It was around 10:30pm. By the time I got to the end of the third page, I knew I wasn’t going to sleep until I finished the book.
It started with a bang.
Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.
It didn’t let up.
At eighteen [Hitler] took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.
Hitler and World War II on page three? Hard to imagine there was a lot more to be said. That’s usually a conversation ender.
However, there was a different section of The War of Art which stuck in my mind and that I’ve revisited many times since that first reading.
When I began this book, Resistance almost beat me. This is the form it took. It told me (the voice in my head) that I was a writer of fiction, not nonfiction, and that I shouldn’t be exposing these concepts of Resistance literally and overtly; rather, I should incorporate them metaphorically into a novel. That’s a pretty damn subtle and convincing argument. The rationalization Resistance presented me with was that I should write, say, a war piece in which the principles of Resistance were expressed as the fear a warrior feels.
Resistance also told me I shouldn’t seek to instruct, or put myself forward as a purveyor of wisdom; that this was vain, egotistical, possibly even corrupt, and that it would work harm to me in the end. That scared me. It made a lot of sense.
What finally convinced me to go ahead was simply that I was so unhappy not going ahead. I was developing symptoms. As soon as I sat down and began, I was okay.
The War of Art is probably my most frequently re-read book ever. Pressfield almost didn’t write it. The Resistance indeed.
From everyone I’ve spoken with, Pressfield is not alone in feeling the Resistance: the invisible, insidious, implacable force that stands between each of us and the work only we can do, The Work. Fighting the Resistance, doing The Work is the struggle inherent in realizing our own humanity.
I felt charlatanic or fraudulent at many times writing The End of Jobs. Despite the tremendous support so many of you have been so generous with, I still question on some level whether I had the credibility to write it or if it was just vanity or egotism.
I had successful, intelligent, well-meaning friends who tried to talk me out of writing it for reasons as rational and subtle as the ones Pressfield describes.
Perhaps they were right, but whenever I thought about quitting, I couldn’t shake the feeling Pressfield describes. I was so unhappy not going ahead that I just sat down and continued.
I frequently revisited Pressfield while I was writing the book because the story I sought to tell in The End of Jobs was to fill in the foundation for why today is the best day ever to do The Work.
Technology has removed a lot of the structural impediments that used to exist. Hitler got rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts and the School of Architecture in Vienna and didn’t see any other opportunities to pursue The Work. He didn’t have an internet forum to find other artists, or Photoshop, or Youtube tutorials.
We all do. Our capacity to do The Work, to wake up each morning and battle with The Resistance has never been greater. All the external tools, the means of productions and distribution (aka computers and the internet) are now broadly available.
Once you accept that’s true, Pressfield’s thesis is inevitable:
Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.
His conclusion, however, is something each person seems to have to experience for themselves to believe.
Why is this so important? Because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen.
A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose. This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t.
When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
Shortly after I sent out an email yesterday thanking everyone for their help with the launch of The End of Jobs and surprised at how well the first day had gone, I looked at Amazon again to see the book was not just #1 in Small Business but #1 in the whole Entrepreneurship category.
When I woke up this morning, it was in the top 100 of the entire Kindle store.
I didn’t know what to expect in terms of downloads or rankings or any of that stuff for the book. I still don’t really know if that’s good by an “objective” standard. I don’t particularly care at this point.
What I do know, is that I dramatically underestimated the amount of support, the “unseen forces.” While I won’t flatly disagree with Pressfield, the “unseen forces” have not been so unseen. They’ve been posting reviews and tweets and facebook posts. They are you, The People.
Without undercutting the importance of The Work, I will say that, in isolation, even The Work is meaningless.
At the end of the day, there are two things that would seem to matter in fighting the war of art: The Work and The People. That’s my not-so-profound, profound realization this week.
Though it’s less than you deserve, I would like to deeply thank you. Your support, in a myriad of seemingly small, yet profoundly impactful ways has been tremendous in helping me do The Work.
The book will be free for another couple of days and my goal continues to be to get it in as many people’s hands as possible while it’s free.
If you would like to help out, here are the best ways to do that:
1. Leave a Review
If you’ve had a chance to read a section of the book and have thoughts, please leave a review.
If you don’t know what to say, a couple of sentences about your thoughts and feedback up to this point would be great and you can always go back and update it later if you want.
One thing that makes a big difference in compelling people to not just download, but actually read the book, is that the top 3 reviews be as helpful as possible.
If you leave a review and it gets voted as one of the top 3 most helpful by the end of the week I’ll do a free one hour consultation with you on anything I can help you out with: the writing process, personal habits and rituals, SOPs, marketing, philosophical ramblings, planning and organizing, apprenticeships, masterminds, you pick!
I’ll check it on Sunday evening, July 5th, 8pm CST.
2. Share it on Social Media
Here’s a link to share on Facebook – Punch in a couple sentences as if you were writing a note to a personal friends with your thought on the book at the top (probably worth mentioning that it’s free right now :))
CLICK TO TWEET the below message.
“Get a free copy of Taylor Pearson’s new book, The End of Jobs, today (Free this week only) – http://ctt.ec/2R2Tj+ ”
And if you haven’t downloaded it yet, here’s the link to download The End of Jobs.
Last Updated on July 30, 2019 by Taylor Pearson