7 Lessons From Reading "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield

So I started dating this amazing guy and he's very much into self-help. One day I started telling him about my procrastination and resistance to writing and pursuing a hobby. He immediately grabbed "The War of Art" from his bookshelf and loaned it to me. 

The book is a quick read that shouldn't take more than a few days to finish. After reading that book, I can honestly say that I learned some techniques on how to work with my resistance. 

 

Lesson #1: When Feeling Resistance, Do Not Try To Quiet It With Shopping or With Food

Resistance comes from within so there is no point to try to get rid of it with material possessions. "Resistance is the enemy within." My latest addiction is eating a bunch of salt. That's how my resistance shows up sometimes. At times I eat lots of chocolate and sweets in order to bury my sadness and resistance loves that. A few years back, I used to buy lots of books and never read them. I used to shop for beauty products that were really expensive and then I felt really bad about blowing my budget on that. 

 

Lesson #2: I'm Not The Only One Experiencing Resistance

Resistance is everywhere and it's a disease that affects even the richest people on Earth. "Everyone who has a body experiences Resistance." So don't feel like you're lazy and your friends or the people you look up to have some magical powers that you didn't inherit. Comparing myself to others only brings me sadness and more resistance so I'm choosing to free myself from that negative pattern. I'm not perfect and I'm not alone. Everyone has some form of pain. It's okay to be vulnerable.

 

Lesson #3: Resistance Likes Instant Gratification

Things like random sex, pornography, smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, lashing out at someone, these are all the many faces of resistance. Why? Because they keep us from pursuing and achieving our goals in life. If your goal is to have more joy in your life, resistance will bring scenarios where you will feel depressed and then you will resort to a quick pick me up. "Of course not all sex is a manifestation of Resistance... The more empty you feel, the more certain you can be that your true motivation was not love or even lust but Resistance."

 

Lesson #4: Do Something For The Love of It and Nothing Else

When we love what we do, we enter into a trance like state of mind. After spending countless amount of time doing what we love, then we turn pro. "Resistance hates it when we turn pro." This is why it is so important to find out what we love doing. It doesn't always have to be something that will bring us money. For example, I might start getting into playing the piano because I've always had a strong resistance to it but I've always been curious about it. So, I'm going for it and I don't plan to make it a career, it will just be something I do if I do decide to keep it as a hobby (maybe I won't like it after trying it so...).

 

Lesson #5: Be Patient

Patience does not come standard, it's hard and it takes lots of practice. Even the Buddhist monks practice patience almost everyday. So, give yourself a break if you lose your patience from time to time. It's normal. Resistance loves it when we lose our patience and give up. Stay with it, keep trying, it takes practice, don't try to be perfect. "The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work. He knows that any job, whether it's a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much. He accepts that. He recognizes it as a reality."

 

Lesson #6: Feel Fear and Keep On Performing

"The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist." Every performer and speaker going on stage has fear. Probably even Tony Robbins has some fear before speaking in front of people but he still transforms people's lives because he chooses to not let fear get in the way. He probably doesn't push fear out of the way forever, he simply works with it. I know it is easier said than done but that is where practice comes into play. Being a perfectionist should not be listed as a strength. I thought it was the best skill I had until I learned that it prevented me from delivering value to others and from learning. However, preparation is good. A pro is always prepared with Plan A and a Plan B, just in case.

 

Lesson #7: Recognize My Limitations and Stay Humble

I learned that I need to get to know myself better because then I can determine what I do best and the areas where I need to either improve or delegate to others. When finding and living my strengths I must remember to stay humble because it is easy for the ego to take over and treat others as though they are beneath me. Being humble is not about putting my head down and playing it safe so that others don't feel intimidated or threaten by me. Being humble is about being compassionate towards others and myself and recognizing that there is always room for improvement. No one is perfect and no one should ever try to be perfect anyway. We are all in this together.

 

There are many lessons to be learned from this book, "The War of Art." I could write a whole book about that book! If you are someone who procrastinates a lot and often times feel stuck, then I believe that this book can help. The style of Steven is very relaxed and straight to the point. I highly recommend this book.

 

Have you read this book? If so, what did you learn from it?

 

With Love, Dania