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Amateur vs. Professional



The Whole Person Blog: Week Six, Day Six, Part 1/2 - Amateur vs. Professional

Writings inspired by Steven Pressfield: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art and Self Sabotage here

Overcoming Resistance and Why Talent Doesn't Matter here

Lessons from the Original Spartans here

Friday, February 7th, 2020


Pressfield writes:


"Aspiring artists defeated by Resistance share one trait, they all think like amateurs. They have not yet turned pro. The moment an artist turns pro is as epochal as the birth of his first child. I can state absolutely that the term of my life can be divided into two parts: before turning pro, and after. To be clear, when I say professional, I mean Professional as an ideal. Consider the differences between amateurs and professionals.


Amateur Professional

Plays for fun Plays for keeps

It's her avocation It's her vocation

Plays part-time Plays full-time

Weekend warrior Committed 7 days/week

Awaits inspiration Dedicates his life


Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. "I write only when inspiration strikes," he replied. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp." That's a pro."


When I first read this, I was stoked to start acting like a pro. I started showing up for myself in entirely new ways for about three and a half days before I found myself falling back into familiar patterns of protective behavior. That's because we always default back to who we think we are, and why wouldn't we. It feels safe, it's rather predictable, and we love the comfort and control related to certainty. An amateur is a perfect reflection of someone who has a limited identity, unable to see themselves in a positive light, while a professional is an accurate projection of someone who has an unlimited identity, producing a positive self-image. Remember this sticky statement: Reality reflects identity. Until there is a foundational shift from a negative to positive self-identification, Resistance remains, regardless of how much you want to be a pro.


"We either step forward into growth or back into safety." Abraham Maslow


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