The War Of Art

The War Of Art


Book Summary

The War Of Art

Steven Pressfield

05 Apr, 2024


“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance” - Steven Pressfield

Key Takeaways

🔵 Recognize and combat resistance as the primary obstacle to creativity.

🔵Shift from an amateur to a professional attitude by committing fully to your craft.

🔵Emphasize the role of invoking the Muse for inspiration and guidance.

🔵Focus on loving the work itself rather than obsessing over outcomes.

🔵Understand the dangers of yielding to resistance, including unfulfilled potential and regret.

🔵Highlight the power of persistence in overcoming resistance as a daily effort requiring dedication and discipline.

Big Ideas

1. The Nature of Resistance

Resistance is the book's central concept, defined as the force that prevents individuals from doing their work and achieving their full potential. Steven Pressfield personifies Resistance, making it the enemy we all face. It's clever, insidious, and takes many forms: fear, procrastination, drama, self-doubt, and perfectionism. Understanding Resistance is the first step towards battling it. Pressfield makes it clear that Resistance is most potent when we're about to do something that matters to us, hence, the greater the Resistance, the more important the task.

2. Turning Pro

The transition from amateur to professional is a pivotal concept in 'The War of Art'. This doesn't necessarily refer to earning a living from one's art but adopting the mindset of a professional. A professional shows up every day, focuses on the work, commits over the long term, and does not take failure or success personally. This transformation requires a leap of faith but is essential for overcoming Resistance. Pressfield's delineation between the amateur and professional serves as a blueprint for readers to reassess their approach to their passions and vocations.

3. Invoking the Muse

The concept of the Muse is an ancient one, representing divine inspiration for the artist. Pressfield suggests that while hard work is crucial, opening oneself to the Muse (or higher creative guidance) invites an element of the divine into one's work. This idea emphasizes the spiritual aspect of creativity, suggesting that by dedicating ourselves to our work and overcoming Resistance, we create a space for inspiration to enter. It's about merging discipline with openness to the unknown.

4. Beyond the Self

Pressfield introduces the idea that the true purpose of overcoming Resistance and doing our work is not for personal gain but to move beyond the self. According to Pressfield, The act of creation is not about self-expression but self-transcendence. Through our work, we connect to something larger than ourselves, whether it's the collective unconscious, a shared human experience, or a divine spark. This perspective shifts the focus from the ego-driven fear of failure to a broader, more altruistic view of art and creativity.

5. The Higher Realm

'The War of Art' posits that by engaging in our work and battling Resistance, we access a higher realm of consciousness. This realm is where our purest creations come from, untainted by ego or the desire for recognition. Pressfield argues that this access is not just for the chosen few but is available to anyone willing to do the work. This idea suggests that the act of creation is a form of meditation or prayer, connecting us to something beyond our comprehension.

How The War Of Art relates to Life Purpose

Steven Pressfield's 'The War of Art' delves beyond overcoming creative blocks, offering a profound exploration of life purpose and the battle against Resistance. The book links the journey of overcoming Resistance to the pursuit of one's life purpose, emphasizing the need to recognize barriers, adopt a professional attitude, and be open to external inspiration. It suggests that our true calling lies on the other side of Resistance, emphasizing a connection to a higher realm and contributing to something larger than ourselves, providing a framework for living a purposeful life through engagement and overcoming obstacles.

How The War Of Art changed me

After reading "The War of Art," I felt an invigorating push to identify the deeper motivations driving my endeavors and to align them more closely with my personal and professional life. Steven Pressfield's candid exploration of resistance not only illuminated the invisible forces working against me but also equipped me with the tools to confront and conquer them. This book serves as a relentless reminder that the journey towards achieving our highest potential is fraught with challenges, yet it's a battle worth fighting every day.

Who is The War Of Art for?

"The War of Art" is for anyone who has ever felt the pull of creativity and the equally strong force of resistance holding them back. It is especially relevant for artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and anyone pursuing a passion project or looking to make a significant change in their life. The book speaks to those who have experienced the frustration of unfulfilled potential and are seeking a way to overcome the internal obstacles that prevent them from achieving their goals. Whether you're a seasoned professional facing a creative block or an aspiring artist struggling to start, Pressfield's insights into the nature of resistance and the path to overcoming it are universally applicable and deeply motivating.

Leave A Comment


About Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield, is an accomplished author of fiction, non-fiction, and screenplays. His diverse experiences, including work as an advertising copywriter and teacher, inform his profound insights into creativity and the universal struggle against resistance, with his notable works including "The Legend of Bagger Vance" and the influential "The War of Art.


Isak Vidinghoff is a Strategic Life Coach and Content Creator. He communicates personal development strategies to help people find purpose and meaning to live their fullest potential in life.

| Let’s Connect


© 2024 Wellsquire. All Rights Reserved

| Newsletter

Sign up for inside information, exclusive content and limited discount codes