87 Steven Pressfield Quotes [ The War of Art ]

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Steven Pressfield’s quotes are always inspiring, and his latest book, The War of Art, is no exception. In it, he talks about the creative process and how difficult it can be to overcome resistance and get started. But as Pressfield says, “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”

This is an important message for all artists, whether they’re just starting out or have been working for years. It’s easy to get discouraged and think that your actions aren’t good enough. But as Steven Pressfield says, the only thing that matters is you’re working hard and putting in the effort. So don’t give up – keep creating, and eventually, you’ll see results!


Motivational Steven Pressfield Quotes

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a book about art and creativity. In it, Pressfield quotes various artists and creative people about their views on art and creativity.

  • “When we turn pro we stop running from our fears. We turn around and face them.”
  • “It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.”
  • “Don’t wait for someone else to validate you. Validate yourself.”
  • “Those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.”
  • “Don’t cheat the world of your contribution. Give it what you’ve got.”
  • “Be too dumb to quit and too stubborn to back off.”
  • “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie.”
  • “You don’t need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind.”
  • “To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be.”
  • “Thr principle of organization is built into nature. Chaos itself is self-organizing. Out of primordial disorder, stars find their orbit; rivers make their way to the sea.”
  • “We will have to choose between the life we want for our future and the life we have left behind.”
  • “The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had had the guts.”
  • “When we sit down to work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”
  • “It’s better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.”
  • “Resistance by definition is self-sabotage.”
  • “The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
  • “Start before you’re ready.”
  • “Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
  • “I wrote in the War of Art that I could divide my life neatly into two parts: before turning pro and after. After is better.”
  • “The artist must be like that Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey. Because this is war, baby. And war is hell.”
  • “The athlete knows the day will never come when he wakes up pain-free. He has to play hurt.”
  • “Slay that dragon once, and he will never have power over you again.”
  • “As resistance works to keep us from becoming who we were born to be, equal and opposite powers are counterpoised against it. These are our allies and angels.”
  • “We show up. We do our best. Good things happen.”
  • “What finally convinced me to go ahead was simply that I was so unhappy not going ahead.”
  • “The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.”
  • “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.”
  • “To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls.”
  • “The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work.”
  • “Every sun casts a shadow, and genius’s shadow is Resistance.”
  • “We are all warriors. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity, to justify our existence on the planet and to understand, if only within our own hearts, who we are and what we believe in.”
  • “The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.”
  • “When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion.”
  • “The professional conducts his business in the real world. Adversity, injustice, bad hops and rotten calls, even good breaks and lucky bounces all comprise the ground over which the campaign must be waged. The field is level, the professional understands, only in heaven.”
  • “Don’t prepare, do. Don’t let Resistance sucker you into wasting months on background, foundation, planning. All that can come later.”
  • “The amateur tweets. The pro works.”
  • “Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.”
  • “When we see others beginning to live their authentic selves, it drives us crazy if we have not lived out our own.”
  • “The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
  • “Stay stupid. Follow your unconventional crazy heart.”
  • “Tomorrow morning the critic will be gone, but the writer will still be there facing the blank page. Nothing matters but that he keep working.”
  • “The Spartans say that any army may win while it still has legs under it; the real test comes when all strength is fled and the men must produce victory on will alone.”
  • “On the artist’s journey we are redefining and reconfiguring ourselves and our lives.”
  • “The professional does not wait for inspiration; he acts in anticipation of it.”
  • “Art is a war – between ourselves and the forces of self-sabotage that would stop us from doing our work. The artist is a warrior.”
  • “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
  • “Start before you’re ready. Good things happen when we start before we’re ready.”
  • “Fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”
  • “Don’t prepare. Begin. Our enemy is not lack of preparation. The enemy is resistance, our chattering brain producing excuses. Start before you are ready.”
  • “Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”
  • “Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
  • “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
  • “The essence of professionalism is the focus upon the work and its demands, while we are doing it, to the exclusion of all else.”
  • “Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.”
  • “There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”
  • “A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.”
  • “Resistance is greatest just before the finish line.”
  • “The only intercourse possible between the knight and the dragon is battle.”
  • “The highest treason a crab can commit is to make a leap for the rim of the bucket.”
  • “You’ve got the watches,” say the Taliban, “but we’ve got the time.”
  • “I’m superstitious. I keep mum while I’m working on something.”
  • “If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.”
  • “We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny. We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become. We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it.”
  • “Every artist has to face his own demons and evolve his own method of working.”
  • “Many pedestrians have been maimed or killed at the intersection of Resistance and Commerce.”
  • “To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution.”
  • “Seeking support from friends and and family is like having people gathered around at your deathbed. It’s nice, but when the ship sails, all they can do is stand on the dock waving goodbye.”
  • “Bhagavad-Gita tells us we have a right only to our labor, not to the fruits of our labor.”
  • “Defeating Resistance is like giving birth. It seems absolutely impossible until you remember that women have been pulling it off successfully, with support and without, for fifty million years.”
  • “Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. resistance is the enemy within.”
  • “On the field of The Self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.”
  • “Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery.”
  • “Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”
  • “Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.”
  • “Contempt for failure is our cardinal virtue.”
  • “No matter how great a writer, artist, or entrepreneur, he is a mortal, he is fallible. He is not proof against Resistance. He will drop the ball; he will crash. That’s why they call it rewriting.”
  • “The artist cannot look to others to validate his efforts or his calling. If you don’t believe me, ask Van Gogh, who produced masterpiece after masterpiece and never found a buyer in his whole life.”
  • “The professional, though he accepts money, does his work out of love. He has to love it. Otherwise he wouldn’t devote his life to it of his own free will.”
  • “The working artist will not tolerate trouble in her life because she knows trouble prevents her from doing her work. The working artist banishes from her world all sources of trouble. She harnesses the urge for trouble and transforms it in her work.”
  • “Writers think in metaphors. Editors work in metaphors. A great reader reads in metaphors.”
  • “Do you love your idea? Does it feel right on instinct? Are you willing to bleed for it?”
  • “There is an enemy. There is an intelligent, active, malign force working against us. Step one is to recognize this. This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours.”
  • “He who whets his steel, whets his courage.”
  • “Evolution has programmed us to feel rejection in our guts. This is how the tribe inforced obedience, by wielding the threat of expulsion. Fear of rejection isn’t just psychological; it’s biological. It’s in our cells.”
  • “Research can become Resistance. We want to work, not prepare to work.”
  • “You are a writer when you tell yourself you are. No one else’s opinion matters. Screw them. You are when you say you are.”
  • “We cannot let external criticism, even if it’s true, fortify our internal foe. That foe is strong enough already.”


If you want to be a writer, you first need to develop a thick skin. This is something that Steven Pressfield quotes very often. He is an accomplished author and knows a thing or two about what it takes to make it in this business. According to Pressfield, writers’ most significant obstacle is their own resistance.

To overcome this, you need to take rejection and criticism in stride. It’s not easy, but if you can learn to do this, half the battle is already won. Once you’ve developed tough skin, the next thing Pressfield says you need to do is to sit down and write.

It doesn’t matter what it is. Just start writing something. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it, and eventually, you’ll start producing work you’re proud of. So if you’re feeling discouraged or like giving up, just remember what Steven Pressfield says and keep going.

Hope you enjoyed these Famous Quotes, Share these HappyLives360 Quotes with your friends and family.