By Steven Pressfield | Published: May 15, 2013
What is the Macro Change that’s going on in the world today? As fish never realize they’re swimming in water, is there something happening all around us that’s so apparent that we can’t see it?
Shaq of Orlando, L.A., Miami, Phoenix, Cleveland, Boston. We're all free agents now.
I think there is, and here’s how I’d define it:
We—meaning anybody now living in the globalized/digital/satellite-linked/worldwide-web world—are faced with the challenge and obligation to make a primal shift in consciousness. This shift is as cosmic, I believe, as the transition from illiteracy to literacy in the Gutenberg era, from farm to factory in the days of Wordsworth and Coleridge, and all the post-Industrial Age changeovers since.
I’m not talking about external changes. Those are obvious. What’s perilous and critical and what we all need to become conscious of is the stuff inside. How have we had to change our minds and our ways of thinking about the world and about ourselves?
Shawn has a concept he calls 3PV. Third Party Validation. What he means is the mind-set in which one’s sense of emotional security and self-worth is dependent upon the opinions of others. In other words, we don’t go forward with any action unless we think other people will approve.
Seth Godin talks about this a lot too. Seth decries the internal paralysis that stops people from acting until they have been “picked,” i.e. taken note of by Higher Authority and given permission to go forward.
“Pick” yourself, Seth urges. Give yourself permission to act. Don’t wait for some Third Party to tell you it’s okay or to provide a structure of incentive, punishment, and reward.
There’s a key insight here into the Macro Change we’re all going through.
We’re all having to adopt the Free-Agent mentality. (more…)
By Steven Pressfield | Published: May 8, 2013
[The blog is on vacation this week. Herewith an "encore presentation" of a fave from the past:]
I never talk about a project I’m working on. It’s bad luck. But something happened a few nights ago that made me think I should make an exception, both for the sake of my own thinking and for sharing an insight or two. So I’ll keep depiction of the project vague but the wisdom as clear as I can make it.
Never listen to what they tell you in rooms like this
I was at a professional event with a friend who, each time he introduced me to a new acquaintance, described and made a pitch for the project I’m working on. (Don’t ask why.) He did this a number of times despite my excruciating embarrassment.
Bottom line: everyone he told the idea to went catatonic with boredom. Their eyes glazed over. They began edging toward the exit. Though they were too polite to say anything overtly negative, it was clear that they regarded me and my enterprise the way one might a Comic-Con trekkie describing his plans for solar self-levitation or, perhaps, Newt Gingrich flogging tickets for his colony on the moon.
I went home pretty depressed.
The people at the event were by no means imagination-challenged “suits.” They were bold, savvy artists and entrepreneurs. Almost every one had multiple success stories across all spectrums of art, tech, and business.
And their reaction to my project was universal snooze-o-rama.
I thought about it and thought about it and I came to a conclusion:
They’re wrong. (more…)
By Steven Pressfield | Published: May 1, 2013
Not long ago I took a wilderness trek with an old friend who had been the commander of a Recon company in the army. We were out in the boonies for five days, with no check-ins with civilization. I had never done this kind of thing before and I noticed two things:
It ain't so easy, navigating in the boonies
One, my friend was completely confident of our whereabouts at all times.
Two, we were lost at least half the time.
A phrase kept re-appearing in my friend’s conversation: “In the end, we’ll succeed.”
At first I didn’t pick up on this theme, but after the twentieth time or so, I started saying it myself. It was a great mantra, and I think it applies equally well to such diverse enterprises as writing a novel or starting a business or undertaking any long-term, high-aspiration project.
What is a “Recon commander” anyway? As my friend explained it, recon teams or platoons (among many other assignments) guide larger formations across unfamiliar territory. Their job is to go into the unknown and make it known to those who follow. My friend’s vintage is the era before the invention of the GPS or other satellite-based navigational technology. He’s old school. A map. A compass. The sun.
I know from unimpeachable history that my friend is a superb land navigator. But, trust me, when you’re out in the deep boonies with no highways or man-made landmarks within miles, everything starts looking like everything else. My friend taught me about “blind maps”—a map with no place names on it, just topographical features. It’s amazing how hard it is to scan the horizon and say, “Ah, that peak over there is this peak on the map.”