Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The War of Art

I was first exposed to this book during the summer of 2003. I was working in Orlando, FL to help facilitate a leadership development program for college students and at the same time participating in a separate staff leadership program with Great Commission Ministries.  During my summer stays in Orlando, I had managed to find two incredible book stores in the area. One was a used book store called Leedy’s, and the other was a book store in Northland Community Church in Longwood, FL.

While I was at the church book store, the book store manager recommended The War of Art by Steven Pressfield to me. It wasn’t a faith-based book, but rather a book about the creative process and persevering from idea to action. It sounded like a great read, so I picked it up and added it to my list for the summer.

Just this past summer, it was mentioned again on a list of recommended reads at a java developers conference. So, of course, I picked it up to re-read it. What I found in it was a series of short essays on resistance.

Resistance is that internal invisible force that distracts us, shoves us away, and prevents us from doing our work particularly when that work derives from our higher nature rather than our lower (painting, writing, music, dance, or any creative art, any form of spiritual advancement, education, and more).  We all experience it, and our inability to overcome resistance is what leads to lapsed diets, exercise programs, creative endeavors, and other forms of personal development and self-improvement. And the crazy thing about resistance is that it comes from within.

I don’t want to share too much of the book here. Rather, I would say that particularly at this time of year when so many of us are in the process of setting goals, making new commitments, and pursuing new physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, financial, or creative endeavors, this book makes an incredible read.

The book can be an incredible tool for identifying resistance and pushing through to the realization of our goals. Once one knows their enemy, then they know how to combat their enemy.

If you are looking for a good read to give you a kick-start to achieving your goals, I highly recommend The War of Art.  I also highly recommend taking time to recognize how resistance rears its head in your own life, and determine creative ways to stop it before it stops you in 2012.

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