The other day I decided to re-read a book I picked up a few years ago. It’s called “Do the Work”, written by Steven Pressfield with a forward by Seth Godin. It’s a short book designed to coach the reader through an important undertaking by helping them break through resistance. Of all the endeavors that might challenge us and generate resistance, starting and growing a business has to be one of the most exacting. So here is a small taste of “Do the Work”.
At the beginning of the book, right after the forward on the left-hand page, are two sentences:
“On the field of the Self stand a knight and a dragon.
You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.”
Pressfield doesn’t pull any punches. He makes it clear that dragon slaying knights don’t have it easy, because resistance is both powerful and insidious and it has many allies. In the middle of the book, if you decide to read it, you’ll find yourself in The Belly of the Beast, where Pressfield first welcomes you to Hell, and then shares the following seven Principles (with an explanation and some examples, of course, or it would be a blog post instead of a book.)
1. There is an enemy.
2. The enemy is implacable.
3. The enemy is inside you.
4. The enemy is inside you, but it is not you.
5. The “real you” must duel the “resistance you”
6. Resistance comes second. It is the shadow cast by passion.
7. The opposite of resistance is assistance. No one does it alone.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. There will be many challenges along the way and at times you will despair. At the end of the day, the dragon will ask only two questions of you—that only you can answer.
· How bad do you want it?
· Why do you want it?
The right answers multiply your power in the battle against your internal dragon. The wrong answers…well…you’ll never get past the first level.
The meaning I took from this book the first time I read it is this; if your goal is important and powered by passion, it will awaken the dragon within. You will face resistance and the enemy is real. But knowing the enemy exists is half the battle. The rest of the battle comes from committing fully to achieving your goal (How bad do you want it?) and by embracing a “why” that energizes you and fills you with purpose (Why do you want it?).
The reason I decided to read the book again was the message Pressfield wrote in the back cover of the dust jacket which I noticed as I moved some books around on my shelf. Another two simple sentences that reminded me where the dragon lives—reminded me it was time to sharpen my sword.
“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It is only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate”