The War of Art PDF and Quotes [Book Short]

I saw a quote in /r/getdisciplined that ravaged my heart: “I’m so frustrated. Feeling worthless. My word is worthless. Idk what to do anymore.”

I wish I could just reach through the computer and give that person a hug. But hopefully, these words provide guidance during this tough time.

You are not alone. What you are feeling, we all feel. It’s called Resistance.

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In the book The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield, he states that each day you wake up you’re battling Resistance, that little voice inside you saying you’re not good enough, you’ll never amount to anything, and that you’ll never get disciplined enough to reach your goals.

You might be thinking, “It’s my parents that are putting too much pressure on me,” or, “Everyone says I have potential, why is it so difficult?”

The hard truth is this: anything that’s worth it to you will not be easy. If you decide to give up and let Resistance win, you’ll be stuck in your current state for the rest of eternity.

Please note that I’m assuming what you’re doing is something YOU want to do. If this is your parents’ dreams for you, you’ll need to build the courage to switch to something you actually believe in. This is more difficult in certain social circles or cultures and many people waste good lives because they are not confident enough to push back for what they want.

But assuming what you’re doing is what you want, you’ll need to understand The Resistance and how to defeat it.

Anything that’s worth it to you will not be easy. Click To Tweet

Resistance is Toxic

Resistance is the leaking nuclear waste buried deeply within us all.  Short-term satisfaction is what feeds it. That’s why Resistance is our default—it’s the easy path.

Did you go to that rager Tuesday night instead of studying for Wednesday’s test? Did you come home after a hard day at work, smoke a bowl, and watch TV for four hours instead of reading or connecting with an old friend?

Resistance never sleeps and it’s always fighting you, tearing down your ambition and dreams. Get used to battling it. But know this battle will be long and tough and it will continue to gain strength up until you win.

Resistance Manifests as Procrastination

Procrastination is unforgiving. What’s worse is that we know we’re doing it, as if we got on the wrong train at the station and have to watch as we get further and further from where we want to be.

Why is procrastination bad? It prevents us from forming the required habits necessary to battle Resistance and get shit done.

The worst type of procrastination manifests through self-sabotage.

Tell me, do you know a smart friend who’s never amounted to much? Maybe they’d rather drink, party, or play video games instead of moving towards their goals? Then, they play the victim card, saying that [insert excuse here] prevented them from doing what they needed to do.

Take responsibility for your actions. If things are bad now, change your environment. Don’t just sit there thinking the world will change for you.

It’s Time To Be Professional

Life is long. Show up for ALL of it. Every day, get in the ring and battle it out.

It might be easier to watch from the sidelines, but you’ve already done that. You know it’s unfulfilling. You know your future self will regret it.

Nothing is worse than retiring at 65, only to realize that you only chose accounting because it was the safest route and you SHOULD have been a pilot.

How can you be professional?

Make the decision to be.

This is an act of will, so dig deep and just do it. Your biggest hurdle is showing up.

Have a test? Sit your butt in the library and start studying.

Landed a new job? Stay late for months on end and learn how to make yourself the most valuable person in the building.

Starting a company? Get ready for 10+ years of 16 hour days until you convince all the people who don’t believe in you that you’re right.

Charlie Munger, one of the most brilliant thinkers alive today says you need to always be learning with both ears open, no matter how smart you think you are. Read a few pages a day. Let this be your daily win even when you feel like the rest of the world doesn’t want you to.

You might be talented, but if you never show up, you’re harming yourself and society.

Life is long. Show up for ALL of it. Every day, get in the ring and battle it out. Click To Tweet

Learn Patience

Lately, society seems to only value the get rich quick mindset. After all, who doesn’t want that $100K job right out of school…

Why do you think you deserve that? In fact, why do you deserve anything? Many people go to school, but only a few get what they want. What sets them apart is their work ethic after graduating.

Anything worthwhile takes time. Know the right intensity so you don’t get burned out and watch out for unrealistic goals that only cause you more stress.

Pressfield mentions the Bhagavad Gita, which says we have a right only to our labor, not the fruits of our labor. You only control the work you choose to do, so find what makes you happy because you might not get the riches or fame you desire. Hopefully, you’ll see those material things as a byproduct of good work and that the work is the real treasure.

Find joy in non-monetary benefits like helping people. Funny thing is, the more people you help and the less you think of the money the more likely money will find you.

Actionable Nugget

For today’s actionable nugget, I want you to ask yourself this question:

Is there something deep inside you that wants to come out into this world?

This could be anything. The picture you’ve always wanted to take, the painting that should be on your wall, that peak you wanted to summit.

Now ask yourself: how are you going to make that a reality?

Lastly, remember anything you bring out into this world will be open to criticism from friends, family, and the unknown. Develop a thick skin and don’t take it personally.

Look at criticism as feedback that you’re doing something in this world. Most people will try to tear you down because they are fearful to try the same.

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