Books / Quotes / Reading / October 2, 2013

Great Quotes from "Do The Work"

Steven Pressfield is best known for his historical fiction. That’s because he’s really good at writing it. But a couple years ago he contributed to Seth Godin’s Domino Project, an effort to publish in a new, non-traditional way and spread stellar ideas from exceptional authors. His book, Do the Work, is chock full of the kind of quotes, reminders, and inspirations creative people need. It is a short book, and worth every one of the not-very-many minutes it will take you to read. Here are some of my favorites:

“Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. Resistance will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get.”

“In other words, fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”

“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.”

“Don’t prepare. Begin. Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do. Start before you’re ready. Good things happen when we start before we’re ready. For one thing, we show huevos. Our blood heats up. Courage begets more courage. The gods, witnessing our boldness, look on in approval.”

“Discipline yourself to boil down your story/new business/philanthropic enterprise to a single page. Is this easy? [Expletive] no. At the conception stage, the artist works by instinct. What feels right? What does she love? Is this her pure vision? Does it feel so right to her that she can dedicate the next X years of her life to realizing it?”

“One rule for first full-working drafts: get them done ASAP.”

“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.”

“That our project has crashed is not a reflection of our worth as human beings. It’s just a mistake. It’s a problem—and a problem can be solved.”

1 Comment

Apr 23, 2014

Thanks for sharing this – wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. Reminds me of the way Anne Lamott describes perfectionism in the earlier part of Bird By Bird.

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