Enter Stage Right

I’m reading best-selling author Steven Pressfield’s book called The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.  Its totally kicking my butt.  Here’s a few excerpts:

Most of us have two lives.  The life we live, and the unlived life within us.  Between the two stands Resistance.

Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet.  It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction.

How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to?

If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step towards pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business.  Prisons would stand empty.  The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom.  Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff.

You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist.  At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study.  He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture.  Ever see one of his paintings?  Neither have I.  Resistance beat him.  Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square canvas. 

Pressfield goes on to share how he confronts Resistance in a practical and consistent way as a writer:

I get up, take a shower, have breakfast.  I read the paper, brush my teeth.  If I have phone calls to make, I make them…  It’s about ten-thirty now.  I sit down and plunge in.  When I start making typos, I know I’m getting tired.  That’s four hours or so.  I’ve hit the point of diminishing returns.  I wrap up for the way and power down.  It’s three, three-thirty.  The office is closed.  How many pages have I produced?  I don’t care.  Are they any good?  I don’t even think about it.  All that matters is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome Resistance.

There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard.  What’s hard is sitting down to write. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After reading that, I know Resistance has kept me from becoming who I really am and what I’m called to do.  Every time I sit down to write, a flood of pressing and “altruistic” activities that I “must” tend to suddenly rush into my mind.  It all sounds so right and holy, too.  “She really needs my advice in this area and I’m the only one with enough experience and expertise to give it to her.”  “What would Jesus do?”  “I haven’t hung out with him for awhile, I don’t want him to think I’m ignoring him because there’s a slight possibility he might be my future husband.”  “I need to go on a run right now, I had that extra helping of salmon last night.”  You know what I’m talking about.

But there’s no greater and selfless gift that I can give to the world than being who I am created to be and do what I’m created to do.  You know, that thing within us that whispers to us, “I am meant for greatness.  I was born to do something that’s never been done before and will never be done again because only I can do it.  I exist to change the world.”

Before I started this book, I thought I was doing a great job confronting Resistance.  After all, I:

1) overcame my recent addictions: Halo & MW3, TV, Half & Half honey boba (still working on the FB one)

2) revolutionized my health/diet regimen: lost 30 pounds, workout three times a week, eat like a rabbit, and possess tighter abs

3) had an “extreme” makeover in changing my appearance, demeanor, and personality

4) learned how to do make up, curl my hair, and dated guys after a 10 year draught

5) got my finances in order and actually have a semblance of a budget  (OK, well I keep track of it in my mind but at least its a start)

6) graduated from a good college with a 3.3 GPA.  It would’ve been a 3.6 had I not failed Greek.  There’s a reason that language is dead  -_-

7) taken many principled stands in the face of adversity whether in private or before stadiums & the California Senate

8) done what I can to help others in need

So I’ve confronted a lot of demons in my time on earth.  But I’ve realized that I have been running from the biggest one.  The Resistance to me being who I am created to be.

Sure, I have had the courage to shed off much of what wasn’t me but its easier to take off costumes and masks that I hide behind to play whatever role I’ve been assigned in life’s dramas.  The kicker is actually coming back on to the world’s stage without all the fluff & fanfare and facing the scrutiny knowing that the audience is no longer criticizing or judging a fabrication of myself but the real me.  In light of that, I’ve been cowering and procrastinating backstage for a long time.

Did you know that Henry Fonda threw up before each stage performance even when he was seventy-five?  Resistance might not ever leave your side.  But I know one thing, you can force him to go on stage with you which will annoy the hell out of him.

So are you ready to enter stage right?

I will by pushing the “publish” button

right…

now…

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10 thoughts on “Enter Stage Right

    • It’s an amazing book that I highly recommend. If you like it, I would also recommend, “Imagine” by Jonah Lehrer and “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. All are really great books on creative thinking 🙂

  1. I can identify with everything on this post!! As in, everything-and I so want to steal that list. Please come back to Singapore to visit us!

    Ps: have you read The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer?

    • Glad you can relate to the post! Please use the list as you’d like. I’ll be back to Singapore soon. Haven’t read The Creative Call yet but I’ll check it out, thanks for the recommendation!

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