15 Life-Changing Steven Pressfield's Quotes from Do The Work

In Steven Pressfield’s book Do The Work, he talks about a very important subject - what to get work done.  When you look at people around you, there are people that have talent.  They just don’t do the work.  Yes, the world doesn’t force a good writer to be a writer and a good musician to be a musician, but wouldn’t your world look so beautiful if you choose to be the one who does the work?  Now, let’s learn some amazing lessons from the following Steven Pressfield’s quotes from the book Do The Work.


“Start before you’re ready. Good things happen when we start before we’re ready.”

It is not necessarily a bad thing that you start when you are ready to start.  But think about it, what many times have you actually started doing something when you are ready?  You better start when you have the spark of motivation to give you that little push.  


“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.”

Think about it.  Isn’t it weird that a child and a madman are not afraid to chase after what they want.  While we grow up, our brain becomes bigger and our heart becomes smaller.  Don’t worry.  Just by being aware of that, we can make our heart big.  It’s a choice.  


“The opposite of fear is love - love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.”

The key is to try.  If we try and we succeed, that’s great.  If we try but fail, we must have learnt something along the way.  Each failure can take us closer to where we want to get.  


“The song we’re composing already exists in potential. Our work is to find it.”

A lot of times, when you want to write a book or write a song, it’s because there's already that book or song in you.  You just have to get it from your mind, using time and effort.  Of course, you will also have to spend the time and effort to refine your raw thoughts to a degree that the thoughts deserve.  


“A work-in-progress generates its own energy field. You, the artist or entrepreneur, are pouring love into the work; you are suffusing it with passion and intention and hope.”

Why is “just start” a good idea?  Because once you get started, the work-in-progress is actually helping you and pushing you forward.  It’s like having a great teammate working with you.  


“Stay stupid. Follow your unconventional, crazy heart.”

Stay humble and thirsty.  Once you think you are the best, you are not going to get any better.  When there are crazy ideas that are scary because they are too difficult to do, be aware of them as they may be wonderful ideas.  


“Don’t think. Act. We can always revise and revisit once we’ve acted. But we can accomplish nothing until we act.”

If you think too much, you would allow yourself to think of excuses not to start.  Just start and then revise if it doesn’t end up good enough.  In an ideal world, we would like to start when we are perfectly ready and deliver the perfect work on the first attempt.  The only problem is that an ideal world doesn’t exist.   


“Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.”

Imagine every good work to be potentially done has a force called “resistance”.  It is there to prevent us from getting started.  


“Resistance is the response of the frightened, petty, small-time ego to the brave, generous, magnificent impulse of the creative self.”

The force of “resistance” is just our mind’s response to our bravery.  It’s just how our mind works, but how our mind works may not produce the best result when it comes to getting work done.  Be aware of how our mind works and ignore the resistance when we want to get work done.  


“Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel”

The more positive things that your potential work could bring to the world, the stronger the resistance is.  It’s probably just how your mind balances itself.  Don’t let your resistance take away your dream.  


“Don’t prepare. Begin.”

Instead of doing a lot of preparation before you begin your work, start working right away and correct your work along the way.  


“I was thirty years old before I had an actual thought. Everything up till then was either what Buddhists call “monkey-mind” chatter or the reflexive regurgitation of whatever my parents or teachers said, or whatever I saw on the news or read in a book, or heard somebody rap about, hanging around the street corner.”

A lot of people are like that.  They watch the news and think they got some thoughts.  They watch more news and think they are intelligent.  You don’t need that much information, especially when your information is stuff prepared by the media.  Be mindful and actually think.  


“The problem with friends and family is that they know us as we are. They are invested in maintaining us as we are. The last thing we want is to remain as we are.”

Our friends and family usually don’t like it when we change.  It’s normal.  You don’t have to fight it.  At the same time, we should just keep working to become the best versions of ourselves, despite their lack of support.  


“Once we commit to action, the worst thing we can do is to stop.”

If you can get your work started, don’t stop working on it for a few weeks and then think that you would continue on.  It takes energy to start some serious work.  It may take even more to continue on doing the work after a long break.  


“Discipline yourself to boil down your story/new business/philanthropic enterprise to a single page.”

If you can’t explain your work in a single page, there’s a good chance that you don’t know your work well enough.  Think about some of the most complicated and amazing stories and businesses ever created.  It’s hard to imagine the creators fail to explain their work in a single page.  

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