Steven Pressfield has written a remarkable book about how to stick with anything meaningfully important and do the hard, lonely, slow, and painstaking work necessary to bring dreams into reality.
I won’t rework the entire book here-read it, you'll be very happy you did. What I'd like to do today is to give some consideration to Pressfield's ideas and hopefully amplify on those ideas with some thoughts of my own.
Pressfield gives a great deal of attention to the concept of resistance. Resistance is the force that serves to bedevil the creator at every turn. It convinces the creator that his/her work is unimportant impossible, silly, it should be abandoned. Pressfield then sets this force in opposition to the muses or the genius of the universe-God or something similar.
Robert McKee in the preface to War of Art notes that Pressfield's 'resistance' is a recapitulation of Freud's concept of the 'death drive' or 'Thanatos'. Most everyone knows about Eros and libido this is essentially the drive to live, thrive, and procreate.
Many who are aware of the drive to live in Freud's work are unaware of the drive to death. Although Freud did not initially postulate the death drive others in Freudian psychoanalysis did and he explained the concept in the book 'Why War'.
So Pressfield’s highly readable and practical book seems to be something of a redux of classical analytic thinking. A drive to live, love, and create, versus a drive to death and destruction, one that compels us back to dirt.
Pressfield’s work makes the struggle between the forces of life and the forces of death very real and while the concept of life force and death force can be argued, minimized, ridiculed, etc, the strength of our experience validates Pressfield's work.
In a very real way Pressfield writes about the daily struggle we all face between life and death, and, instead of the life-and-death struggle occurring only when two people are fighting for a gun or a knife it's clear that this same struggle occurs daily as we struggle to live our lives in ways that validate support and encourage life. When we do that we win. We can take a deep breath and know we've done our part in supporting life in making our effort to bring something that only exists in the infinite to the time bound world.
The urgency that such an understanding brings is profound and I'm grateful Pressfield grappled with this excellent book to bring it forth from the Infinite.