The author talks about things that make a difference between an amateur and a pro.
One of the striking differences between both of them is that Pros love their work. And Pros act in-spite of fear. Pros do not accept any excuses. And commit themselves to mastery by continuous action.
They are not deterred by failure. They don’t take it personally. They endure adversity.
Professionals are also very self-critical. They recognize their limitations. They are willing to reinvent themselves if required. Yet they continue to forge on, the relentlessly take action and achieve their goals.
The War of Art has been laid out in easy-to-comprehend fashion. I am sure the messages and the concepts in the book resonate with everyone.
Though the book is very famous in the writing community – the concept of resistance is universal. I would like to conclude this book review with this excerpt from the book.
“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying”.
“Because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose.”