Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way
Life gets busy. Has Do The Work been on your reading list? Learn how to overcome Resistance and unlock your creativity with this book summary.
“Once again another brilliant book from Steven. Do the Work gives you step-by-step instructions on how to overcome and conquer Resistance–the biggest enemy of them all. The gloves come off! Do the Work explains who and what your allies are and how to embrace and utilize them in your creative life or in your day-to-day situations. The points and steps in this book makes it possible for anyone to go and achieve what they truly are striving for–may it be writing a book, a play, or starting a new business. A must read for anyone who wants to get ahead and out of their own way. Steven has done it again.”– Robert Kiyosaki, bestselling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad
Do the Work sets out the fundamentals of producing creative work. Its primary emphasis is on the craft of writing, but its advice applies to any creative work. It takes the reader through a project, laying out the problems you might encounter and how to solve them.
Do the Work is a short book that shows the difficulties of writing from the beginning to the end. It is both helpful and inspiring.
Steven Pressfield has also authored Turning Pro and The War of Art. The two analyze the differences between professionals and amateurs in their approach to adversity. The central message in Do the Work is that you have to take the initiative to get past problems. Taking the first step when trying something new is often the hardest but most important driver for eventual success.
Join us to find out if you agree or disagree with the key takeaways of Do The Work.
About Steven Pressfield
Best-selling novelist Steven Pressfield has published a dozen books over 27 years. He has authored fiction, nonfiction, scripts, and advertisements. In 1995, he debuted with The Legend of Bagger Vance. Five years later, Will Smith and Matt Damon starred in a movie of the same name to cash in on its popularity.
Do the Work is the follow-up book by Steven Pressfield to The War of Art. The two books provide readers with practical ideas and techniques to overcome Resistance. Resistance is the driving force behind procrastination.
Pressfield is also a former Marine and Duke University graduate.
StoryShot #1: Stop Thinking and Begin Working
You already have the seed of your next creative project planted or growing. But you may think it would be better if you had more time to think about it, do a thorough study, weigh the pros and cons, and dive right in. To put it another way, you feel you aren’t there yet.
People never get their ideas off the ground because they think too much. Many individuals regularly engage in this behavior and fall behind because of it.
You often search for excuses to avoid doing what is necessary. You can’t go anywhere until you act.
But you can’t sit around and wait for the solution to drop into your lap. You should act and adjust your route after. You can move past a less-than-tidy initial step, as long as you keep changing it as you go.
Want to spend the next twenty minutes starting a massive painting? Take the gesso and start applying it as groundwork. Ready to start a whole new art journal? Get a notebook or a magazine and start doodling or cutting out interesting pictures. Prepare some clay. It’s time to get out the oil paints or the fabric scraps. Get your pencils and paper, and draw whatever is in front of you. Make a mess already. The rest is information you’ll pick up as you go.
The time to start is before you feel completely prepared. You should do two things iteratively: act, reflect, act, reflect.
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StoryShot #2: The More Time and Effort You Put into a Big Project, the More Resistance You Will Face
Is it surprising that most people spend their days doing work they don’t like instead of the work they want to do?
If you put in the time and effort, you can overcome any Resistance standing in your way. Happiness and success are the rewards for the persistent pursuit of one’s dreams. Your happiness depends on how hard you work.
That’s why many of us choose jobs we wouldn’t like. We don’t feel as much pressure or worry about failing in our jobs because they aren’t all that important to us. When we work on something we’re interested in, we usually put in more time, effort, skills, and abilities.
It’s easy to take a paycheck and leave a job that doesn’t matter to you, but it’s difficult to quit work that you care about.
StoryShot #3: You’re Not the Only One Experiencing Resistance
You are not to blame. You can’t merely blame your lack of drive, enthusiasm, or motivation on these issues. There is nothing wrong with you if you have many unfinished projects.
Everyone is feeling its effects. Think about all the successful individuals you know. Who is your favorite creative person who makes it seem so easy? All of them also encounter pushback.
Relax and give yourself a break. You haven’t painted in a while, not because you’re incapable of doing so. Instead, you’ve avoided it because of the inevitable presence of opposition.
StoryShot #4: Develop a Research Diet
Nothing hits closer to home than the feeling of having to write, produce a video, or give a presentation. But it hurts to get halfway through and realize that you have done nothing. Since you’ve spent so much time reading and watching things about your subject, you should do well. You think you’re productive because you’ve read a few books and watched countless videos. The deadline for your project is near. Yet, you haven’t even finished the first chapter.
If you can identify with this, start including a research diet in your projects.
Keeping to a research diet means watching fewer movies. It also means reading fewer interviews and listening to fewer podcasts. Instead of dedicating all your time to research, start your tasks. This will help identify the issues and confusions that need to be resolved. It also helps you make meaningful progress with the resources you are using.
StoryShot #5: Act Stupid and Begin Working on Your First Draft Immediately
The ego is the source of all rational thought. The rational mind is the natural enemy of original thought. It is best to stop introspecting and start taking decisive actions. Put your best foot forward. Launch your imagination. Proceed with the task at hand.
As soon as possible, write your first draft, base layers, mock-up, basic shape, and the base of your diary pages. Avoid over-analyzing anything. Your internal critic has no place in this.
Take action, then reflect on it. You can’t think and act simultaneously. For now, you must assume the role of the crazy and set him free. Put out your all and labor like a maniac. Write or draw down anything that comes to mind – no matter how crazy, stupid, questionable, or wrong it is. You will get the opportunity to clean it up afterward.
The ego causes you to give in to opposition most of the time. You hesitate to act on your big ideas for fear of what others may think. Most people will think you can’t reach high, and they’ll be disappointed if you fail. Instead of recognizing your efforts, you obsess about the perspectives of others.
Putting aside your pride and working in solitude is necessary. It’s an initial step toward realizing your personal idea, vision, or creative work.
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StoryShot #6: Always Expect You Will Fail
Pursuing excellence and consistent practice guarantees some disappointment along the way. If you put yourself out there and don’t succeed, the real world might judge you harshly. You also open yourself up to criticism that isn’t necessarily constructive.
If you work at a job you don’t like, the problems you face will seem less severe. But if you are passionate about what you do, it hurts much more to encounter setbacks when you have put your heart and soul into your work.
However, there will be setbacks on the road to success in whichever endeavor you undertake. Although setbacks may be painful, they are still important. They are vital for personal growth, resilience, and gaining the right perspective.
If you don’t face problems early on, you won’t be able to deal with the problems you’ll face later. That’s why it’s important to see setbacks as stepping stones on the road to success.
If you’re human, you undoubtedly fear failing. On the other hand, if you want to be taken seriously as a working professional, you have to show up for work every day. It also means you are constantly looking for new ways to be the best you can be.
StoryShot #7: You Can’t Win Without Overcoming Resistance
You’ll encounter challenges even with the wind behind your back. You will feel like giving up. Resistance may regroup and launch another attack.
You’ll be in the middle of a project when it hits you: it’s too late to stop, and it’s too soon to see the conclusion.
You can’t win against adversity if you don’t give it your all. You can’t succeed in a field if you work part time. It would help if you were dedicated to working full-time to achieve your goals. It would help if you had a firm commitment to succeed at the highest levels of your chosen career.
It’s frustrating to face reality, but there will always be Resistance. Everything you do, every artwork you create, and every vacation you take will have some Resistance. And once we realize we can triumph over it, it loses some of its sting.
It is vital to recognize Resistance and call it what it is. Your attitude toward writing and making art is likely to change for the better. You are far more likely to recognize your excuses for what they are when you have to come up with them.
When you feel inspired to create something – whether it be a new piece of art or just the need to be creative – you don’t procrastinate as much as you would otherwise.
StoryShot #8: Assistance is the Opposite of Resistance
It may seem like Resistance plots against you at every turn. Thankfully, some forces share your desire to see you succeed.
It would help if you made it a daily habit to thank the people who have inspired you before you start work. This is like asking the Muses for help to stay focused and motivated. Don’t expect miraculous results from a casual daily practice or a few affirmations. There is no substitute for effort and commitment.
The fight against Resistance will go on forever. However, Resistance is mitigated or overcome with the right support.
Even if you don’t feel creative or inspired daily, you need to put in some effort. If you want to produce quality work, put in the time, energy, and resources it takes to get it done.
Resistance does not deter the provision of help. You must realize that enthusiasm, excitement, and knowledge are critical. What you get from completing the project is satisfaction. The beginning is much more valuable than the fear holding you back.
StoryShot #9: Think Big and Stop Acting Small
If you want to do great things, you can’t settle for mediocrity in your job. You could try to get a home run by swinging for the fences instead of bunting or hitting a line drive for a single.
Do The Work elaborates on the idea that people should act from a position of strength. Turning it down is always an option. You’ll never hit a fastball into the upper deck if you don’t aim for the seats immediately.
Even if you know little about baseball, you can still get the gist of this comparison. Put aside your doubts, worries, and any restrictions you may think you have. Put your best foot forward, imagine the impossible, and make this piece of art the one that defines you.
StoryShot #10: Ship Your Work Without Overthinking
Every task or endeavor must eventually come to a close. Shipping your album, book, or product is the last thing you should do. It’s all for nothing if you don’t get it out the door. Most of us fear releasing our work for fear of criticism.
What if there are major problems with my book? What if no one likes my suggestions? If this product does not sell, what are your plans? You won’t know if you don’t ship.
If you don’t ship, there is no space for outcomes and enhancements. By not shipping, you are putting your pride above your art and hard work. Whatever the results, you must release it and then celebrate your accomplishments or learn from your mistakes.
Final Summary and Review of Do The Work
The overarching goal of Do The Work is to assist creative professionals. It helps them overcome their natural tendencies toward procrastination, inertia, and interruption. We can trace these negative emotions and behaviors back to one source: Resistance. Resistance is the clever enemy inside each person, which makes it hard to reach their goals. Pressfield advocates for stupidity in his book. To be ignorant is to be happy. People have often done remarkable things when they did not know how hard the problems they were facing were.
Let’s review the key takeaways from Steven Pressfield’s Do The Work. Tag us on social media and let us know which ones you agree or disagree with.
- Stop worrying and start doing.
- You may expect more opposition when you put more time and effort into a significant project.
- It’s not only you who encounters difficulties.
- Make a research diet plan.
- Act stupid and start cranking out your first draft right this second.
- Assume that every attempt at success will end in failure.
- It may be difficult initially, but the Resistance will eventually fade.
- The inverse of Resistance is Assistance.
- Stop playing little and start dreaming big.
- Send out your work without a second’s hesitation.
Do the Work is a must-read for any artist or businessperson. It is helpful to anyone who has ever hit a creative wall while trying to reach their goals. Pressfield’s creative process acts as a lesson, and the creative processes of other people through history show how the ideas presented in the book work.
Do the Work gives many examples from real life to show how to recognize Resistance and get past it.
Overall, this is a fantastic book. Do The Work is undeniably captivating and deserves a 4.2/5 rating.
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