The War of Art: Steven Pressfield


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By Rich Roll. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

We all experience it. That invisible, self-sabotaging force that lives between you and your most expressed self. Today’s guest calls it ‘Resistance’. He’s cracked how to overcome it—and the process required to birth your best work.

Meet author Steven Pressfield—a man who has profoundly impacted my life and how I pursue creative expression.

A former Marine, Duke graduate, and journeyman of countless jobs, Steven had been writing in obscurity for three decades before his first published novel became a smash success. Molded on archetypes lifted from the Bhagavad Gita, The Legend of Bagger Vance made it’s way all the way to the big screen, starring Matt Damon and Will Smith.

Now revered for his creative prolificacy, Steven has 20 books to his name, including the military novels Tides of War and Gates of Fire, currently on the curriculum at the Naval War College and West Point.

More relevant to today’s discourse, Steven has authored some of the most impactful books ever written on the fundamentals of pursuing a creative life. Collectively, The War of Art, Do The Work, and Turning Pro are books I’ve read and make a point to re-read annually. Practical treatises on the human relationship with authentic expression, they provide a disciplined approach to birth the work we were born to create.

Steven’s latest offering, A Man At Arms, is a historical novel about the Roman Empire, a reluctant hero, and the rise of Christianity in First Century Jerusalem. Cinematic in it’s sweep, think Gladiator meets The Road Warrior.

A personal hero, meeting Steven has always been a dream. Today he shares his story. And it’s everything I hoped it would be.

Steven will tell you that creativity isn’t about talent. It’s about discipline. But it’s also about reverence for the mystical—courting The Muse to connect with that inimitable force that breathes beyond our conscious awareness.

However, The Muse only shows up when you respect the grind as sacred.

An excavation of this process, this conversation is an absolute masterclass on all things creativity, served up with a healthy dose of perseverance, persistence, patience, and the heavy lifting required to eliminate distraction and make manifest the dormant, authentic voice within.

It’s also about dispelling the myth that great art is the purview of the chosen few. Or that it comes easy to those so touched.

We all have something worthy to say. We can all benefit from learning how to better express our truth.

“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”

The spirit of this exchange is to empower this ideal.

The visually inclined can watch our exchange on YouTube. And as always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Final note: Some unfortunate construction noise next door periodically invades the audio dojo. Apologies for the distraction.

I hold Steven and his work in the highest regard. My hope is that this conversation will leave you feeling the same.

Peace + Plants,

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