You are the knight – Book review: Do the Work By Steven Pressfield

Photo by Beverly & Pack

On the field of the Self stand a knight and a dragon.

You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.

This is how Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and get out of your own way, Steven Pressfield new book, published by the Domino Project, starts. With this short painting of an image, Pressfield tells us something we all know but fail to recognize. We are at war. Every day. With ourselves. With that voice inside our head that is trying to convince us he is reason or gut or whatever we will believe. Trying to convince us that we can’t, that we shouldn’t, that it is not worth even to try, that it is better to stay put, and be mediocre, and do only what we have to or what are told. As Pressfield puts it:

Start Before You’re Ready 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 Resistance. 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. Good things happen when we start before we’re ready. For one thing, we show huevos. Our blood heats up. Courage begets more courage. The gods, witnessing our boldness, look on in approval.

When you read the book you feel like you should have known every word of it. The descriptions of the experiences are so familiar, so mundane, that we stooped recognizing the deception. We all believe that it is only us who are hearing the voice in our head trying to prevent us from doing. And Pressfield helps us shatter our illusion of uniqueness. Everybody hears that voice. And everybody listens to that voice from time to time. The question is not whether you have the voice or not. The voice – the resistance – is a part of being alive. The question is how often you are able to conquer it. To defeat the dragon in one battle in a never-ending war.

And this is what is so wonderful with the picture painted in the first words of the book. It reminds us that we are the knight. We are not the dragon. Because what the resistance does is convince us we are the dragoon and that it is the knight that comes to save us. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. We all know what a dragon is. We know we need to fight a dragon. We know it is a monster that needs to be over thrown. So the resistance convinces us that it is us that need to be overthrown. The resistance convinces us that our ambitions, desires, creativity and connections are all evil manifestations that need to be quelled. And until we call it for what it is we have no chance against it. The book tries to teach us that when in doubt, it is the resistance, as Pressfield says in an Interview on the Domino Project blog:

First let me say one thing. My rule of thumb is: When in doubt, it’s Resistance. When you think it might be something else, it’s not, it’s Resistance

All of us need a reminder that we are not the dragon. If you want to be reminded you are the knight, read Do the Work.


P.S. the Kindle copy of this book is free courtesy of GE. The best and most economical purchase you will ever make.

One Response to “You are the knight – Book review: Do the Work By Steven Pressfield”

  1. The decision to lift the rod against fear « The Secular Bible Blog Says:

    […] to do all your life. Something that you always wanted to do but didn’t because of the resistance, that voice inside our head that is trying to convince us he is reason or gut or whatever we will bel…. You overcame it. And then it comes up to hunt you. Yes, you conquered it once, but it gathered up […]

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