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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pressfield's Turning Pro

Jocelyn K. Glei at the blog 99% has an interesting review/commentary on the book Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work by Stephen Pressfield, who's also the author of War of Art.

In this new book, Pressfield apparently contrasts the professional/artist with the amateur/addict, and shows how the latter spends energy making drama of the elements that ought to go into making art, investing energy in the yearning and longing to follow one's passion instead of foregoing that waste of energy and simply making the art.

Pressfield uses addict in a much more general sense than is usually meant. Here are some quotes from the book:

The addict is the amateur; the artist is the professional.

Both addict and artist are dealing with the same material, which is the pain of being human and the struggle against self-sabotage. But the addict/amateur and the artist/professional deal with these elements in fundamentally different ways.

(When I say "addiction," by the way, I'm not referring only to the serious, clinical maladies of alcoholism, drug dependence, domestic abuse and so forth. Web-surfing counts too. So do compulsive texting, sexting, twittering and Facebooking.)


Displacement activities.

When we're living as amateurs, we're running away from our calling - meaning our work, our destiny, the obligation to become our truest and highest selves.

Addiction becomes a surrogate for our calling. We enact the addiction instead of the calling. Why? Because to follow a calling requires work. It's hard. It hurts. It demands entering the pain-zone of effort, risk, and exposure.


When you turn pro, your life gets very simple.

The Zen monk, the artist, the entrepreneur often lead lives so plain they're practically invisible. Miyamoto Musashi's dojo was smaller than my living room. Things became superfluous for him. In the end he didn't even need a sword.


Looks like it could be a useful read in fallow periods. I'll add it to my list for those discouraging times.

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