I credit this book with encouraging me to get off my ass and change my life.
The War of Art is a brief guide on overcoming procrastination and laziness on your way to accomplishing your dreams. Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy of artists as Resistance, a nebulous force that saps your will and prevents you from doing the things that you want to:
Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? Have you ever bailed out on a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.
In a series of concise bullet points, Pressfield breaks down Resistance and why it is such an insidious and dangerous enemy. Overcoming Resistance is what separates amateurs from professionals. The final third of the book is dedicated to helping you cultivate the mindset to defeat Resistance once and for all. He gets weird near the end talking about the Greek Muses and whatnot, but his ideas work.
If you’ve wanted to accomplish something great but’ve kept putting it off, I urge you to read The War of Art as soon as you can.
The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. 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.
What Henry Fonda does, after puking into the toilet in his dressing room, is to clean up and march out onstage. He’s still terrified but he forces himself forward in spite of his terror. He knows that once he gets out into the action, his fear will recede and he’ll be okay.
Click here to buy The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle.