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Procrastination Is Not Living Your Life: It's Living It Without Living

3 principles from Steven Pressfield's book helped me reduce daily resistance and boost productivity.

By Anshul KumarPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
Photo by Kyle Loftus from Pexels

There is always some force stopping us from starting something new, whether it's typing the first word, writing the first page, or shooting the first few seconds of filming.

Steven Pressfield created The War of Art to shed light on conquering procrastination, one of my most frequently asked questions.

In his words,

The evidence suggests that most of us live two lives, the life we live and the life that remains unlived within us. There could also be something called resistance that stands between us and the possibility of overcoming procrastination.

I find this to be a very profound insight. It completely revolutionized the way I think about productivity and life.

After reading the book, I figured out my method of beating procrastination, and they might help you, too. I am sharing three critical points from the book, and hopefully, you will apply them to your own life.

1. Knowing your enemy is crucial.

By Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Procrastination and laziness are not our enemies. There is a resistance problem. So the first question we need to answer is, what is this resistance?

Resistance is the negative force that’s actively working against us to stop us from doing the things we want to do. It doesn’t stop us from watching a movie or watching an NBA game — instead, it stops us from doing anything that we know in our hearts is going to level up our lives

Resistance arises when something keeps us from doing something creative, entrepreneurial, or when taking the risk of putting ourselves out there.

We always have to deal with procrastination when we try to do any of this, and the book has an excellent quote about it.

We don’t tell ourselves, ‘I’m never going to write my symphony.’ Instead, we say, ‘I am going to write my symphony, I’m just going to start tomorrow.’

Lesson#1 learned.

I faced the same situation a year back when I thought of writing my blogs or even starting my youtube channel. The first set of questions that popped up were:

  1. Maybe, the timing is not correct.
  2. I should have a studio first for my recordings.
  3. How will I compete with the affluent writers we have on medium?
  4. Why would anyone care for my blogs and videos?

This resistance was all procrastination that was building within me, which created fear resistance.

Fear is actually an excellent thing because when we feel scared about doing something, it usually means we should do the thing.

So, I had to start somewhere, at some point in time — and I started during pandemic times. My initial focus was writing every day, breaking down my topic ideas into small chunks, and writing to express myself and not impress anyone.

As Steven says in the book —

Fear is actually a very good thing because when we feel scared about doing something it usually means we should just do the thing. The more scared we are of work or calling the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

2. Being a professional vs. amateur.

Photo by Vanessa Garcia from Pexels

We need to figure out some ways of dealing with our procrastination, and the first one is the professional versus the amateur's idea.

  • An amateur takes action whenever inspiration strikes or when they’re in the right mood, they’re not committed, and the goals are focused on fun money.
  • A professional shapes their life so that the work is a priority they’re determined and committed to succeed by following their inner drive and creative spirit.

The only way we can deal with resistance is if we become a professional with our work rather than an amateur — Steve Pressfield

This is interesting! A professional who takes pride in the work will show up every day to the job no matter what. He/she will work through all adversities and always want to improve and be more inclined to grow from the feedback.

Lesson#2 learned.

We always have to deal with procrastination when we try to do any of this, and the book has an excellent quote about it.

  1. The moment I decided to start my content writing business, I was committed to making it a success.
  2. All my initial achievements are just the beginning of my goal of being a 'brand maker.'
  3. The three things that I focused on were learning from the best, writing consistently, and using failure as a stepping stone to mastery.

3. Banish the ego.

By Syarafina Yusof on Unsplash

I’ll do my thing whenever I feel like it because that other thing doesn’t really work.

On the contrary, if you’re creating something like a pro, key point number three is we need to banish the ego.

Once we’ve become a professional, the next thing we need to do is recognize the ongoing battle between the self and the ego, and the way I see this is that our ego is more focused on external events and how other people see us.

In contrast, the self is this inner calm that we have.

When our ego leads us, our main priority is to maintain the status of the ‘I’ in the world. We’re just focused on how external events affect us, and everything is very superficial and surface-level.

We also have our personal and collective unconscious, which includes our dreams, intuitions, and aspirations.

We try to channel the self when we sit down to create because it's only through the self that we can overcome resistance.

Lesson#3 learned.

This came up directly from lesson#2.

The moment I was setting my goals for 2020/21, I decided to focus only on the things I can control, ignoring the external aspects.

My ability to reach a million views or get followers on my YouTube channel or writing platform is absolutely out of my hands - so I ignored it completely.

Final thoughts.

I hope you get something out of this story and implement it according to the goals and processes you might have defined and strive for the best in life.

Here is a video that you might want to check out also.

Feel free to hit the heart icon at the end of the story if you liked this story.

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About the Creator

Anshul Kumar

I’m a business & productivity consultant, YouTuber, and blogger. I write on productivity, tech, and life lessons. Get access to FREE newsletter:

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