The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is one of the most important books I’ve ever read in my life. The tagline for this book is “break through your blocks and win your inner creative battles”. Break through your blocks, you say?
For the longest time, I didn’t even know this was a common problem…
I thought that if I didn’t feel doing work into my creative endeavors, that meant I wasn’t really meant to do them in the first place. I thought the resistance was trying to tell me something important.
And so there lies the fallacy that a lot of people live by: they judge whether or not an activity is suited for them or not based on how much they feel like doing it. The truth is, initially, we all feel like doing something like writing a book, learning how to play the piano, going to the gym, or whatever activity we think will provide us our long-term dream. Eventually, maybe a month down the road, when the initial motivation runs dry and we run into first-failures or lack of inspiration, a lot of us will give up. Resistance will speak to us and tell us that it’s not meant to be. We can’t be a musician. You’ll never have a six-pack.
At that point… That’s where this wonderful book by Steven Pressfield starts.
A Late Bloomer
In this book Steven Pressfield tells the story of his life as an aspiring artist, working various menial jobs, traveling through the United States. He is extremely honest and vulnerable, something that I admire. Upon pursuing a creative venture, we all know how it feels to put it all out there and never get anything back. We grow a thicker skin eventually, but in the meantime, we take a beating.
It wasn’t until Pressfield was in his late 40’s that he finally got his shit together, so to speak. He started getting results.
The secret to his results…
a devoted work habit, and a focus towards his craft, no matter how much or how little he felt like doing it.
Basically, The War of Art (a play on words based on Sun Tsu’s The Art of War, if you haven’t realized) is a compilation of ancetodal wisdom from Pressfield during his journey from dreamy procastinator to consistent-doer and creator.
Resultingly, he wrote many successful hit books such as The Legend of Baggar Vance (which later became adopted into film; I love you, Will Smith), and the Gates of Fire, the creation of which, inspired many other intrepretations of the “300 Spartans” at the Hot Gates. His contributions to literature are significant, and Pressfield will tell you it is because he figured out the proper principles to apply when it comes to creative work.
Also in this book, is Pressfield’s mythical referance to the “Muse”. The Muse are goddess’ of creativity. One must worship the muse by, basically, putting in work. Sitting down, whether you feel like it or not, and putting in work. The muse will then reward you with results and ideas. You will even surprise yourself. I have a feeling that was the inspiration behind the muse, as creative ideas sometimes don’t feel like they even come from my own brain. They sorta just… pop up.
Score: 5 out of 5
A perfect score, that is perfectly my opinion. Some would say there is no such thing as a perfect book, but I would differ. A book that changes your life drastically is perfect for you, and only you. The princples laid out by in this book shed a light on the blocks in my own life, and allowed me to not be stopped by them anymore. This resulted in better health, and a more productive lifestyle. It has contributed to my newly found work ethic directed at my projects in affiliate marketing. The truth is: resistance is just a little whiny brat in the back of our consciousness. Our destiny, and our dreams: That’s the powerful force which should govern our actions.