You Control Your Own Reality

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The professional cannot allow the actions of others to define his reality.

This quote appears in The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It’s a must-own for creatives especially but will inspire anybody looking for some motivation. Slowly Pressfield explores the causes of creative resistance before urging you to “turn pro” and then guiding you through some pretty heady self-actualizing pondering. I can’t recommend the book enough and you’ll see Pressfield mentioned often on this blog and other personal development sites (in fact, an entry on his blog was a weekend reading suggestion of mine just last week). His ideas make sense and if his calls to action don’t mobilize you then, well, you may not have a pulse.

The quote of the moment falls in line with our Monday discussion about defining yourself. Once you’ve figured out who you are and what you want to be (and do), one of the hardest obstacles to overcome will be other people. In the age of social media and instant feedback (you could go to the comments right now and tell me how you feel about this article) everybody is a critic and some are less thoughtful about it than others.

Pressfield presents this quote after a story about Tiger Woods being distracted by a camera flash while playing in The Masters during his prime. Woods calmly stopped his swing, collected himself and drove the ball a mile down the fairway. Maybe the flash was a mistake, maybe it was intentional – but the reason wasn’t relevant to Woods and his reaction reflected that. The professional didn’t allow the action of another to enter the equation of his own success. Woods went on to win the tournament.

How often in the course of your day do the actions of another person threaten to derail your day? Or week? Or career? Are you willing to cede that kind of control to other people? Jerks and critics will come and go but – as Pressfield says – you will have to continue to show up or else you’ll never realize your dreams. Others only have the control that you grant them, so be very careful about who you give that kind of power to.

The next time somebody threatens to derail you – whether by accident or on purpose – remember that the only actions you can control absolutely are your own.

Reset the mechanism and go about your business.

ToVa Weekend: Entrepreneurship, Resistance, Rudeness

Rupert is reading 'Everything Matters!'

The weekend is here at last! As always, here is your roundup of the best of the week that was. This week: unleash your inner entrepreneur within the bureaucracy of your company, beware of creative resistance from within and learn to handle the worst behavior on the part of others.

Channel Your Inner Entrepreneur to Excel at Work

This is fantastic – one of the best career-advancement pieces I’ve seen in a few months. Lauren Berger shows you how to be an entrepreneur within a large company and the insights are invaluable, especially for those in Gen Y and Z who don’t see how their creative energies can be appreciated by the corporate machine. Tips like mastering your day job and being informed seem straightforward but they also tend to be the first things to slip and – as Berger points out – who’s going to take you and your ideas seriously when you can’t get your everyday duties right? Other pointers, like considering the view of your boss and his or her allies, round out a great article that will help you see yourself as something more than just another cog in the machine.

Why, #1

Steven Pressfield pauses to consider why he is writing his blog and why anybody would be reading it. It’s the first in what will become a series of posts and his ideas seem to mirror my own in many ways. Central to his thesis is the phrase “the rightful lord and owner of his own person”, which is taken from an oration delivered by Pericles in ancient Athens. Pressfield dives deep here, determining that this idea of autonomy relates to freedom from resistance both external and internal, making self-actualization the ultimate goal. It resonated with me because the ideas correlate with my aim for this website. It’ll resonate with you because it will remind you of your freedom to act.

How to Deal With Other People’s Rude Behavior

Do you know a few people who have irritating habits? A coworker who chews with their mouth open or a friend who helps themselves to bites of your dinner? You may have a social allergy, according to Dr. Michael Cunningham. He suggests that such behaviors fall into four categories according to how impersonal/personal and unintentional/intentional the behaviour is. As with most cases involving the behavior of others, though, the problem (and solution) might come back to your own attitude.

ToVa Rewind:
Welcome to Toward Vandalia!
Jellybeans Illustrate The Importance Of Maximizing Our Lives

Rupert and I are reading: Everything Matters! by Ron Currie, Jr.

Have a great weekend!