Author: Steven Pressfield
Published in: 2011
Think of The War of Art as tough love... for yourself.
Since 2002, The War of Art has inspired people around the world to defeat "Resistance"; to recognize and knock down dream-blocking barriers and to silence the naysayers within us.Resistance kicks everyone's butt, and the desire to defeat it is equally as universal. The War of Art 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.Though it was written for writers, it has been embraced by business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, military service members and thousands of others around the world.
Takeaway #1: You’re not alone, everyone struggles with Resistance.
Have you ever had that feeling that you are here to do something great? Maybe you feel you owe the world a great book, a new approach to fitness, or even a blockbuster movie.
If so, today’s a different day than most days for you. Because instead of waking up, thinking about it for a second, and then shrugging it off, you’re actually going to deal with it.
The force that makes you swallow your urge to pursue your dream is called Resistance (the capital R is important), and everyone in the world struggles with it – you’re not the only one.
It’s this negative, opposing, ghastly little voice that tells you to stay at your job and not risk failure, that you’re not good enough to paint something great and that you can always start working out tomorrow.
Resistance manifests itself in the form of fear of failure, procrastination and self-doubt and, worst of all, is universal. It doesn’t exclusively speak to you, it targets everybody.
Will Smith was afraid to meet with Quincy Jones before becoming the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, John Lee Dumas was afraid to launch Entrepreneur On Fire, and Henry Fonda threw up before every single performance even long after he was successful.
Everyone struggles with Resistance. Don’t let that be your excuse.
Takeaway # 2: You have to treat your dream like a full-time job.
So what do you do to combat Resistance? What any professional would do: you work.
Stop treating your dream like it’s a hobby, it’s your dream for crying out loud! If your dream is really this thing that you want to be with all your heart, that you want to center your life around, then how come you treat it like a second cousins once removed’s BBQ party?
Don’t just tinker around for a few hours here and there, go all in, all chips into the pot. When you treat your dream like your regular, full-time job, you can transfer a lot of the skills you apply to the latter to the former, even if they’re not related at all.
Do you show up to your job on time? I bet you do. Do you keep working when shit hits the fan? I bet you do. Do the same for your dream. All pro’s know this:
I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp. – W. Somerset Maugham Schedule time to work on it, every single day, and then just show up.
Takeaway #3: When you commit to a territory, you can change the world.
Each of us has a different calling. Some of us are app developers, some want to direct movies, others write books or knit tea cozies. That means we all pick different territories to leave our mark in. You find your territory based on 3 things:
It makes you feel better every time you go there. You can bet that Stephen Hawking felt better every time he came out of his office, and that Arnie was pretty satisfied after each gym session. Your territory is a place where you feel you grow, where you’re challenged and satisfied at the same time. You can only become king of the hill through hard work. The only respect a professor gains is through the recognition of his work. Arnie made the gym his own by working out there every day of the week. It’s endless. The only limit to how much Hawking can get in recognition is the number of meaningful insights and theories he can produce – in theory, it’s endless. You get back however much you put in.
Not only will owning your territory benefit you and your work, you just might change the entire world. Steve Jobs revolutionized the way we see and use computers, by committing to this territory and spearheading new developments and ideas in this field.