In his books such as The War of Art, Do The Work, Turning Pro and The Artist’s Journey, Steven Pressfield talks about a universal force that he claims works against us and our creativity. He labels it as ‘Resistance’.
Resistance is described as a mythical entity that has one sole purpose: to keep things as they are, and hence to keep us stagnated.
It’s a force that will stop an individual’s creative pursuit through any means necessary whether it be coming up with excuses, diverting her to distractions, coaxing her to rationalize, birthing self-doubt, fear and anxiety, or amplifying the voice of her inner critic — anything that impedes the flow of her creative genius.
Pressfield further emphasizes that Resistance is evil, and is extremely dangerous as it acts against one’s life dreams and goals, it’s a saboteur and dreamstealer. It’s something that never goes away, but as creative beings we can work towards overcoming it and keep it subdued so that we are able to create to our fullest potential and express the latent genius within us.
Pressfield writes that Resistance is toxic and something that keeps us away from experiencing true happiness. He says that artists are actually warriors and it’s crucial that they wage a war against Resistance and keep fighting it every day.
He starts his book The War of Art by sharing his daily routine. He wakes up, gets dressed and takes care of a bunch things and by 10.30 am, he sits down at his computer and writes down for about four hours or so. He further writes that it doesn’t matter to him how many pages he produced and if they were any good. The only thing that matters to him is that he put in his time and did his best, that he emerged victorious against Resistance that day.
It doesn’t matter what stage of life and work we are in, we’ll have to fight Resistance every single day. It’s a given. But we can win over it by showing up and putting in the work. Whether our works of art become successful or not, it’s a different story because that is not in our control; but as artists, creatives and humans, our victory lies in showing up, taking action every single day and doing the work that we were meant to do.
As Pressfield points out, “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”