Do The Work, Overcome Resistance, and Get Out of Your Own Way - Steven Pressfield
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Do The Work, Overcome Resistance, and Get Out of Your Own Way - Steven Pressfield
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Brief Summary: This is a short little book that follows the development of a writing project from beginning to end, illustrating each positive step and each setback along the way as an example to readers. The lesson is not just for writers but for ALL creative people, and as a writer, Steven Pressfield does most what he does best.

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Amazon Genre: Self Help - Motivational

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Author Audios/Videos:
Steven Pressfield: Overcoming Resistance
Steven Pressfield: Procrastination
Ask Steven Pressfield Anything

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Steven Pressfield's Facebook

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Other Books by This Author:
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
The Profession: A Thriller
The Warrior Ethos
The Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great
The Afghan Campaign: A Novel
Tides of War

Similar Books by Other Authors:
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life - Twyla Tharp
We Are All Weird - Seth Godin
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business - Charles Duhigg
Million Dollar Web Presence - Chad Barr
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life - Rosamund Stone Zander

Notes and Excerpts from Book:

Here is the keyboard connected to the entire world. Here is the publishing platform you can use to interact with just about anyone, just about anytime, for free. Here it is--do the work. That’s all we are waiting for you to do--to do the work.

On the field of the self stands a knight and the dragon; you are the knight and resistance is the dragon. This book is designed to coach you through a project from conception to finished product, seen from the point of view of resistance. We will hit every predictable resistance point along the way. Those junctures are fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, and all those other demons we are all so familiar with that can be counted upon to strike.

The following is a list of the forces that rage against us as artists and entrepreneurs:

  1. Resistance, i.e. fear, self-doubt, procrastination, addiction, distraction, timidity, ego and narcissism, self-loathing, perfectionism, etc.
  2. Rational thought.
  3. Friends and family.

They most commonly elicit resistance such as the pursuit of any calling or any creative art, the launching of any entrepreneurial venture, any diet or health regimen, any program of virtual advancement, any activity whose aim is the acquisition of chiseled abdominals, any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction, education of every kind, any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves the undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others, any act that entails commitment of the heart, the taking of any principle stand in the face of adversity, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower; all these will elicit resistance.

Resistance is negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.
Resistance is insidious. Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.
Resistance is always lying. Resistance will unfailingly point to true North meaning that calling or action that most wants to stop us from doing. The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity which dictates that the battle must be fought anew everyday.
Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being, our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on earth to give and that no one else has but us.
Resistance means business. When we fight it, we are in a war to the death.

Next to resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneur’s worst enemy. Rational thought comes from the ego. We want to work from the self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious. When an artist says, trust the soup, she means let go of the need to control, and instead put faith in the source, the mystery, the quantum soup. The deeper the source we work from, the better our stuff will be.

The problem with friends and family is that they know us as we are. They are invested in maintaining us as we are. The last thing we want is to remain as we are. If you are reading this book it is because you sense inside you a second yourself, an unlived you. Prepare yourself to make new friends; they will appear, trust me. The champions from our side are stupidity, stubbornness, blind faith, passion, assistance, which is the opposite of resistance, friends and family. Stay stupid. The three dumbest guys I can think of: Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill. Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur’s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway. Don’t think, act.

What will keep us from stopping? Plain old stubbornness. I like the idea of stubbornness because it’s less lofty than tenacity or perseverance. We will sink our junkyard-dog teeth into resistance’s ass and not let go, no matter how hard he kicks. Fear saps passion. When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion. As resistance is the shadow, its opposite and assistance is the sun. Only two things will remain with us across the river; our unerring genius and the hearts we love. Start before you are ready; don’t prepare, begin. Courage begets more courage. The gods witnessing our boldness, look on in approval. Whatever you do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius power and magic in it; begin it now.

A research diet. You are allowed to read three books on your subject; no more. No underline, no highlight, no thinking or talking about the documents later. Let the ideas percolate. Research can become resistance. We want to work, not prepare to work. Stay primitive; the creative act is primitive. Its principals are birth and genius. Genesis. It’s better to be primitive than to be sophisticated; and better to be stupid than to be smart.

I used to bring ideas to my boss that were so tiny they made him apoplectic. This idea is the size of a postage stamp. Go back to your cubicle and bring something big. Lunch with my mentor. He meant don’t over think, don’t over prepare, don’t let research become resistance. Outline the facts now on instinct. Discipline yourself to boil down your idea to a single page--beginning, middle and end.

Do you love your idea, does it feel right on instinct, are you willing to bleed for it? Facebook in three acts. Start at the end, work backwards, begin at the finish. If you are opening a restaurant begin with the experience you want the diner to have when she walks in and enjoys a meal. Figure out where you want to go, then work backwards from there.

But how do I know where I want to go? What is this about? When you know the end state you will know the steps to take to get there. What is Moby Dick about? End first, then beginning, and middle. That’s your startup, that’s your plan for competing in a try-out round, your ballet. They are thoughts and shadows. These are not thoughts, they are chatter.

Everything up until age 30 was either what Buddhists call monkey-mind chatter or the reflexive regurgitation of whatever my parents or teachers said, or whatever I saw on the news or read in a book. Don’t listen to the chatter. Those are not your thoughts, they are chatter. They are resistance. Chatter is your mother and father’s well-intentioned expressions of caution, seeking to shield you from hurting yourself. Chatter is your teacher’s equally well-meaning attempts at socialization, training you to follow the rules. Chatter is your friends' "regular Joe" buddy-talk, trying to make you like them and follow the rules of the pack. Chatter is resistance. Stay primitive, trust the soup, swing for the bleachers. Resistance is an act of intelligent force - tireless, relentless, and inextinguishable - whose sole object is to stop us from becoming our best selves and from achieving our higher goals.

The universe is not indifferent. It is actively hostile. Never do research in prime working time. Any project can be broken down into beginning, middle, and end. Fill in the gaps; then fill in the gaps between the gaps. One rule for first full working drafts. Get them done ASAP. Nothing is more fun than turning on the recorder and hearing your own voice telling you a fantastic idea that you had completely forgotten you had.

Action and reflection. Act and reflect; never act and reflect at the same time. Action means putting words on paper, reflection means valuing what you have put on paper. Forget rational thought, play like a child. The opposite of resistance is assistance. A work-in-progress generates its own energy field. You are pouring love into the work, you are suffusing it with passion and intention and hope. This is serious juju. The universe responds to this. It has no choice. Your work-in-progress produces its own gravitational field created by your will and your attention. This field attracts like-spirited entities into its orbit. What entities? Ideas, dreams into reality. Ask yourself what’s missing and fill that gap. If you've got a head, you’ve got a voice of resistance inside it. You have resistance the same way you have a heartbeat. You are blameless, you retain free will and the capacity to act. Love for the material, love for the work, love for our brothers and sisters to whom we will offer our work as a gift. In Greek the word is “Eros” - life force, dynamics, creative drive.

The opposite of fear is love. Love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion it takes to take a shot at our dreams, and see if we can pull it off. The dream is your project, your vision, your symphony, your startup. The love is the passion and enthusiasm that fill your heart when you envision your project to completion. Sometimes when resistance is kicking my butt, I flash on Charles Lindbergh. Imagine him trying to cross the Atlantic solo. You are too young, you’re too inexperienced, you’ve got no credentials, no credibility. Everyone who has tried this has failed and you will too. It can’t be done, your plane will crash, you’re going to drown. You’re a madman who is attempting the impossible, and you deserve what dire fate befalls you. Love of the idea. How bad you want it on a scale from 1 to 5--dabbling, interested, intrigued but uncertain, passionate, totally committed.

Test 2, Why do you want it? Number 8 is for fun or beauty, number 9 is because I have no choice. If you check 8 or 9 you get to stay on the island. The attitude adjustment chamber. At the door you must check your ego, your sense of entitlement, your impatience, your fear, your hope and your anger. You must leave behind all grievances related to aspects of yourself dependent on accident of birth, all sense of personal exceptional entitlement depending on the accident of birth. The only items you get to keep are love for the work, will to finish, and passion to preserve the ethical creative use.

The middle. Everything crashes, the big crash is so predictable across all fields that we can practically set our watches by it. Our ideal ordeal is harder because we are alone. The only thing we have in common with the field candidates is the bell. Will we ring it or won’t we? A crash means we have to grow. Whatever the cause, a big crash compells us to go back now and solve the problem that we either created directly or set into motion unwillingly at the outset. Our greatest fear is fear of success. When we experience panic, it means that we’re about to cross a threshold. If we can’t finish, all our work is for nothing. It takes nerves of steel to ship a product. You have joined in a society; the fellows of the society recognize one another. I recognize you, I salute you. Martin Luther King said, “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now”. Life often leaves us standing bare naked and dejected with the lost opportunity.

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