Bestselling author Stephen Pressfield’s bestselling book on how to overcome the forces that keep a person from being amateur and become a true master of their craft. The book has over 400 positive reviews on Amazon and about 4,000 positive reviews on the GoodReads book portal.
What does an amateur need to do to become a professional and why is it important? Let’s tell you more.
Professionals have a special mindset that sets them apart from amateurs
A professional does what an amateur does not – every morning he gets up and, despite feeling unwell and the Resistance’s attempts to lead him astray, he does his work all day. The professional is patient, prepared, he has order, he acts in spite of fear, he is constantly improving. He does not take his failures personally, he overcomes difficulties and constantly re-opens himself. A professional is recognized by other professionals. A professional goes into confrontation with his doubts and demons, he does not hide from them. And although a professional can work as part of a team, he also always fights alone.
The professional is often self-ruthless. The author tells how one day in Paris, Picasso met with the owner of the studio in which his works were exhibited and sold. He showed him his last series of portraits. The owner of the gallery was delighted with the new works and could not wait to start selling them. But then Picasso took out a spatula and, to the horror of the gallery owner, began to shred his paintings to pieces. They weren’t good enough. At the same time, the professional has self-compassion. As a good rider, he does not drive his “horse” to exhaustion, leaving it wanting more.
Unlike the amateur, who spends most of his time in the past or in the future, in fears and hopes, the professional lives in the present. The professional is not waiting for the Muse. He acts without waiting for inspiration. He also does not give up power over himself to others. The amateur is looking for gurus and mentors who will be ready to obey and become their henchmen. And while a professional may seek wisdom or instruction from those who have accomplished more, he will not give others power over him. A professional helps others. He’s happy to teach. The amateur does not want to share his achievements and knowledge, fearing that in this way he will lose them. And at the same time, the professional rejects the desire to become an icon for others, a guru.
Against the forces of Resistance – self-sabotage, procrastination, doubts, distractions, perfectionism, the desire to make a tragedy out of their lives, a professional has a weapon – discipline. But what about magic, inspiration, flashes of insight – all that is shown in the movies? Is this all there is? Stephen Pressfield simply says no. Discipline helps us achieve a state of flow that, while it seems the most mundane, is actually the magic.
Daily practice is a professional commitment
The goal of practice for a professional is not only to hone his skills, but also to participate in forces more powerful than himself. Professional practice has a number of characteristics. This is order, dedication, passion, humility, love for business. When a person practices at the same time every day, a powerful energy builds up around him – the energy of intention, commitment and determination.
Thanks to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Geniuses and Outsiders, the general public learned that it takes about 10,000 hours to master a particular business. But, besides this, the practice should be focused, it should be based on the intention – to become better, deeper.
Fiction writers know that it is entirely possible to create and describe a character that is much smarter than they are, and perfectly describe places they have never been to. An actor can play a person who is superior to him in every way. Many scientists can hardly explain how they came to their discoveries, as if someone else suggested them to them. The author explains this by saying that practice allows us to draw energy from a source that is much deeper than our shallow ego.
Pressfield notes that in each of his books there was a part that was given to him with particular difficulty, despite the fierce attacks. This can only be overcome by remaining calm and patient. The defenses can be broken later. Tune in to the fact that your whole life is practice, and one bad day won’t change that.
Stephen Pressfield’s book is one of the best examples of what happens when a professional fiction writer takes on nonfiction fiction. What others would express with the help of heavy verbal constructions, theorizing, hard-to-perceive abstractions and a huge amount of “water” poured over hundreds of pages, Stephen Pressfield expresses in the simplest words, capacious sentences, taking imagery and intuitive metaphors. Stephen Pressfield’s ideas are unlikely to be accepted by people who take everything literally, but most readers will surely discover a lot of value in his book.
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