DO THE WORK BY STEVEN PRESSFIELD

"On the field of the Self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon."

Orientation: Enemies and Allies

ENEMIES

  1. RESISTANCE - "Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it."

    "Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on this earth to give and that no one else has but us. Resistance means business."
     
  2. RATIONAL THOUGHT - "When an artist says “Trust the soup,” she means let go of the need to control (which we can’t do anyway) and put your faith instead in the Source, the Mystery, the Quantum Soup."
     
  3. FRIENDS AND FAMILY - "The problem with friends and family is that they know us as we are. They are invested in maintaining us as we are."

ALLIES

  1. STUPIDITY - "Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur’s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be—and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway."
  2. STUBBORNESS - "We will sink our junkyard-dog teeth into Resistance’s ass and not let go, no matter how hard he kicks."
  3. BLIND FAITH - "Our mightiest ally (our indispensable ally) is belief in something we cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or feel."
  4. PASSION - "When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion."
  5. ASSITANCE
  6. FRIENDS AND FAMILY - "Only two things will remain with us across the river: our inhering genius and the hearts we love."

Beginning

"Start Before You’re Ready Don’t prepare. Begin."

  1. STAY PRIMITIVE - "Conception occurs at the primal level. I’m not being facetious when I stress, throughout this book, that it is better to be primitive than to be sophisticated, and better to be stupid than to be smart."
  2. SWING FOR THE FENCES - "If you and I want to do great stuff, we can’t let ourselves work small. A home-run swing that results in a strikeout is better than a successful bunt or even a line-drive single."

"Start with the theme. What is this project about?"

Middle

"Get to THE END as if the devil himself were breathing down your neck and poking you in the butt with his pitchfork."

"The inner critic? His ass is not permitted in the building. Set forth without fear and without self-censorship. When you hear that voice in your head, blow it off. This draft is not being graded. There will be no pop quiz. Only one thing matters in this initial draft: get SOMETHING done, however flawed or imperfect."

"Ideas come according to their own logic. That logic is not rational. It’s not linear. We may get the middle before we get the end. We may get the end before we get the beginning. Be ready for this. Don’t resist it."

"Act, reflect. Act, reflect. NEVER act and reflect at the same time. In writing, “action” means putting words on paper. “Reflection” means evaluating what we have on paper."

"Our job is not to control our idea; our job is to figure out what our idea is (and wants to be)—and then bring it into being."

"A work-in-progress generates its own energy field. You, the artist or entrepreneur, are pouring love into the work; you are suffusing it with passion and intention and hope. This is serious juju. The universe responds to this. It has no choice."

"How much time can you spare each day? For that interval, close the door and—short of a family emergency or the outbreak of World War III—don’t let ANYBODY in. Keep working. Keep working. Keep working."

"I ask myself, again, of the project: “What is this damn thing about?” Keep refining your understanding of the theme; keep narrowing it down. This is the thorniest nut of any creative endeavor—and the one that evokes the fiercest Resistance."

"Have that meeting twice a week. Pause and reflect. “What is this project about?” “What is its theme?” “Is every element serving that theme?”"

THE BELLY OF THE BEAST

  1. Principle Number One: There Is an Enemy - "This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours."
  2. Principle Number Two: This Enemy Is Implacable - “It will kill you. It will kill you like cancer.”
  3. Principle Number Three: This Enemy Is Inside You - "Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. It does not arise from rivals, bosses, spouses, children, terrorists, lobbyists, or political adversaries. It comes from us."
  4. Principle Number Four: The Enemy Is Inside You, But It Is Not You - "No moral judgment attaches to the possession of it. You “have” Resistance the same way you “have” a heartbeat. You are blameless. You retain free will and the capacity to act."
  5. Principle Number Five: The “Real You” Must Duel the “Resistance You” - "On the field of the Self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon".
  6. Principle Number Six: Resistance Arises Second - "It means that before the dragon of Resistance reared its ugly head and breathed fire into our faces, there existed within us a force so potent and life-affirming that it summoned this beast into being, perversely, to combat it."
  7. Principle Number Seven: The Opposite of Resistance Is Assistance

ESISTANCE TWO TESTS

  1. How bad do you want it?
  2. Why do you want it?

"The only items you get to keep are love for the work, will to finish, and passion to serve the ethical, creative Muse."

"A crash does not mean we are losers. A crash means we have to grow."

"When we experience panic, it means that we’re about to cross a threshold. We’re poised on the doorstep of a higher plane."

In the belly of the beast, we remind ourselves of two axioms:

  1. The problem is not us. The problem is the problem.
  2. Work the problem.

END

"Because finishing is the critical part of any project. If we can’t finish, all our work is for nothing. When we ship, we declare our stuff ready for prime time. We pack it in a FedEx box and send it out into the world. Our movie hits the screens, our smart phone arrives in the stores, our musical opens on Broadway. It takes balls of steel to ship."

"A perplexed person stands before two doors. One door says HEAVEN. The other says BOOKS ABOUT HEAVEN. What makes us laugh, I suspect, is that all of us feel the pull to pick BOOKS ABOUT HEAVEN. Are we that timid? Are our huevos that pocito? When we’re offered a chance at heaven, what diabolically craven force makes us want to back off—just for now, we promise ourselves—and choose instead heaven’s pale reflection? Fear of success is the essence of Resistance."

"When we ship, we’re exposed. That’s why we’re so afraid of it. When we ship, we’ll be judged."

"Here’s one thing I can tell you—and you can take this to the bank: Slay that dragon once, and he will never have power over you again."

"Take the rest of the day off. Take your wife or husband out to dinner. Pop some champagne. Give yourself a standing ovation. Then get back to work. Begin the next one tomorrow. Stay stupid. Trust the soup. Start before you’re ready."