Life is full of good and bad experiences. During the challenging times, you may feel as though you are unfortunately suffering the blows of life on your own. Instead of getting desperate, you should feel encouraged because your challenges mean that you are actively participating in the arena of life and not watching it from the sidelines. This is the message that Steven Pressfield communicates through his book, The War of Art.
Published in 2002 by Black Irish publishers. The author uses a variety of lessons to indicate how you can win your inner battles in a creative way. He indicates that modern professionals work and operate in the real world, which full of challenges, injustices, adversities, bad and good breaks too. The content is divided into three sections. The first one introduces and describes resistance, the second one teaches how to combat resistance and the third shows you how to go beyond resistance. In the book, Steven personifies the concept of resistance by referring to it as an individual. Knowing this, here are our take aways from the book.
Embrace your fears
Resistance in life is powered by fear. We all feel fear but many are unable to conquer it. Well, Steven Pressfield insists in his book that fear is actually a direction marker. He says that we should do exactly what we are afraid of. The more you are fearful of something, the more meaning it has to you. The more meaning it has, the greater its impact is going to be in your life. By overcoming fear, you evolve. You become stronger and better. Consequently, you can think of fear as your true North. If something scares you, it is a very good idea to try it, and as long as it is not life-threatening, always remember that the greatest risk in life is not to take any.
Begin living your unlived life
Majority of us possess two lives. One of these is the life that we live. The other one is the life that we are afraid to live. The one that is buried deep within us. For example, are you a pilot who is afraid to fly? A singer afraid to take the stage? An entrepreneur who is afraid to begin a business or a surgeon too afraid to pick up the scalpel? If you have a life which you desire yet do not live, you are suffering under the burden of resistance. Steven says that it is time for you to overcome this burden and begin to live your unlived life.
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Be a professional, not an amateur
For you to be successful, you should approach your work like a professional would. The characteristics of professional behavior include punctuality and dedication to the job, commitment, mastery of the skills involved and humble acceptance of the compensation received for their labor. Moreover, professionals ensure that they do not over-identify with their jobs and remain courteous to their workmates. To avoid boredom and fatigue, professionals maintain a healthy sense of humor about what they do. Embracing this perspective in your own job can transform you from an amateur to a professional.
Give your own unique gift to humanity
Our talents, hopes and ambitions are our gifts to the society. The dream that you hold inside your heart is your personal contribution to the story of the human race. Deciding not to pursue it is selfish of you. The society needs to know what you have for it. We all want to know how you can help to improve our lives. By holding back, you are hurting yourself, your children, your family, your friends, the society and the world at large. Overcome your fears and any other blocks and show us what you are capable of.
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Every moment of our lives is one where we can decide to change our destiny
Every time you take a breath and are alive, you can make the decision to alter your life for the better. You can begin a path towards that which makes you excited and satisfied at the same time. You can begin your life's work. By making this decision we can actively beat the resistance that is holding us back. If left unchecked, resistance manifests in our lives in the form of negative behavior, vices, time wasting activities and depression. To be smart about that, you should always take the first opportunity to beat it when you can. It is in your best interests to do this.
Any activity that will benefit you in the long term is bound to create some resistance
Steven personifies resistance in his book. He indicates that it was programmed to prevent us from experiencing and performing the activities which stir our souls. The author of this book says that resistance is most powerful when it is preventing us from beginning our life's work. However, we have the silver bullet to beat resistance. Interestingly, this feeling is made powerful by our own fear. Overcoming this fear renders it powerless and sets us firmly on the path to actualizing our heart's desire. Master your fear and nothing can overcome you.
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Avoid procrastination and understand how to avoid burnouts
The most common manifestation of resistance is procrastination. We are always tempted to procrastinate over various tasks that we are afraid to do. This habit of postponing eventually leads to an indefinite avoidance. When you become used to the habit of procrastinating, you reduce your overall productivity until you are unable to achieve any goal on time. Steven encourages us to know that and remember that procrastination is just a face of resistance. Moreover, it is possible to overestimate ourselves in the short term and underestimate ourselves in the long term. For example, you can think that you will accomplish a lot in one week and not achieve this goal. Similarly, you can think that you may not be able to do a lot in one year and therefore underperform. In the race to prove ourselves, we can burnout and eliminate any potential for productivity. To avoid this, Steven indicates that we should follow a plan that has achievable, timely goals to achieve our desires.
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The Important Take Away
Steven Pressfield takes a no-nonesense, direct tone when teaching us through his book, the War of Art. He points out the real reasons why we do not achieve what we truly desire. He unapologetically shows us what we are afraid to do. By reading, learning and applying his lessons, we can transform our lives into masterpieces that the society can adore and appreciate. The War of Art is simply a must read for those that are looking to get more out of life.
You can get The War of Art here.