The War of Art
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The War of Art

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Discussion Guide for The Art of War written by Steven Pressfield.

Discussion Guide for The Art of War written by Steven Pressfield.

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  • 1. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles March 8, 2011
  • 2. About Steven Pressfield Steven Pressfield’s father was in the Navy, and Steven was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943. He served in the United States Marine Corps in the 1960s, and later graduated from Duke University. Pressfield worked as an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout and attendant in a mental hospital. He picked fruit in Washington state, wrote Hollywood screenplays, and at one time was homeless and lived out of the back of his car with his typewriter. It took seventeen years before Steven earned his first paycheck as a writer. After the publication of The Legend of Bagger Vance in 1995, Pressfield became a writer of books once and for all. Since then Pressfield has written a series of historical novels including Tides of War, Virtues of War, The Afghan Campaign and Killing Rommel . Marines.“ His epic novel Gates of Fire is required reading at the U.S. Military Academy and the Virginia Military Institute, and according to the L.A. Times, "has achieved cult status among Marines.“ Pressfield’s writing philosophy is, not surprisingly, a kind of warrior code – internal rather than external – in which the enemy is identified as those forms of self-sabotage that Pressfield has labeled "Resistance" with a capital R and the technique for combating these foes can be described as "turning pro."
  • 3. “ Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us.” “ Between the two stands Resistance.”
  • 4. The War of Art Resistance – Defining the Enemy “Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It cannot be seen, touched, heard or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work. Resistance is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.” Combating Resistance – Turning Pro “The conventional interpretation is that the amateur pursues his calling out of love, while the pro does it for money. In my view, the amateur does not love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a sideline, distinct from his “real” vocation. The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to is. He commits full-time.” Beyond Resistance – Higher Realm “ When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron fillings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
  • 5. Resistance – Defining the Enemy Why is it so hard to pursue your dreams, and get started on the creative challenges that mean so much to you? How can you overcome your inner Resistance to doing the things that matter?
  • 6. Combating Resistance – Going Pro What role does “ritual” play in harnessing your creativity? What rewards can you expect from persevering in the face of difficulties?
  • 7. Beyond Resistance – Higher Realm
  • 8. “ It is better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.”
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