By Andrew Lubin | Published: August 26, 2010
The photo in Laura King’s Los Angeles Times article “‘Three cups of tea’ a byword for U.S. effort to win Afghan hearts and minds” shows why the war in Afghanistan is not going well for the United States.
As Ms. King so aptly explains, the phrase “three cups of tea” has been adapted from the Greg Mortenson best-seller of the same name by the American military as the basis of how to conduct a counterinsurgency campaign. (more…)
By Steven Pressfield | Published: August 25, 2010
[In keeping with last week's "Writer's Journal" and the idea that the Last Push on a project is always the hardest (with the possible exception of the First Push ... or is it the Middle Push?), I thought it might make sense to bring back this earlier post entitled "Sticking Points."
Why there'll always be an England
[Two facts that all artists and entrepreneurs can agree upon is that sticking points inevitably occur--and at thoroughly predictable times in the process. Part of being a professional is being mentally prepared for these rough patches. I did an interview earlier this year with Gen. Hal G. Moore, who knows a little about life-and-death combat, and he made the point that he always prepared himself and his soldiers mentally for all possible Worst Case Scenarios, so that his troopers "could stay in problem-solving mode and not go into panic mode." Herewith some Sticking Points for us non-rifle-toters to be ready for--so we, too, can stay out of panic mode.]
Have you ever hit the wall? I have. Over and over. On any project–I don’t care how dazzlingly it starts out–inevitably the truck runs into a lake of goo.
Here’s what I’ve learned about sticking points.
First, though they feel like defeats, sticking points are actually good signs. A sticking point means we’ve arrived at a threshold. We’re on the brink of moving to a higher level. That’s the good news. The bad news is that when Resistance gets wind of our impending advancement, it races ahead of us and strews our path with Krazy Glue and thumbtacks.
Second, sticking points are real. There’s a reason why we’re stuck and it’s usually that we’re not good enough yet to get over the particular hump that’s facing us. We need to grow. We need to learn. We’re faced with a real problem and we really have to solve it. (more…)
By Steven Pressfield | Published: August 23, 2010
Day Six: this will be a very short post. I’m giving myself the next two days off—and giving you, dear friends, the same. Yesterday I got through the final sticking point in the draft, and now all is right with the world.
I’ll wrap with this one thought:
From age twenty-two till almost thirty, Resistance had me utterly defeated. The form my malady took was that I couldn’t finish anything. I’d get 99% of the way through and then I’d act out, freak out, bail out. I was powerless. Resistance had me absolutely in its grip. Now, three decades later, I am a thoroughgoing pro who can handle crunch time, if not with total aplomb, then at least by muddling through (or as Albert Finney as Winston Churchill in The Gathering Storm used to say, “Remember our motto: KBO, Keep Buggering On.”)
In other words, if you’re reading this and you’re struggling with a similar Resistance-derived monster, don’t lose heart. Keep slugging. Dragons can be slain. “KBO!”
Thanks for your patience with this week’s unorthodox posts. Two days off for me, then on to the next draft. (more…)