I’ve just been recommended a book called The War of Art. Yes, I did write that correctly. You will no doubt be familiar with The Art of War by ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu, which contains some excellent lessons for life and business, albeit I would rather focus on the art of peace. This is a play on words of that evocative work, primarily directed towards writers, but adopted by entrepreneurs, actors, painters, photographers and many others. It deals with something which we all suffer from, to a greater or lesser extent: that thief of time, procrastination. Or as author Steve Passfield calls it, Resistance.
I would challenge the writer of the forward, screen writer robert McKee, that it was written for expressly for him (“I hold Olympic records for procrastination”). Ok, so I’ve never, when feeling blocked or generally uninspired to take action, taken out my entire wardrobe, tried it on and organised it into seasons, tried it all on again and sub-divided into season and style. But I know I’m a contender for countless World Records for procrastination, not least for this blog – I have enough in me to write every day for years, but so far that daily discipline has eluded me. So although he doesn’t know it (yet), I reckon Steve wrote this expressly for me.
And already, before I’ve even got into the book proper, I’ve been inspired to stop procrastinating and write this. Yet all he has done so far is point out that writing is not the hard part, but sitting down to write. Something I know all too well. I used to fear that what I wrote might be considered woolly, incoherent, even boring. That stopped me in my tracks. But I am now not afraid of that, so that’s one less Resistance I have to contend with. I have so much I want to say and even if what I write has a fraction of the impact that my reading of other’s work has, I will be happy. Because I know that what I have gone through, others have or will too, and that I take confidence and courage from the sharing of experience and the resulting wisdom that others have shared with me.
So regardless of the inner voices that give you a million reasons why you shouldn’t do something that, deep inside, you have a burning desire to do – and that might actually change your life, I would simply say these three words: JUST DO IT!!