Author: Steven Pressfield
|Do The Work (2011) is a book by Steven Pressfield that aims to help readers in overcoming procrastination by introducing them to actionable tactics and strategies. Steven Pressfield gives you the tools to understand and protect yourself from resistance. The book is a follow-up to his first title, The War Of Art, where he defines resistance and discusses how it works and how to beat it.|
Do the Work is divided into two parts. The first part is a brief history of resistance that Pressfield has encountered in America. The second part is a breakdown of how we can counter-resistance using 4 methods: Deal with It, Drop the Excuses, Show Up and Start, and Be Specific.
Resistance turns up in the guise of fear, self-doubt, and procrastination. It whispers to us, “Who do you think you are?” Pressfield says that we all feel resistance, but it’s how we deal with it that shows who we truly are. We’re not special. Everyone feels resistance when they try to get their work done. And if you can’t get past resistance, then you’re never going to get your work done.
The book was pretty short (as opposed to the usual 300 pages of a business book). Highlights from the book are the following.
Do The Work Key Points
You will always be fearful if you love your work
What if I told you that if you keep practicing, the fear of doing your work will never go away? Would you get discouraged and stop? Probably not. If your work is important to you, the fear of doing it will never go away. You’ll always be worried about your performance. Our fear of doing our work is lifelong. It’s always there, in the background, no matter how much we accomplish or how good we get. We’re afraid that if we ever have to sit down and do the work we’ll find out it wasn’t as great as we thought it was.
It takes courage not to be afraid. That’s another way of saying that it takes courage to do your work. The work you have to do isn’t always fun and games, like making a movie or writing a novel, or painting a picture. Sometimes the work you have to do is tooth-grindingly hard. If your work is important to you, the fear of doing it will never go away.
So, if you’re okay with that fear and nervousness, then you can get to work. If you want to deal with this fear, the best way is to face it head-on. The trick is to find a way to do your best work, even when you’re scared. It all starts with asking yourself a critical question: Do I love what I do? If you don’t love what you do, practice can help make it better. If you love your work, then practice can help you do it.
Try not to act and reflect at the same moment
As human beings, it’s quite easy to overestimate our abilities and accomplishments, especially when we look back on them. Even worse, it’s common to take action and reflect at the same time. Don’t do that.
For example, we launched an app but before launching the app, We spent a month making the Summarizer and taking notes on how to improve it, which allowed us to notice some common problems. And because we were giving ourselves space between creating the app and reflecting on it, we could take more time to articulate these problems. The takeaway here is that you should try to separate your work from your reflection. Of course, you can’t do this completely, but you can create some distance by giving yourself some time and spending it doing something else.
Let’s suppose that you are a writer, as you put your finishing touches on your book, you know it’s good – but “good,” isn’t enough. You’re not just writing a book, you’re creating a work that you want people to read. When you finish a book, don’t jump the gun and feel like it’s time to celebrate – take some time to take a step back before judging what you just did. There’s a reason we have just one chance to edit our work, before publishing it on the internet. Doing it right after you finished writing is the worst thing you can do. When you’re still in the high of finishing something – anything you’re not going to be in the right mindset to reflect on what you made.
Think of your work as your reward
It’s really easy to get discouraged when you don’t seem to be making any progress. You’re working hard, but your numbers are low, you’re not getting anywhere, and you feel like you haven’t moved up the ladder in a while. Let’s say you just quit your job, or maybe you’ve been freelancing for a while. You are getting work and you’re making some money, but it’s not enough to live off of. And you don’t think it’s going to be enough to live off of shortly.
When you reach that point, you are so close to throwing in the towel. When I was in that position, I would make excuses about why I didn’t have enough time to write. I would rationalize saying things like, “I don’t have enough time because I need to do other work first. If I had full-time work, then I would have time to write.”
But as soon as you accept that excuse as true, you’ve lost. That is a rationalization for giving up. It’s an excuse, and it means that your work isn’t important to you enough to be worth working on it while taking on other jobs, either side gigs or even full-time work.
The truth is that if your work is worth doing at all, it’s worth doing right now. And it will take whatever time you give it. Whether it takes 20 hours or 2 hours a day, if you are committed to your craft, whatever time you spend will be rewarded – with more work, more money, and more freedom.
Do The Work Quotes
“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” –Steven Pressfield
“The opposite of fear is love – love of the challenge, love of the work, the pure joyous passion to take a shot at our dream and see if we can pull it off.” –Steven Pressfield
Do The Work Review
Do The Work book is pretty short yet informational and motivational for everyone. It has many tips and strategies to start work asap. Highly recommended if you need a quick motivational booster.
To whom I would recommend Do The Work Summary?
- A writer who feels like he is fearful of doing his work.
- Anyone who wants to know how to navigate their emotions for a better life ahead.
- Anyone who needs motivation in every step of his life.