First of all thank you so much for the positive response to last weeks post on The Power of Habit! The post definitely got a lot more attention that I anticipated and I hope that you can find the book as insightful as I did.
This week I finally got down to reading The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield, which was recommended to me by a friend a very long time ago. I have to say, I definitely have mixed feelings about this book but a book I still fell is worth sharing and talking about. Although before we start, what does “War of Art” actually mean?
There is a force that Pressfield describes is within all of us as Resistance. This force can be described as the “inner voice” that prevents us from living our higher selves. Higher self? To put it another way they are the goals and dreams we want to achieve. These goals can range from writing that book that you told yourself over and over that you would write, starting a business, or in my case creating a blog and posting my thoughts, my passions, and my art. However, whenever we are on the verge of creating or doing something great, there will be Resistance. It can come in the form of fear, procrastination, or distraction, anything to put you off from committing to your long term goals. Most important is the fact that you’re actually going to be doing something worthwhile and true to who you are.
Those who are brave enough will be at a constant war with Resistance so that they can do the things that they love. The simple irony to defeating said Resistance is to simply make that one small step of beginning your goal, then the rest becomes a lot easier.
Right when I began reading this book, I immediately fell in love with the way it was written. Every word about Resistance struck me and I could relate to it all. Being an artist, I definitely have a lot of moments where I don’t want to do art. Not because I don’t love it, but for various reasons, the most common one being fear.
Ultimately it is actually a fear of succeeding. Why? The thought that actually getting there means that the present me has been making empty, unfound excuses because the future me, despite all the difficulties that I had anticipated, still achieved her goals. It’s the fear of discovering that I am actually capable of being better than I am right now. Kienan Lafferty, one of my favorite artists on Youtube, explains this feeling extremely well in one of his videos and I highly recommend that you check it out and maybe even watch his other insightful “Thoughtful Thursday” videos as well: The KNKL Thoughtful Thursday 154: Sabotaging YOUR own SUCCESS!
As much as I related to this book, I had a couple issues when reading through it, especially the final chapter. This book covers the nature of Resistance well and can pinpoint the emotions and thought processes that a person goes through in the state of Resistance, however it had trouble in pointing out a clear direction as to how to use this information and to overcome the state of Resistance. Some people can interpret this as “let the reader decide what to do with the information,” but the first half of the book was written so well that I wanted the book to elaborate on Resistance even further. The last chapter felt like a bit of an unnecessary tangent and I would actually say that although there are a couple of gems to be found, it could have been left out and the book would be just as fantastic a read, if not better.
You can find insightful gems throughout this book, all woven together with Pressfield’s amazing use of language. Due to the reasons I’ve listed above, I would recommend it especially for those who already have a game plan on what they truly aspire to do, but need that small extra boost to take action.
Let me know what you think!
Also, I’ll be posting more varying forms of content soon, so stay tuned because there will definitely be more art related posts coming up!