“On the field of the self stand a knight and a dragon.
You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.”
Art comes in a million forms. It’s the book you want to write, the meaningful words you want to say to your spouse, the healthy diet you want to start. But why are we sitting around wanting these things rather than doing them? What is stopping us?
That’s the question that Steven Pressfield answers in his books ‘The War of Art‘ and ‘Do The Work.’ And his answer is: Resistance.
If you have ever tried to do something creative, or something that would benefit other people, or something that would make your a healthier or better person, you have felt Resistance. Resistance, according to Pressfield, is what tells us that we’re not good enough, that we are going to fail, that we’ll blow it, that we don’t actually want these good things anyway.
Some critics of Pressfield’s books have called them simplistic, trite, cliched, and overly and amorphously spiritual. According to my readings, this is all true. And yet the power of these books remains. If anything it grows.
The simplicity of Pressfield’s diagnosis of the problem, taking all the various fears and forces that keep us from creating and bundling them up in the term Resistance, allows us to see our task as manageable, to see our enemy as singular and defeatable. And his prescription is equally simple: acknowledge the Resistance that you feel, call it what it is, and then sit down and do your work anyway.
‘The War of Art’ introduces us to Resistance, and to the work of becoming a “pro,” someone who pushes through Resistance day in and day out and gets work done. In ‘Do The Work’ Pressfield acknowledges that many people get mired in Resistance even before starting a project. So he lays out a dead simple framework for quickly planning and starting your project, whether it’s a book or a symphony or a workout routine. And it works.
At Ember we support people in pursuing and realizing their Good Dreams. Pressfield’s books are some of the best in the world at helping you overcome the various faces of Resistance and get to work on your best dreams.
If you find yourself stuck or procrastinating or second guessing yourself on your goals (don’t feel alone, we all do it every day), pick up one or both of these books, read them, and then get to work.
The War of Art: Paperback, Kindle
Do The Work: Hardcover, Kindle