Whether you’re an artist, or a hustler, there is one thing you are familiar with – War. It is the battle you fight whenever you try to live out your true self, whether it be creatively, in business, or in life.
Whether you’re just trying to nail down a daily work ritual, or quiet those inner voices of doubt.
This is what The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield teaches you to overcome.
It begins by naming the enemy. Resistance. A force that I could identify as playing a huge role in slowing down the creator in me. It also shows up whenever I attempt to live out my calling. Resistance is basically self sabotage.
Here are some of the activities where you often will find Resistance:
- The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
- The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
- Any diet or health regimen.
- Any program of spiritual advancement.
- Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals.
- Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.
- Education of every kind.
- Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.
- The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.
- Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.
- The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity.
Steven Pressfield then goes on to list in more detail the myriad of characteristics resistance has. Some of these will make you shake your head in deep recognition. Some will surprise you.
The connection between creativity, hustle, and exploring truth for yourself.
In a recent interview, Steven was asked to offer up an explanation on how a book entitled The War On Art, could also apply to entrepreneurs, people on a spiritual quest, and achievers in general. His response was interesting.
I wouldn’t say “art” as much as “virtue,” in the ancient Greek sense of “andreia” – manly action – or “arete,” excellence. In my experience, Resistance kicks in any time we try to move ourselves from a lower plane to a higher. In other words, when we try to align with the better parts of our nature. This move can be creative (art) or physical (athletics) or it can be ethical, moral or spiritual. Have you ever tried to meditate? I have and it kicks my butt every time. Spiritual stuff is hard! But so is making “cold calls” if you’re opening a new business. Somehow the principle is the same. We’re trying to overcome our natural laziness, selfishness, sloppiness, etc. So I wouldn’t say “art,” I’d say “virtue.”
Our creative pursuits connect to exploring truth.
Steven touches a great deal on this connection in the third section of the book. It is our creative exploration that provides a sort of revelatory knowing that science, and rational, logical analysis may not be able to give us. It is the window of truth you glean when writing poetry, or that spiritual memoir.
It is in the cloud of inspiration that attends your love for dance, a musical instrument, or the space of altered reality you enter when you begin painting. Some call it the muse. Some call it talent. But a reoccurring theme in this book, is that it will only descend when you plant your behind in the chair, and work.
The journey of creative self expression, and the journey of asking lifes big question also seem to both share the need for one thing.
A kick in the ass.
We know we have creativity in us. We also know that we have questions as pesky as a 2 year old who just wandered in on mommy and daddy “cuddling”.
We just need a push sometimes. All the time really. Killing resistance is a daily affair.
Consider this book, The War of Art that push into greater creative expression.
And hopefully..in time…you’ll consider explore truth that fire under your soul…that awakens us all to a world of greater knowledge, creativity, and wisdom.