Do the Work – Start by Reading the Book!

by Vicki on September 16, 2011

On Tuesday night, I found myself trapped on a Westjet flight, the onboard televisions not working, and a crummy fiction book to read. What to do with 5+ hours left to go?

I looked through my Kindle hoping that somehow I had forgotten a better read and…..voila! There in my library was a previously downloaded (free!!) copy of a great little manifesto: Do the Work – How to Overcome Resistance and Get Out of your Own Way written by Steven Pressfield, the bestselling author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire and The War of Art.

Do the Work is a motivating, matter of fact, and funny read that boldly dares readers to get out of their own way in pursuing their dreams. Although the manifesto was written from the point of view of someone facing a creative block, the mindset and the tools detailed within are critical for anyone who is experiencing a challenge in reaching any goal.

The manifesto details:

  • How to surround yourself with supporters
  • How to overcome self-sabotaging beliefs/behaviors and habits that keep us from doing the work
  • The discipline needed to get the work done
  • How to avoid/battle pitfalls to getting the work done (i.e., “Resistance” our primary enemy to getting the work accomplished)

To give you a taste of the manifesto, here are a few of my favorite quotes –

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole.
Don’t prepare. Begin.
Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account.
The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.
Start before you’re ready.

We’re in till the finish.
We will sink our junkyard-dog teeth into Resistance’s ass and not let go, no matter how hard he kicks.

The creative act is primitive.
Its principles are of birth and genesis.
Babies are born in blood and chaos; stars and galaxies come into being amid the release of massive primordial cataclysms.
The most highly-cultured mother gives birth sweating and dislocated and cursing like a sailor.

The manifesto is super quick to read – I was done in an hour. But if you’ve ever struggled in any realm to get where you want to be, the messages within will resonate with you long after your done reading.







Aside – Do the Work is another publication of the Domino Project. The Domino Project is in and of itself worth your attention. As described on their website –

The Domino Project is named after the domino effect—one powerful idea spreads down the line, pushing from person to person. The Project represents a fundamental shift in the way books (and digital media based on books) have always been published. Eventually consisting of a small cadre of stellar authors, this is a publishing house organized around a new distribution channel, one that wasn’t even a fantasy when most publishers began.

If you are interested in the dissemination of smart ideas and how transmission of information is changing, I encourage you to check out their website.

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