“The War of Art” inspires anyone aspiring to do great things, as an artist, entrepreneur or writer to beat their own mind so they can finish what they started, or start what they would like to create. Pressfield tells it like it is, giving creators the toolbox to identify their barriers so they can unleash their full potential. Sufferers of writers block, or any kind of creative stagnation will appreciate the candid wisdom and strategies put forth in this book.
My key Takeaways from “The War of Art - Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles" by Steve Pressfield
Takeaway #1 Resistance Affects Everyone
How many times have you had an 'aha moment', a calling that you haven't acted upon? Whether your idea was to start a business, get fit, give up your job to travel the world, or write a book, you likely had something holding you back. That 'thing' is called resistance and it naturally affects everyone when they seek to do or try something new. It's your inner voice that say' 'I'll start tomorrow' or 'No, I couldn't'.
Takeaway #2 Weakening Resistance
To weaken and ultimately, overcome resistance you first have to accept it. Don't let it stop you, don't let the self doubt creep in, just acknowledge that everyone feels resistance and that you must continue to commit to and focus on your dream. Feeling resistance means you're on the right path so use the fear to motivate yourself, to recognize that this idea is something you're passionate about and that's why you're afraid of failing.
Takeaway #3 Going After Your Dream 24/7
Resistance is weakened when you're organized and persistent in achieving your dreams. If you're working on your dream/goal haphazardly, a couple of hours each week or whenever inspiration strikes (probably not that often!), you're not dedicated enough to making your dream or goal happen. Even when you're working full-time you can carve out time to work on your passion project whether that's during your commute, once the kids are in bed, or even whilst you're at work.
Discipline yourself so that you're really and truly working hard towards your goal and don't let setbacks stop you – Hard work and dedication are what make dreams become a reality so ,by all means, follow that creative madness when it seizes you. When you're not in that energetic flow, carry on anyway - Set realistic goals, learn your limitations and get others to help you or teach you. When you focus on the work process and recognize that it's a long slow journey full of adversity you weaken resistance as you're no longer focusing solely on the finishing line.
When you're in your territory or zone you'll know it because you'll feel satisfied yet also challenged – A territory might be the gym, in your studio, or out on the street surrounded by the people you're helping, it could even be a manuscript; it's the place where the hard work happens day in, day out and provides you with an unlimited resource to expand and continue your soul work.
At some stage in your journey to achieving your dream, you will have to face the restrictive social hierarchies that oppose change and stifle passion, creativity, and success, especially when you're stepping outside of the 'norm'. Remain true to yourself and your work during this time so that you're pleasing yourself first rather than working to please others.