Jim Collins

I’m about halfway done with Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. The book is about the would-be artist’s creative battle with what Pressfield calls Resistance. It comes highly recommended by Brian Koppelman, so I decided to take a break from Good to Great and check it out.

While there are a lot of great ideas I could share with you from the book, today I’d like to just share one, my favorite: RESISTANCE AND UNHAPPINESS.

RESISTANCE AND UNHAPPINESS

What does resistance feel like?

First, unhappiness. We feel like hell. A low-grade misery pervades everything. We’re bored, we’re restless. We can’t get no satisfaction. There’s guilt but we can’t put our finger on the source. We want to go back to bed; we want to get up and party. We feel unloved and unlovable. We’re disgusted. We hate our lives. We hate ourselves.

Unalleviated, Resistance mounts to a pitch that becomes unendurable. At this point vices kick in. Dope, adultery, web surfing.

Beyond that, Resistances becomes clinical. Depression, aggression, dysfunction. Then actual crime and physical self-destruction.

Sounds like life, I know. It isn’t. It’s Resistance.

What makes it tricky is that we live in a consumer culture that’s acutely aware of this unhappiness and has massed all its profit-seeking to exploit it. By selling us a product, a drug, a distraction. John Lennon once wrote:

 

Well, you think you’re so clever

and classless and free

But you’re all fucking peasants

As far as I can see

 

As artists and professionals it is our obligation to enact our own internal revolution, a private insurrection inside our own skulls. In this uprising we free ourselves from the tyranny of consumer culture. We overthrow the programming of advertising, movies, video games, magazines, TV, and MTV by which we have been hypnotized from the cradle. We unplug ourselves from the grid by recognizing that we will never cure our restlessness by contributing our disposable income to the bottom line of Bullshit, Inc., but only by doing our work.

The Dismissive says, “No, that’s not what I think.” They don’t take the time to hear why you do what you do. They don’t care. That’s because they think they have it all figured out.

“You read mainstream books? Eh, Malcolm Gladwell and Jim Collins are nothing to Plato.”

“You drink soy milk? You’re effeminate.”

Many, many people are Dismissives. This is because most people tend to think they’re right about most things.

Dismissives are dead wrong, and in my opinion, one of the worst kind of people.

Ignorant conviction breeds prejudice. Proper understanding rests on continuous reasoning, which may be defined as an open mind and an open heart to the experiences and most intimate, complex dispositions of the people in our lives.