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Caring is the root of courage


“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’s be no Resistance.” Steven Pressfield: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

I have no idea how many times I have read The War of Art, or listened to it as a book-on-tape. What Pressfield calls Resistance is a force of nature, like cancer or great white sharks. He capitalizes the word, the way a historian would capitalize Black Plague or Great Depression. We all face resistance, and it all has one and only one purpose: to prevent you from taking risks, from being creative, from becoming your authentic best self.

One of the greatest blessings of having your world turned upside down is that it can be enormously liberating. You can finally give yourself permission to ask life-changing questions like the one I posed earlier: “what would you do if every job paid the same and had the same social status?”

But as soon as you answer that question and begin to work toward that dream, Resistance will rear its hideous head. The bigger and more wonderful the dream, the greater the Resistance. It is often manifested as fear. The fear won’t go away. In fact, as you become more serious in your pursuit of the dream, Resistance will become more insistent that you quit and go back to doing something that feels more safe and comfortable.

When this happens, remember what Pressfield said: “You’re scared because you care.” Then remind yourself that caring is the root of courage.

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