Zach Ware

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

This is a book a listen to every other month or so. It’s written primarily for artists but applies to absolutely everyone, especially entrepreneurs. You will find yourself repeating lines from it to yourself constantly.

Feb 2016

Amazon Link

Summary of learning

Resistance is the greatest enemy of creation. Especially of starting. Resistance comes in obvious forms but also in unobvious forms, like drinking, anytime you act out to get attention without doing work (arrest, etc). Resistance is always sitting on your shoulder lying to you. Making up reasons why you shouldn’t do what you are doing.

Be a pro.

What did I learn from this book?

Resistance is a natural element between the thing we want and us. Essentially ourselves and our unfulfilled selves.

A pro focuses on the process because he knows the muse will come. A pro doesn’t tolerate chaos. A pro doesn’t talk about how great he is. A pro separates himself and his work. Failure to a pro is failure to do the work, not failure.

Pros ask people questions because they want to sharpen their tools. They don’t care if they don’t look like pros by asking the questions.

Amateurs are scared to take the leap because they are more concerned with saying they are something than being it. Pros don’t say those things, they just focus on the work and know the success comes as a result of that.

Great passage:

Now consider the amateur: the aspiring painter, the wannabe playwright. How does he pursue his calling? One, he doesn’t show up every day. Two, he doesn’t show up no matter what. Three, he doesn’t stay on the job all day. He is not committed over the long haul; the stakes for him are illusory and fake. He does not get money. And he overidentifies with his art. He does not have a sense of humor about failure. You don’t hear him bitching, “This fucking trilogy is killing me!” Instead, he doesn’t write his trilogy at all. The amateur has not mastered the technique of his art. Nor does he expose himself to judgment in the real world. If we show our poem to our friend and our friend says, “It’s wonderful, I love it,” that’s not real-world feedback, that’s our friend being nice to us. Nothing is as empowering as real- world validation, even if it’s for failure.

Pros have territories. They are at ease in their territories. They MUST be there. If they were the last people on earth they would still do it. When they are having a bad day they must do it. It centers them.

Pros are not hierarchical. I do not need to rise above anyone else. I need to do the work. Failure to do the work and to hone my craft is failure. Pros love the work.

Do not compare your position to that of others. Relative doesn’t matter. At all.

The amateur is paralyzed by fear of what people will think of his work before doing it. And then never does it. The amateur considers what people will think before doing it and shapes everything he does around it.

The pro focuses on his territory and lets the muse drive him. The pro puts his work out there and keeps moving.

Love the work. LOVE it.


First published on February 20, 2016