Thursday, November 19, 2009
The War of Art
I'm currently reading the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and I'm not being hyperbolic by saying that it is absolutely life changing. It's very easy to read since the book is broken down into chapters that are only a page or two long. And there is so much wisdom that the book should not even be picked up unless you have a pen in your hand to underline all of the ideas that speak to you. And please don't be scared off by the subtitle that includes the word "creative." In this context "creative" does not mean that the book is for painters, it refers to absolutely anything that you love and feel passion for.
The tenet of the book is this:
"Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance."
If you have ever laid in bed at night daydreaming about other possibilities for yourself (and I would be absolutely floored if someone genuinely had never done that) then go buy this book. It's not in any way a motivation book (that very phrase makes me shutter for all kinds of reasons), it's far more genuine than that.
Here's a chapter in the book about criticism that was one of the many passages that made me think "Yes! You are so smart Steven Pressfield!!" As the saying goes, everyone's a critic, but I'm sure you know people who have elevated that trait to a very unlikable art form. And on the other hand, hopefully you have had the joy of encountering someone who is so happy and pleased with their own life and their own path that they seem totally disinterested in the judgment of other people's lives.
So whether you apply this passage to yourself, a coworker, a family member, or a friend, I hope it provides a little insight that you didn't have yesterday. Or maybe it'll serve as a good reminder for something you already knew. Either way, enjoy...
Resistance and Criticism
If you find yourself criticizing other people, you're probably doing it out of Resistance. When we see others beginning to live their authentic selves, it drives us crazy if we have not lived out our own.
Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others. If they speak at all, it is to offer encouragement. Watch yourself. Of all the manifestations of Resistance, most only harm ourselves. Criticism and cruelty harm others as well.
Passage from pg. 38 of The Art of War by Steven Pressfield.