Steven Pressfield wrote a book in 2011 called Do The Work. I am currently listening to the audiobook version, and as I am digesting some of the learnings I am absorbing from this amazing book I want to share some of the key ideas that have resonated with me.
Much of this book is spent discussing what keeps us from doing great work; the work we were born to do. The work that is inspiring, and creates, and gives life into the world and those around us. The work that deep down inside of you right now is boiling, percolating, and fighting for a chance to see the light of day and the opportunity to fill your mind and cause you to take action. Maybe it is the charity you want to start. Maybe it is the career you want to embark upon (and not the career you find yourself stuck in right now). Or could it be the book you want to write? How about the desire you have to become an entrepreneur and create a new business that gives you a platform?
Why is it so hard to stop what we are doing, and start doing what we were meant to do? What attacks our minds, our hearts, and our beliefs and creates so much doubt that we are sometimes emotionally and psychologically paralyzed so much so that we never take a step? Pressfield has named this beast. It’s name is Resistance. We all have experienced Resistance and in his book he outlines areas in our lives where it affects us the most.
Resistance’s Greatest Hits
1. The pursuit of any calling in any art
2. Any entrepreneurial enterprise
3. Any diet or health regimen
4. Any program of spiritual enlightenment
5. Education of any kind
6. The Courage to change ourselves
7. Undertaking an enterprise to help others
8. Any act that undertakes the commitment of the heart
9. Taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity
The characteristics of Resistance are insidious. It is invisible but it can be felt. It is a negative force that shoves us away. It keeps us from doing our best work. It is a bully and can reason like a lawyer. Resistance is always lying to us. While Resistance is evil and we can never avoid it, we can combat it and we do have allies in our quest to out maneuver Resistance.
- Stupidity – Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill, and Charles Lindbergh are three leaders who everyone thought were out of their minds and did not truly understand the challenges they were facing in their respective endeavors. And they probably didn’t. And that’s a good thing. Keep learning and keep moving.
- Stubbornness – Once we commit to action the worst thing we can do is stop. There can be no quit.
- Blind Faith – Our mightiest ally is our belief in something we cannot see, feel, or taste. But we know it is there and we know it is powerful.
- Passion – Think about great artists. Think about Picasso & Mozart and their passion for what they were creating. Think about a child and how they play with passion everyday and the zest they have for life. Fear saps passion. When we conquer our fears we discover our passion.
- Assistance – This is the opposite of Resistance. The same forces that are seemingly against us when we are stepping out to do something great seem to bend in our direction once we get rolling. Assistance is like the sun breaking through the midnight sky.
- Friends & Family – When art and inspiration and success have come and gone we need to remember what we do and whom we do it for.
Keep these allies close to you as you embark out on your endeavor. Get started now. Don’t wait until you are “ready”.
Here are a few things to remember as you prepare to do your best work:
1. The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
2. Resistance never sleeps. Fear doesn’t go away. The battle must be fought each day.
3. The deeper the source we work from the better our stuff will be and the better it will be for others.