Second Realm

Eric P. Rhodes, Artist


Embracing Authenticity

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My Takeaways from Steven Pressfield’s ‘Turning Pro’

Steven Pressfield’s “Turning Pro” [1] was more than just a book; it was a transformative reading. This book isn’t just about professional success; it’s a manifesto for living authentically. As an artist and lifelong learner, I found Pressfield’s insights incredibly relevant [2].

Here are my three key takeaways:

The Battle Between Ego and Self

Pressfield’s discussion of the ego versus the Self resonated deeply with me. He suggests that our greatest internal struggle is between these two forces. The ego, often loud and demanding, seeks immediate gratification and recognition, while the Self is our true essence, seeking fulfillment and purpose.

In my life, this battle manifested in various ways. My pursuit of a careers in marketing, design, and tech; completing my bachelors degree; my journey as an artist; and my exploration into different artistic mediums – all these paths were influenced by this internal conflict. The ego pushed me toward external validations, like money, the halo effect, certificates, degrees and a hunger for creative recognition. In contrast, my Self yearned for authentic expression and meaningful connection through art.

This led me to a crucial realization: the importance of aligning my actions with my true Self. It meant recognizing when the ego was steering my decisions and gently redirecting my focus towards what genuinely resonated with my inner values and passions.Subscribe

Overcoming Resistance as a Path to Authenticity

“Turning Pro” dives into the concept of resistance – a force that prevents us from doing our work and living our truest lives. For me, resistance manifested as fear, procrastination, and self-doubt, especially in my artistic endeavors.

Pressfield’s solution? Turning pro. This doesn’t simply mean engaging in a profession; it’s about adopting a professional mindset. Turning pro is about commitment, consistency, and dedication to one’s craft and self. It involves showing up every day, regardless of the circumstances, and doing the work.

Applying this principle, I began to approach my art with a newfound seriousness and dedication. Whether it was engaging in various career paths, creating digital paintings, or exploring new art forms, I committed to showing up and putting in the effort. This shift in attitude helped me overcome resistance, allowing me to produce more authentic and resonant work.

Living a Life of Purpose and Fulfillment

Finally, “Turning Pro” underscored the significance of living a life of purpose. Pressfield posits that turning pro is about more than just professional success; it’s about finding and fulfilling one’s true calling.

For me, this calling has always been art. My journey through various careers and artistic explorations was a search for purpose. Pressfield’s book was a reminder that true fulfillment comes from pursuing what genuinely matters to me.

This realization brought clarity to my goals and aspirations. I recognized that my pursuit of money, prestige, education, and recognition, wasn’t just about acquiring knowledge; it was about understanding the human condition, which in turn enriched my art. My exploration of different art forms – digital art, watercolor, and new technology – wasn’t just about experimentation; it was about finding diverse ways to express my inner world.

Steven Pressfield’s “Turning Pro” was a mirror reflecting my inner struggles and aspirations. It challenged me to confront my ego, overcome resistance, and pursue a life of purpose and authenticity. As I continue my journey as an artist and a lifelong learner, these lessons remain my guiding lights, helping me navigate the complex landscape of life and art.Subscribe

Notes:

  1. https://www.amazon.com/Turning-Pro-Steven-Pressfield-audiobook/dp/B07FWS2FHP
  2. I’ve read this book several times over the years, but this year it seemed to have a more profound effect than all the others.