Every once in a while a book comes along that changes everything. For me, those books are Harry Potter and The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Both taught me profound lessons that influenced my life from the moment I picked them up.
As an aspiring writer (wannabe writer, amateur, etc.) there is a fear that manifests itself inside of the body that has prohibited me from taking the leap from content mills and journal entries to creating real art that test my own limits and that dare to be something great.
That fear, or as Steven Pressfield calls it, Resistance, is alive within all of us. It’s our job to defeat it. The War of Art dares the reader – the artist – to stand up to this non-creative villain, like only the warrior can, and unleash our full potential. Only in a world void of Resistance, can the Muse live.
The War of Art is split into three books: Book One defines the enemy – Resistance. Book Two is the artist’s mentor. It teaches us how to combat our foe; it’s Ra’s al Ghul. Book Three introduces the warrior; the pro; The Dark Knight. It’s what the wannabe writer strives to be. Or, in other words, it offers a glimpse into a life lived at our professional peak.
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” – Pressfield
It’s no wonder why this book is on bestselling author and marketer Ryan Holiday’s list of books to base your life on and why he re-reads it every time he begins a new project. And why Joe Rogan keeps a stack of copies in his studio for anyone he thinks needs a mentor in their quest to squander Resistance. The book is a drill Sergeant. It’s Mickey Goldmill.
The Ego is Resistance’s ally, it’s a villain. The Self is the hero. “The self wishes to create, to evolve. The Ego likes things just the way they are.” The Ego is our comfort zone. The Ego hates the idea of success. The Self is our deepest being. Steven Pressfield’s mission is to introduce the artist to The Self.
Most people live their entire lives without experiencing life as our deepest being. The War of Art can help us find our way.