The War of Art
Book Overview: What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.
Post(s) Inspired by this Book:
- The Five Areas of My Life That I Block Out Time For So That I May Perform At My Best.
- How Being Faced with Death Changes our Priorities in Life.
- The Artist’s Life
Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.
Do it or don’t do it.
It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.
You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.
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.
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Source: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
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“We can’t be anything we want to be. We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny. We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become. We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it. 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. If we were born to pain, it’s our job to become a painter. If we were born to raise and nurture children, it’s our job to become a mother. If we were born to overthrow the order of ignorance and injustice of the world, it’s our job to realize it and get down to business.” ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
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The following is an excerpt from Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art.
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Remember the movie Billy Jack starring Tom Laughlin? The film and its sequels have long since decamped to cable, but Tom Laughlin is still very much around. In addition to his movie work, he’s a lecturer and author and a Jungian-schooled psychologist whose specialty is working with people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Tom Laughlin teaches and leads workshops; here’s a paraphrase of something I heard him say:
The moment a person learns he’s got terminal cancer, a profound shift takes place in his psyche. At one stroke in the doctor’s office he becomes aware of what really matters to him. Things that sixty seconds earlier had seemed all-important suddenly appear meaningless, while people and concerns that he had till then dismissed at once take on supreme importance. Continue reading
“It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.” ~ Telamon of Arcadia
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
“The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.” ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
“The enemy is a very good teacher.” ~ the Dalai Lama
“Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you’re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.” ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Here’s the paradox:
If you genuinely want to help and influence others to the best of your ability, you need to start by helping and influencing yourself to the best of your ability, first.
Otherwise, not only will you be limiting yourself in achieving and becoming all that you are capable of, but you’ll be limiting what influence and impact you are capable of having on the lives of others too.
Think about it.
- If you were terminally ill, would you want to see just any doctor or the best doctor money could buy?
- If you wanted to get more healthy and fit, would you go and learn from just anybody or from a person who models the way and leads the lifestyle?
- If you had the opportunity to meet with and ‘pick the brain’ of any person on earth… Whom might you choose?
What leads you to choose one person over the other? The biggest thing, in my eyes, is the difference in their value.
How do you become more valuable? By investing in yourself.
That’s why I have identified five areas in my life that I believe have the greatest influence on making me a more valuable person and have blocked out specific times for them so that I may steadily improve them on a regular basis.
I call these areas my ‘Power Five’ and they are: Exercise time, reading time, writing time, connecting time, and sleepy time. Continue reading