The War of Art cleanly and simply divulges the internal raging battle being fought inside every human being. This battle is against the formidable force known as resistance. Nothing is likely holding you back as much as yourself, and you probably do not even realize it. Steven Pressfield calls you out on your own shit and gives you the tough love pep-talk that you need. Pressfield reveals how resistance is getting the better of you, and how you can fight back. By better knowing your enemy in all its forms, you greatly increase your fighting chance.
Statistically, you are most likely an average person, and like the average person you desire to be more. However, an average person will choose to not take any significant action and will never rise above mediocrity. They are trapped where they are comfortable, not necessarily where they are happy. They procrastinate and justify to themselves the reasons why they could never achieve their goals. In the worse cases, they label themselves as victims and forgo having any responsibility for their own actions. While you cannot always control external forces, you always have a choice on how to react.
Instead of seeking real solutions, we often go for cheap and easy substitutes.
“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.”
While resistance may be our enemy, it also can be used as a metric to gauge how important something is to us. Thus we can use resistance to know when we are heading in the correct direction.
“Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.”
“The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.”
Pressfield declares that one must “Turn Pro” to escape being a slave to resistance. A professional does not ignore resistance but embraces it. He knows that resistance is only beaten on a day-to-day basis, and that the war is never over. There will be resistance to face everyday of one’s life, it’s your choice to rise above it.
I will conclude this post with the following excerpt:
“We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tells us. That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity. We fear that we truly can steer our ship, plant our flag, reach our Promised Land. We fear this because, if it’s true, then we become estranged from all we know. We pass through a membrane. We become monsters and monstrous.
We know that if we embrace our ideals, we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us. What will become of us? We will lose our friends and family, who will no longer recognize us. We will wind up alone, in the cold void of starry space, with nothing and no one to hold on to.
Of course this is exactly what happens. But here’s the trick. We wind up in space, but not alone. Instead we are tapped into an unquenchable, undepletable, inexhaustible source of wisdom, consciousness, companionship. Yeah, we lose friends. But we find friends too, in places we never thought to look. And they’re better friends, truer friends. And we’re better and truer to them.”
The War of Art by Steven Pressfieldby