Did you know that Hitler wanted to be an artist?
Neither did I, but it’s true. At the age of 18, he took his entire inheritance and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the academy of fine arts and later the school of architecture. Yet I have never seen a single painting of his.
What happened to transform this aspiring artist into the monster that we remember him to be?
According to Steven Pressfield the author of The War of Art, the force that stood between Hitler and his canvas is the same one that stands between each Master and their trade. It was easier for this man to start WW2 then it was for him to fulfill his passion and dreams.
That’s a pretty intimidating thought. Fortunately, though you don’t have to fall to the same fate. You can overcome this obstacle and become the Master of your Trade.
This force that stands between you and your dreams is an eary beast known as Resistance. You may not know him by this name but you have undoubtedly met him face to face on nearly a daily basis. Each time you consider rising above your lifestyle of going through the motions, there seems to be a wall standing in your way, or a ball and chain around your leg. These are the tools Resistance uses to keep you from reaching your greatest potential.
Resistance will say or do anything to keep you from doing your work. A rule of thumb is that the more important a call or action is to your self-improvement, the more Resistance you will feel toward pursuing it. Something is only as valuable as the effort it takes to fight for it.
This is a battle that must be fought on a daily basis and requires perseverance anew each morning.
The Forms of Resistance
This form of Resistance seeks to set your mind at ease, allowing you to rest peacefully in your chair as the building around you burns to the ground. This allusion of time never coming to an end convenience the Master that their trade will always be there, and thus there is no urgency.
The truth is though, there is no such thing as tomorrow. There is only today, this moment, right now.
Why invest time and effort into your trade when you can achieve instant satisfaction in so many other areas of life. This is the lie whispered into the ear of a Master as they consider dedicating their lives to their trade.
In actuality though, immediate satisfaction brings short term enjoyment, while patients and self-control bring about life-impacting results and lasting joy.
Self-Petty/ the Victim Syndrome
Excuses are one of the most deadly weapons used by Resistance. These reasons as to why you as the Master will never be able to rise above your life situation, disabilities, and wrongs inflicted upon you, will keep you trapped in your victim-hood. Pitiful people never improve their lives or change the lives of others.
We, we, we. Me, me, me. I, I, I. Focusing on ourselves only fixes us on what we think we deserve and keeps us from noticing what we can become and our ability to impacting this world.
Being the Master of Your Trade
“The truly free person is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery.”
The most frightening thing about Resistance is that this beast is actually a form of ourselves. It is a combination of our greatest weaknesses, flaws, and lack of personal mastery.
There are three versions of yourself living inside your body. First, there’s the you at this moment, looking at your life and evaluating what you will do and who you will become. Then there is the lesser version of yourself, the Resistance monster, dragging you down to a seemingly easier lifestyle with no responsibilities or accountability. Finally, there is the greater version of yourself, the Master of your trade, drawing you on toward the calling and purpose for your existence.
The you at this moment must decide which force to follow. Will you become the Master of your Trade or will you allow Resistance to waste your life and all you could have become?
“The more Resistance you experience, the more impotent your unmanifested art/ project/ enterprise is to you – and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.”