Have you ever asked a friend who’s an artist or entrepreneur how they’re doing on a project you know they’re psyched about? Sometimes you get the answer,

“I’m getting ready to start on it.”
“I’m working up the outline.”
“I’ve almost got the business plan.”
“I’ve got a little more research to do.”

When Resistance hears phrases like that, it can hardly contain its glee. Resistance knows that the longer we noodle around “getting ready,” the more time and opportunity we’ll have to sabotage ourselves. Resistance loves it when we hesitate, when we over-prepare.

The answer: plunge in.

Steven Pressfield  ()

The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance. [...]

The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself. Is he scared? Hell, yes. He’s petrified. [...]

So if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.

Steven Pressfield  ()

Grandiose fantasies are a symptom of Resistance. They are the sign of an amateur.
The professional has learned that success,
like happiness, comes as a by-product of work.
The professional concentrates on the work
and allows rewards to come or not, whatever they like.

Steven Pressfield  ()

The addict is the amateur; the artist is the professional.

Both addict and artist are dealing with the same material, which is the pain of being human and the struggle against the self-sabotage of Resistance. But the addict/amateur and the artist/professional deal with these elements in fundamentally different ways.

(When I say addiction, by the way, I’m not referring only to the conventional vices of alcoholism, drug addiction, domestic abuse and so forth. Web-surfing counts too. So do texting, sexting, twittering, facebooking; not to mention living on your iPad, dancing with the stars, and keeping up with the Kardashians.)


Steven Pressfield  ()

When you turn pro, your life gets very simple.

The zen monk and the samurai swordsman often lead lives so unadorned they’re almost invisible. Musashi Miyamoto’s dojo was smaller than my living room. Externals became superfluous. In the end he didn’t even need a sword.

The amateur is an egotist. He takes the material of his personal pain and uses it to draw attention to himself. He creates a “life,” a “character,” a “personality.” (This is not to say that Lady Gaga is not an artist; she is.)

Steven Pressfield  ()

When we’re acting as amateurs, we’re running away from our calling — meaning our work, our destiny, the obligation to become our best and truest selves. This is where addiction comes in. Addiction becomes a surrogate for our calling. We enact the addiction instead of embracing the calling. Why? Because to follow a calling requires work. It’s hard. It hurts. It demands entering the pain-zone of effort, risk and exposure.

Steven Pressfield  ()