What About The Magic?


Some weekend inspiration from my favourite writer Steven Pressfield

By the way, if you haven’t read The War Of Art or his follow up Turning Pro, drop everything that you are doing and buy them both from Amazon or Audible right now. Your life will thank you in a couple of years.

Here is a sneak peak from Turning Pro – exactly the inspiration that I need as I plan out my next week.

The professional mindset works in two ways.  It’s important for us to grasp the distinction.

First, the pro mindset is a discipline that we use to 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.  That’s not hard to understand.

What about the magic? What about the madness? What about flashes of brilliance and uncontrollable outbursts of genius? How does the professional mindset help there? Isn’t it too severe, too hardcore, too regimented?

Answer: no.

The monk glimpses the face of God not by scaling a peak in the Himalayas, but by sitting in silence.

Yoga, meditation, and the martial arts access the soul by way of the body.  The physical leads to the spiritual.  The humble produces the sublime.

It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true: in order to achieve “flow”, “magic”, the “zone” we start by being common and ordinary and worklike. We set our palms against the stones in the garden wall and search, search, search until at last, in the instant when we’re ready to give up, our fingers fasten upon the secret door. 

Like a child entering a meadow, we step over the threshold, forgetting everything except the butterfly that flits across our vision.

From this play arises Guernica, and The Godfather, and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. 


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