The Reading Room: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
I’m paraphrasing the author here, read this book if you are pursuing any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long term growth. This could be health related, the pursuit of higher education, spiritual growth, operating from true integrity, and/or any project, enterprise or creative pursuit.
I loved this book for two main reasons:
1. Steven Pressfield explains art in a way that I had never considered before. He says that everyone is an artist. That we all have something within us that we are passionate about and when we discover how to express it – it becomes art. It can be anything! We are all artists in our own right when we are doing what we love, what inspires us, improves us and brings us joy.
2. Steven describes that expressing our art comes from the soul and that resistance to our expression is a natural part of the journey. Resistance comes in many forms, both from within us (procrastination, fear of failure or rejection, self-sabotage, etc.) and from outside us (no outside support, obstacles, rejection, etc.) No pursuit of a true calling will be without resistance.
If you are struggling with resistance in pursuing your art (or self improvement goal) whether from your own making , or from outside sources this is a motivating book to help you not only stay the course but help you gain momentum and the courage to continue.
We are often reluctant to share our ‘art’ for fear of resistance in the form of rejection or failure because it is such a part of who we really are. The more vulnerable you feel about sharing your art (or self improvement goal) the more important it is to express it. Every resistance you overcome is a victory.
There is so much awesome insight in The War of Art, but I think Steven sums it up best in these two quotes from the book:
“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation. ….Because this is war, baby. And war is hell.”
“If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything… The more resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you – and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.”