We’ve all been there; the days where you’ll do just about anything except the work that truly matters. You’re lacking motivation.
You know what you want out of life. You’ve seen it in visions, you’ve dreamed about it. You’ve gazed longingly at the twitter or Instagram profiles of those who are successful. You’ve heard the music, witnessed the art, lived through the worlds that developers have created and felt something truly unique that left a mark on your spirit.
It doesn’t make sense though; you’re ready to work yet you don’t feel the motivation. In fact, you’re capable of feeling anything besides motivation: doubt, fatigue, procrastination, fear, lack of creativity. Maybe the voices surface: “I’m going to embarrass myself”, “I’m not as talented as ______”, “nobody is going to take me seriously if I fail”, “what will my parents think?”, “what will my partner think?”.
Steven Pressfield refers to this force that keeps us from realizing our true potential as “Resistance”. In his book “The War of Art”, he explains that those of us who are destined to create are engaged in a war. It is you alone who must fight in this war. A war against resistance.
Whether oriented towards art or life, no “self help” book I’ve ever read has come close to putting structure around what it means to be a creator quite like The War of Art has. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner, a developer, musician or anything else involving putting yourself out there, this book puts a simple philosophy towards pursuing something creative. It shows you what it means to be a Pro. That’s not to say that it’s easy to do. Here’s a simple breakdown.
Show up for work everyday
Pros show up for work. Pros work until the work is done for the day. Show up and do what you’re supposed to do. Put your time in. You may not get the results you want today, but you must go through the motions and try out your ideas. Most of the time you’ll have to get through ideas that won’t work in order to find the ones that will.
Fear is a sure sign that you’re doing the right thing
Everything you want out of life is on the other side of fear.
You’ll never win the war
Resistance is a guerrilla army of negative thinking and false self justification. Even if you win the day, it will always try to creep up on you whenever you’re at your weakest. You’ll never completely vanquish resistance, but whether or not you keep it in check for today is entirely up to you.
If you’ve ever felt a lack of motivation, just know that motivation is fleeting and unreliable. Some of your best creations will come from moments where you had to fight through resistance to get yourself working. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone pursuing a creative career.
Thank you for reading and good luck in the battles to come!