A Warrior Scholar Blog Post #6
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Folks, I apologize for the prolonged absence from the site. I had to have ankle surgery last week, and it has laid me up a bit. Since I will be off my feet for a while, I figured this would be a good time to focus on some scholar and literature based posts. Don’t worry I will continue to post the WOW for you, but I will be sitting these ones out.
Before my surgery, I ordered a book I had heard about in passing a few times called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Now, if you don’t know the author, Steven Pressfield, I would suggest you become very closely associated with him. He is most well known for The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Gates of Fire(my favorite), and Killing Rommel- all excellent books. The War of Art is different than those because it was written for you. This book is written for every person, in particular, anyone out there who needs a quick read/kick in the pants, to getting on track, to accomplishing his or her true purpose here on Earth. If you have not read the book, buy it now, read it, and share it with others. There are very few books for which I give that recommendation, but this book is head and shoulders above the rest, excellent.
You could probably read this in one sitting. Its approximately 165 pages (many of them short). I read one of the three books a day, so I could absorb the material better. One rainy Sunday afternoon and you will be off to share your gift with the world.
The War of Art is broken down into three parts, Books 1, 2, and 3. Book 1 focuses on Public Enemy #1 of all people, especially those who create, Resistance. Pressfield breaks down all the horrible ways that Resistance stops a person from accomplishing or sharing their gift with the world. The thing that stops you from writing that book, dropping those pounds, helping others, or making a deep commitment to the ones you love. Resistance is always there, it is always trying to prevent you from doing the tasks that make you truly happy. It can be overridden.
How does Resistance make its appearance? Through self-sabotage, procrastination, short-term gratification, self-medication, and victimization, to just name a few. In other words Resistance can attack us at so many different angles. However, all is not lost.
Book 2 is called Combating Resistance. Pressfield’s main message here is to take your passion and make it a job. Even if you aren’t in it for the money, treat it like a job. Show up everyday, put your time in, and work it out. He puts forth many different ways of thinking about your passion that defeat Resistance. Accept challenges, be patient, embrace fear, and master your craft. It’s easy to tell yourself that ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘I’ll do it when the timing is right’. Whether you are wasting time or doing what you love, time marches on.
Book 3 is called Beyond the Resistance. I can see some people will be intrigued by Pressfield’s interpretation of a higher plane and others will be turned-off by it. Bottom line, this section implores you to embrace your ‘talent’, not to waste it. I personally enjoyed this section of the book, but thought the first two sections of the book more valuable. I love the last page of the book and the last line especially hits home for me:
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” –Steven Pressfield ‘The War of Art.’
Read the book. You will not regret it. It is short and powerful. Add it to your reading queue, and if you want to get moving on your life goals, read it today. This book sits on my desk as a reminder, to get after it.
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