The War of Art

I completely forgot that I wanted to do a book review from a book I read over the summer. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a short, easy read with a big message. So dynamic in its simplicity.

I was searching for a good book to read poolside in July when Andy recommended The War of Art. He borrowed it from a friend who was in no rush for him to return it and felt it would be helpful to me in reaching my goals. I was in the mood for a juicy romance, with The Hamptons as the setting and a bored, wealthy housewife and a hunky gardener as the main characters, but I decided to go with Andy’s suggestion instead.

So, the War of Art it was and I’m so glad I read it. I took some very valuable lessons from this book of which I would love to share with you.  The War of Art focuses on our ambitions and the mental blocks that deter us from achieving them.

Resistance is an insidious goal blocker and predator:

A negative, sneaky little force is resistance. It can cause major distractions in many forms from keeping us from getting to where we want to be. This is its aim; its job. Sometimes we are not even aware of the resistance we create in our lives that put up barriers and blocks. These blocks can be various vices, such as, alcohol, sex, negative, toxic and draining relationships that create drama in our lives that hold us back and build a brick wall, thus preventing success.  It can be difficult to take down this wall, brick by brick, but it is possible. First we must find out and confront just what is creating this resistance and catch it in its stealthy game before it destroys our ambitions.

Resistance and fear:

The author Steven Pressfield describes fear as a good thing. If we are paralyzed with fear, and afraid to do something, this only means we have to do whatever we are fearing or doubting. Trying the unknown will only help you to grow and stretch your limits. Don’t allow resistance to tell you the opposite, that it’s too risky or scary to change. Feel that fear and embrace that change and new endeavour.

Resistance and Procrastination:

This part of the book truly resonated with me because I was and still am (a little) a procrastinator. I will let anything put up that brick wall from reaching success. Fear, doubts, laundry, dishes, calling my cousin’s sister’s babysitter for a recipe, a flipping T.V show! I used it all and it was truly holding me back. I am a put off person. Sure, I’ll get to it tomorrow. Maybe I’ll register for school next year. I’ll try that Warrior Dash next summer. I’ll drink less wine after Christmas and on and on. I was my own worst enemy and procrastination was my best buddy and side kick. It held my hand tightly and securely. I used procrastination as my comfort and safe place. Only is was not safe. It was a danger.  It was like a wake-up call when I read this line, we don’t put off our lives today, we put them off until our deathbeds.  I was given a good dose of reality and realized the time to act is now. I may not have next summer, next week or even tomorrow. I am getting my work done today!

Lastly. Pursue your passions for you and the rest will follow:

Are you doing something for the accolades and glory? Is it for someone else and not for you? Are you thinking about riches and success before you do the work? Is your passion to impress? If yes, the passion may not be there. Sure Nicki Manaj or Bruno Mares have achieved  money and success, but it took passion to get them there. It took auditions, sleepless nights, rejection and disappointment, but this was fuel for the fire. We can’t let that fuel stop. Failure and rejection should not be taken personally. These are setbacks to character build, persevere and improve. We are doing the work because we are passionate. Take my wee blog for instance. On some days, I get 9 views. Some days I get 5 views. But you know what? I don’t care. I love writing. I’m passionate about fitness and love to share with those 3 or 5 people my successes and failures. I blog because I like it and I have made some great connections in a very supportive community. Whether I have 50 views a day or zero, I’m going to keep at it. I do it for my passion. Did you place last in that race, poetry contest, cooking competition or bodybuilding contest? If you are passionate about it, who cares? Go back, try again and make sure you still love doing it. Remember, let that disappointment fuel your fire to improve!

That was my review of the War of Art. If you feel you are having mental setbacks that interfere with your goals, I would highly recommend this book. There are many other excerpts I have not touched on that are worth reading. So all in all, I’m glad I never chose the book about the hunky gardener and bored housewife in the Hamptons. They certainly would not have helped me to become aware of my procrastination crutch.

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