Friday, July 20, 2012

Steven Pressfield's "Turning Pro"

Are you hard at work each day doing what you were born to do? Making that art? Running that business? Contributing that service? In your own way, using your best talents and making a difference?

Of course "born to do," is a figure of speech used in reference to making a contribution that gives your life meaning and purpose.

For example, anyone can say, "I could write a book about that." One can think about its contents, imagine the stories - even outline the chapter sequence and make journal entries or blog posts to get the juices flowing.

But until you sit down each day and say "no" to the thousands of distractions - which Pressfield calls "resistance" - and actually write one chapter at a time, hour after hour, day after day, rewriting, revising and polishing, until the work is finally finished and real, then you're fooling yourself.

According to Steven Pressfield, author of Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work (2012), until you're actually making the contribution that comes from the best part of yourself, you're still an amateur.

Pressfield is frank and uncompromising about how this works. He explains that "turning pro" is a psychologically difficult and momentous achievement. He gives this explanation in a minimalist style - the truth and nothing but the truth. If you can handle this truth, it can empower you to do what needs to be done. Without knowing how "resistance" works and what you have to do, you could remain stuck as an amateur for years, or even for life - and never realize it.

One reviewer called this new book a "rehash" of his earlier best seller, The War of Art (2002). I feel this is an unfair and inappropriate criticism, because while his new book does treat the same topic, it doesn't cover the same ground. It's as if Pressfield said to himself, "The book did very well, put me on the map. But I really care about this, and I know I can do better."

I loved The War of Art. I read it twice and lent it to a friend and never saw it again. I think she read it and gave it to someone else. So I bought another copy and read it again.

But Turning Pro is an even better book. It's more grounded, and the anecdotes about his own amateur life and his experience of turning pro are wonderfully written. I'm on my second reading now, taking it slow, using Pressfield as my writing mentor, the voice that encourages me by telling me the truth.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2012. Building Personal Strength .

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