“The War of Art” Can Help Bring About a Breakthrough

Maybe it’s an idea for a start-up that you keep talking yourself out of. Or a new line of business for your company that you believe would improve your fortunes tremendously, but would be something of a risk to pursue. Or it could be finally sticking with an exercise routine — no matter how painful it is at first — to ensure that you’re around to enjoy time with your family for years to come. Or perhaps you loved painting or writing when you were younger and you’d like to try it again but you keep quieting the part of you that bubbles up these ideas.

I bet most of us have something like this inside; some unanswered call that we think about when we’re trying to fall asleep at night, some nagging little voice that knows you could do more if only you were braver.

When you finally reach a point where the voice is shouting and you realize you only have so much time here to do the things you’d like to do, read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. The subtitle for this slim little book (just 165 pages) is “Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles.” If you’re willing to take a hard look at yourself and be honest, this book can help you do just that.

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Pressfield is the author of lots of fiction and a few works of nonfiction (like this one). Perhaps the book of his you’re most likely to have heard of is The Legend of Bagger Vance, which became a movie. However, he’d been at it for years before he was actually paid for his writing and before anything was published, simply because he believed in doing the work. He had to do it. And if there’s something you feel called to do, too, no matter how big or how small, The War of Art can be just the kick you need.

Pressfield, a former Marine, comes across as your own private drill sergeant, calling you on all your excuses as to why you can’t do the thing you most want to do. Pressfield dubs the enemy capital-R “Resistance.” It shows up everywhere.

In his words, “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” The more important to your life the thing you want to do is, the more Resistance you’ll feel. This book breaks down how to recognize it and battle it. When you’re ready to fight, read this first.

(Originally published here: http://msbusiness.com/2015/07/bookbiz-a-book-for-cultivating-your-inner-courage/)

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