Book Review: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Have you ever struggled to take action towards your goals? Do you procrastinate or make excuses with the end result that your dreams aren’t getting any closer? If this sounds vaguely familiar then Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art may be the book for you.

The book in a nutshell

In the book, Pressfield gives a a name to what he describes as the invisible force that keeps us from taking consistent action and achieving our goals. He calls it Resistance.

Resistance can not be seen, touched, heard or smelled but it can be felt.

It’s a negative force whose goal is to distract us and prevent us from doing our work.

Resistance is universal, we all experience it and it never sleeps.

It will tell us anything to keep us stuck because resistance is a liar. 

Resistance appears as many other things. It comes masked as fear, it masquerades as good reasons for not doing what we know we should and it shows up often as procrastination. Resistance comes disguised as every excuse we’ve ever found not to do our work and it is most powerful when we are about to achieve something great, when we see the finishing line in sight.

So how do we fight resistance?

Pressfield’s solution is simple, we need to Become a Pro’.

Most of us approach our goals like amateurs, we think that we have to overcome fear or feel motivated to do the work. Pressfield makes the point that the professional knows fear won’t ever go away, he knows that showing up and taking action is the only way to make fear retreat.

The professional is committed and dedicates himself to mastering his craft.

He’s patient and accepts no excuses.

The professional respects resistance because he knows that if he caves in today he’s twice as likely to tomorrow.

The professional does not take failure or success personally because he knows that resistance will use it to paralyse him. 

Who this book is for

This book is aimed at creatives and written from a writer’s perspective but I think it works for anyone who is struggling to achieve their goals.

What it is and isn’t

It isn’t a step by step guide so if you’re looking for a manual on how to take action The War of Art isn’t that. What it does provide, however, is loads of inspiration. There are some great quotes and you can’t help but feel a virtual kick up the backside.  It will help you identify what’s standing in your way and get you excited about showing up in spite of it.

Final thoughts

The War of Art is a book I find myself coming back to time and again. When the procrastination bug bites it never fails to get me moving. It gives me the encouragement that I need to focus on what I need to do which is simply: to take action and do the work.

If you have big dreams that just aren’t happening, if you battle that saboteur within and need a push to take that first step and beyond, then The War of Art may be just what you need.

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