This week I read Turning Pro – Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield. It is about the process of coming to do your life’s work. Turning Pro is a decade later follow up to his bestseller, The War of Art. It was in War that he first described Resistance, the malignant internal force that keeps us from doing our life’s work. As a means of conquering Resistance, Pressfield suggested the strategy of ‘turning pro.’ This book serves as a follow up to The War of Art by offering a more defined approach to turning pro.
Turning Pro occupies itself with two life modes: amateur and the professional. Most of us live our lives as amateurs. When we become pro we give up a life with which we have become extremely comfortable. When we turn pro we find our power, our will and our voice.
Pressfield’s concept of a shadow career is interesting. He describes the shadow career as a metaphor for our real calling. It is a surrogate calling that we pursue out of fear and denial. ‘The shadow life is the life of the amateur.’
And lots of interesting insight on the fine line between addiction and art.
Pressfield is particularly bearish on social media.
The amateur has a long list of fears. Near the top are two:
Solitude and silence.
The amateur fears solitude and silence because she needs to avoid, at all costs, the voice inside her head that would point her toward her calling and her destiny. So she seeks distraction.
The amateur prizes shallowness and shuns depth. The culture of Twitter and Facebok is paradise for the amateur.
This wonderful and uniquely formatted book is ultimately about focus, dedication, commitment and the decision to succeed. You should read it.
You might check out one of Pressfield’s rare interviews this week with Chris Brogan. Pressfield has some unique views on interviews, public speaking and book promotion.