Takeaways from “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

Enemy #1 – Resistance:

  • Resistance affects all creative calling or pursuit. Whether you’re a creative, or you’re launching an entrepreneurial venture, starting a new health regimen, any pursuit of education, change in mindset, when helping others, any matters of the heart, being brave, and more.
  • It’s an invisible, insidious force that prevents us from doing our work. It’s fueled by fear.
  • Use resistance as a teacher. Let it guide you to identify what holds you back from pursuing your art/endeavor.

The enemy is a very good teacher

Dalai Lama

Imposter Syndrome and Isolation:

  • Feeling like an imposter signifies genuine creation. People that don’t question whether they’re enough or feel like they’re enough aren’t truly creating something worthwhile! This part hit me like a ton of bricks.
  • Remember that you’re never alone in your creative journey.
  • When you’re creating, you’re never alone because your art is with you. Imagine those you’re serving with the art you’re creating – let this field you.

The Mindset of a Professional:

  • Don’t talk about your art excessively, focus on creating.
  • The sinister thing about excuses – they’re actually valid. Push through your excuses and finish your art.
  • Build the habit of putting in the work. Mistakes happen, push through.
  • Professionals commit to their craft full-time. Amateurs don’t. Professionals show up, they master technique, and expose themselves to both good and bad judgement from the world. Professionals push through despite fear.

You have the right to work, but for the work’s sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working.

Bhagavad Vita

Embracing the Work:

  • Resistance, not external factors, is the true enemy.
  • Work for the sake of the work itself, not for the potential fruits of your labor.
  • Cultivate a professional mindset and treat yourself as a corporation.
  • Don’t talk about your art, unless you’re sharing it to help others in their own creations.
  • Develop a routine to put in the work. Don’t let mistakes stop you. The purpose of routine is to get over resistance and build your effort muscle.

This was a great little read with some powerful lessons. If you haven’t yet, follow up on this book with two books titled Linchpin by Seth Godin, and Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *