One of my favorite books of all time is a short little gem by Steven Pressfield called The War of Art. In it, Pressfield outlines what he calls “The Resistance.”
The Resistance is a cosmic force that rises to oppose any form of change or any work you do to make yourself, or the world, better.
Resolve to work out every morning — The Resistance is there to tell you how you need more rest, to make your bed warm and cozy and to give you visions of the gym that are cold, hard, and uninviting.
Sit down to work on your “dream project,” that thing that you’ve been waiting your whole career to do — The Resistance calls to you from your Twitter feed. If it can’t distract you, it tells you that you aren’t good enough, that you can’t finish it, that it won’t matter if you did because no one would notice.
The Resistance doesn’t fight fair.
Pressfield is a writer, that’s his business. And he describes how he spent the first half of his life listening to The Resistance tell him that he was no good, that he couldn’t finish anything, that all the fun and fulfillment in his life was “out there” away from his writing.
I wrote in The War of Art that I could divide my life neatly into two parts: before turning pro and after. After is better. ~Steven Pressfield
To Pressfield, “turning Pro” is when you decide that you are going to defeat The Resistance, when you are going to do that thing — go to the gym, write your manifesto, or finish that big project — and you’re not going to let your feelings about it, or that voice in your head distract or dissuade you. You are a professional, and professionals do their thing no matter how they feel, no matter how hard it is. They are there to do a job, and they do it.
When are you going to “turn pro”? When are you going to stop listening to The Resistance, get rid of the beliefs that keep you jumping only as high as the jar is tall, and sit down to do your work no matter what it takes?
Is it today?