Book Reflection: The War of Art
I recently finished The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I will be placing this book in my top 10 list. It was one of those books that teaches you a bit more about how to live life more fully. I am thankful that Pressfield took the time to distill his experience in such an inspiring book.
I will break down my thoughts and learnings from the book into three main points:
1. The Reality of Resistance
2. The Self vs. the Ego
3. Our Potential and Purpose
The Reality of Resistance
One of Pressfield’s main points of The War of Art is that we all battle ‘resistance’. He explains resistance as what keeps us from doing what we love, what keeps us from being our true selfs and following our true desires. It is the reason that the poet does not write poetry, why the painter does not paint, why the runner does not run, etc.
I believe strongly in the presence of resistance. I experience resistance every day and I can bet that you do as well. Resistance seeks to attack each one of us. It is the carnal trying its hardest to defeat the spiritual. As you endeavor in anything worth while you will face resistance in some form or another. Do not fear, resistance means you are doing right. Feel the resistance and press forward.
The Self vs. The Ego
The second lesson that resonated with me was the self vs. the ego. The self is that part of you that is free, that feels, and creates. It is who you really are. The ego seeks to destroy the self — to follow the easy road, to hide from what it fears most: success. This concept is something I have pondered on much in my life. I love the analogy of the two wolves within us. One of these wolves is the self and the other is the ego. They fight each other day after day. Who will win? The wolf that is fed the most.
Are you feeding your ego or your self? Are you doing what you were meant to do? Are you finding joy? Are you giving back to humanity? Blessing us with your talents? If you answered yes, you feed the Self.
The self vs. the ego is a never ending battle and it will continue forever. As you seek to feed your self you will find it becomes stronger and the resistance will lessen.
Our Potential and Purpose
Overall, this book gave me motivation to move forward with what I love. I think that Pressfield what correct in seeing that we all have some purpose and potential to offer the world. It’s our responsibility to find it.
I know how difficult it can be for some to hear the words potential and purpose. It can feel like a never-ending search of some mystic power. In reality it can be quite simple.
It can help to think back to what brought you joy as a child. What called to you then? What calls to you now?
The Art of War was a great book and well worth the read. If nothing else I hope you realize that you have potential and purpose and the world needs you. Go get the job, write that book, hike that moment, or whatever it is that brings you joy.