Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield is a book about the passage from the amateur life to a professional practice, written from the point of view of the author’s personal experiences and struggles. It centers around concepts like self-doubt, fear, resistance, how the amateur faces them, and how she must face them to become a professional.
From the book: “The difference lies in the way the professional acts in the face of fear. (…) When we turn pro, we stop running from our fears. We turn around and face them. We structure our hours not to flee from fear, but to confront it and overcome it. We plan our activities in order to accomplish an aim. And we bring our will to bear so that we stick to this resolution. This changes our days completely. Each day, the professional understands, he will wake up facing the same demons, the same Resistance, the same self-sabotage, the same tendencies to shadow activities and amateurism that he has always faced. The difference is now he will not yield to those temptations. He will have mastered them, and he will continue to master them.”
According to Pressfield, the professional mindset is a discipline that helps us overcome resistance. “To defeat the self-sabotaging habits of procrastination, self-doubt, susceptibility to distraction, perfectionism, and shallowness, we enlist the self-strengthening habits of order, regularity, discipline, and a constant striving after excellence.”
“What about magic? What about madness? What about flashes of brilliance and uncontrollable outbursts of genius? How does the profesional mindset help there? Isn’t it too severe, too hardcore, too regimented?” The answer is no. “It seems counterintuitive but it’s true: in order to achieve flow, magic, the zone, we start by being common and ordinary and workmanlike.”
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