A book review, “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles,” by Steven Pressfield

Now there are few books that I have recently gotten my hands on and decided that I really want to read this. Before I went on to publish this blog and tell people about I it, I procrastinated for almost 3 months. I had initially said to myself that by the time the blog is published and it is live I will have finished at least 5 articles for a start, followed by a blog a week. Unfortunately, like many other goals that we set, we keep giving ourselves excuses as to why we will not do them. This is perfectly normal, now let me tell you what started to concern me. I observed that I was subconsciously and at time actively avoiding writing. I seemed to have created some serious mental barriers around it. No it was not a writers block. I had not identified what it was, but it was un-natural. Knowing what needs to be done but not doing it. I found it to be self-sabotaging. It is one thing to have known that I was actively avoiding what I knew I really wanted to do but another to figure out what to do. In the haphazard wandering of documents on my e-book reader, I stumbled on this book.

Now it is one thing to read a book that you relate with but it is another to read a book and know that it is objectively speaking into a situation that you are currently in. you know how they say that I never knew that I needed something until I got it. I could not accurately describe to you what I felt until I read the book. The overarching theme here is resistance. If you are Kenya and you are in touch with the political scene you may know of a national resistance movement, but know, that is not something that is not where I am going with this. There is also resistance as used in fitness circles, resistance training- where you work out in ways that literally cause resistance for your muscle forcing growth.

Stephen Pressfield, the author of this book does not speak of this kind of resistance, he speaks of the kind of resistance that every human being experiences in every day living. The resistance that you feel when you snooze your alarm, the resistance that you feel when you attempt to sit in the library to read for an exam and you cannot just seem to get past that page. The kind of resistance you feel when you are nursing depression and you cannot seem to get an ounce of happiness into your system. The kind of resistance that keeps you from asking a girl you have liked for the longest time out. In his writing this resistance is the distance of agony between your calling as a human being and your self-destructing human nature. Even though the overarching context of resistance is on writing, I felt that I could apply it to many others areas of my life. You know those things that you have done that you feel like they completely changed something within you. I read that book and it educated my mind on the fact that I know what I want to do. In most instances, I even know how I want to do it and even more pertinent, I know why I want to do these things. However, it is true that the closer you are to achieving your human capacity for greatness, the more difficult it becomes to do even those things that are would ordinarily come naturally to you.

Stephen Pressfield, the author of this book does not speak of this kind of resistance, he speaks of the kind of resistance that every human being experiences in everyday living. The resistance that you feel when you snooze your alarm, the resistance that you feel when you attempt to sit in the library to read for an exam and you cannot just seem to get past that page. The kind of resistance you feel when you are nursing depression and you cannot seem to get an ounce of happiness into your system. The kind of resistance that keeps you from asking a girl you have liked for the longest time out. In his writing this resistance is the distance of agony between your calling as a human being and your self-destructing human nature. Even though the overarching context of resistance is on writing, I felt that I could apply it to many others areas of my life. You know those things that you have done that you feel like they completely changed something within you. I read that book and it educated my mind on the fact that I know what I want to do. In most instances, I even know how I want to do it and even more pertinent, I know why I want to do these things. However, it is true that the closer you are to achieving your human capacity for greatness, the more difficult it becomes to do even those things that are would ordinarily come naturally to you.

Reading this book enabled me to establish that despite having the best intentions on writing in this blog, it does not mean anything if I do not sit down and write what must make the flesh of this blog. The over-arching theme being resistance, it felt like resistance is such a common human vice. And you know the way you can quit many of the vices that encumber you, you can quit smoking if you consider it a vice or you can make a decision to stop lying and therefore rid yourself of the vice of dishonesty; it is not like that with resistance. Every waking day of your existence as a human being you will wrestle with the resistance that threatens to break down every system that you put in place to continuously improve as a human being. The day you decide to wake up at 5am every day to work out, sleep will attack your eye lids like never before. The day you decide to say no to ill relationships your entire emotional system will almost shut down. If not in the form of heart break, then a form of a crippling loneliness will haunt you menacingly.

The author goes on to speak into how powerful resistance can be given the smallest window. Do you remember how easy it is to stop doing something important and telling yourself that you will only scroll through your social media feed for 10 minutes only to realise that you spent the three hours you had allocated to something important on your phone. Each and every day that you resist the resistance to do the things that make you happy and grow you as a person you wield power against it.

 

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