You know, the universe never ceases to amaze me….
I ordered some monitor stands for the studio in the new house so I can migrate my operations here. Along with the stands, I bought a few books, which have all since arrived. Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work was delivered this morning and I’ve just completed it. At a mere 98 pages, it was easily the shortest book I ordered.
The main theme in Do the Work is getting out of your own way by overcoming Resistance (Pressfield purposely capitalizes this word), and allowing Assistance to aid you in your efforts.
Pressfield essentially says that in order to succeed at effecting a change in one’s life, one needs to:
1. Stay stupid
2. Trust the soup
3. Start before you are ready
When it comes to being creative, to “stay stupid” means to not over-think and just act — without simultaneous self-criticism.
Just begin. Get after it. Don’t worry about the results yet. Just follow your muse and allow it to take you wherever it goes. You can sand off the rough edges later, just get started and engage in the work.
To “trust the soup” is to let go of the need to control, and put your faith in something bigger than you. Not necessarily God, but the “Big Mystery” or “The Source” or just the universe itself.
The goal is to remove any preconceptions or held-fast rules or judgement and simply allow ideas to come to you naturally, organically. There are no right or wrong ideas, only ways of thinking which make them so. Don’t think. Just write your ideas down. Record voice memos. Capture your thoughts as swiftly as possible, or they may leave before you get a chance.
“Start before you are ready” is a theme I find common throughout my studies. It’s good to be prepared, but if you prepare too much and your plan is too rigid, you leave no room for maneuvering should problems arise. And problems will always arise!
If you begin before you are ready, you know you are unprepared, and therefore, you will have to be more focused and attentive to the matters at hand.
You are naked, you are alone, and you are scared. You must do something. So DO something. Place yourself on what author Robert Greene calls “death ground” — if you are in a position in which you absolutely cannot fail, in which you either live or die, your focus and energy will rise to meet the challenge.
Pressfield’s advice in Do the Work is delivered pointedly and succinctly, with humor sprinkled throughout. I recommend it to anyone who wants to make a fundamental change in their lifestyle or business. It’s a good kick in the butt for those who need it.
Don’t we all need a good kick in the butt sometimes??
I got mine today, right after lunch…
My queen left for work, and I sat my happy butt down in my easy chair and settled in for some me time, playing Black Ops 3. After a few rounds, I cooked a pork chop and warmed up some bacon jalapeño mac and cheese (yes, it’s as good as it sounds; feel free to email me for the recipe!).
As I was eating and playing, I thought of the book I had just read. And I got upset with myself.
I thought, “Is this Resistance?? Right now? Me, reclining in a comfortable chair, eating and playing video games instead of working on something? Should I stop what I’m doing right now and start working?”
[It may seem weird, but I have conversations with myself often. You see, entrepreneurs have no true barometer for how hard they supposed to be working, at any time. “I’m my own boss” literally means that I am the one who has to boss me around and hold me accountable. For each time I think I’m the hardest working person I know, there’s a time I believe I’m the world’s biggest slacker, that people think I’m lazy. (This is actually very common among entrepreneurs, and can lead to serious bouts of depression.)]
Once I finished eating and cleaning the dishes, I looked outside to see if my monitor stands had arrived yet. They hadn’t, but the regular mail was in the slot.
Along with the usual ads/junk/bills was a package for me. Upon opening the mailer, I laughed. I had received the kick in the butt I needed — The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles, the other Steven Pressfield book I ordered.
Reading is very important to me. It makes my brain tingle in a very positive and productive way. When I read, I read with intent to learn.
There was a book I bought once for $70. My friend laughed at me, thought I was crazy. “You paid seventy dollars for some old book?!” I told him that I didn’t just buy some old book, I bought the author’s thoughts.
When I opened The War of Art, I knew this was the universe saying “John, slow down.” Because I haven’t really read any books since I last toured, which was November of last year. I’ve been so busy with my fan club, buying and moving into the new house, producing and writing new songs, driving nice people (and a couple crazies) around metro Detroit, blogging, etc. I haven’t taken time to sit and read, to soak up new insights.
So this weekend, in between moving the studio gear and furniture to the new house, getting everything in its proper place and setting it up, acoustically-treating the mix room, and approving the master of my new album (excitement!), I’m going to be doing as much reading as possible.
As soon as those monitor stands get here…it is ON!
But first a few more rounds of free-for-all in Black Ops 3. 😀