I spent quite a few hours in the air last week traveling to and from Aruba on vacation, and so I decided to spend some of that travel time wisely by catching up on a few audiobooks I had downloaded from Audible.com. The book I was most anxious to listen to, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, was recommended to me on numerous occasions by a variety of mentors and so I decided it was time to check that one off my list. The audiobook wasn’t long, less than three hours in total, so I listened through to completion on a single flight. The book was by no means ground breaking, however, it was immediately evident to me why so many people had suggested it, because I myself have been living by and evangelizing about every message in this book for years! I honestly felt such a deep connection to the book as I sat there listening and internally applauding each sentence. The crux of the book was simple; in order to find success in the creative fields, you must learn to overcome the various types of resistance you are sure to face on a daily basis. You may think that the hard part of being creative revolves around the execution of it, but really, it’s the muddy waters of resistance that begin far before you get to work that are the true challenge. If you find that you get overwhelmed at just the thought of your work, or feel like your riding a rollercoaster of emotions that make creativity difficult for you to sustain, here are 3 ways to overcome resistance and start getting shit done in your life!
1. Turn Pro
Within the War of Art, Pressfield explains the difference between an amateur and a professional and why it is necessary for you to turn pro, even if you are taking on an endeavor as a #sidehustle. An amateur is someone who says they are doing something for the love of it, but really, this is a barrier that keeps the amateur from fully realizing their potential. A professional, on the other hand, takes their work seriously and knows that the success of their endeavor needs to be beyond the whims of passion or pleasure. An amateur can worry about failure and feel discouraged by it because they are working from a place of emotion, while a professional can rise above outcomes and work through failure until the point of ultimate success.
2. Understand the source of creativity
One of my favorite quotes from Marianne Williamson explains that “You are a faucet and God is the water,” and this concept is one that Pressfield explains within his book as the true source of creativity. Any great artist or creator knows that it is an impossible feat for one person to come up with an endless supply of creative ideas, and likewise, all great artists know that their ideas do not come from them, but instead are dictated to them from God. This phenomenon may seem very woo-woo, but it is one that I experience on a regular basis. When I submit my creativity over to God, magic happens. An outpouring of ideas flow through me like water and all I have to do is grab a pen and keep up!
3. Never give up
Another interesting phenomenon that is again, often chalked up to being outside the realm of possibility, is that your success often lies on the other side of great failure. Because of this, it is essential that you do not give up just because you have failed. Personally, I believe that when you give a whole-hearted and well organized effort, it is impossible to fail entirely, but failure is a part of success that a true creative artist must fully embrace. Everything is impossible until you do it, and although you may fail a hundred times on the way to success, the only way to cross the finish line is to keep going and refuse to give up.
This book wasn’t a long or difficult read, but it sure was powerful. If you feel like you could use a fire under your butt to get started or to work through a creative endeavor, definitely pick up this book and start applying its many lessons to your life! Let me know down in the comments if you have read this book or even if you face resistance in your own life and how you deal with it. I’d love to know your thoughts and strategies as well!