A man holding a sign that says "Go Away, I'm Reading."

The War of Reading

In 2002, Steven Pressfield taught us about resistance in his book, The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle. If you haven’t read it, here’s the main idea: whenever you’re about to do important work, there’s a palpable feeling of resistance every time you get started.

If you’re an author, every morning’s writing session is hard to begin because you feel the Resistance. If you’re an architect, getting yourself to sit down at the drafting table can be hard to do. Once you’re there, no problem. It’s getting started that’s difficult.

They have the desire to start, but they allow little nagging things to get in the way. “I just need to clear my email first, so that I can focus,” the architect might say. “I need to do more research before I write today,” the author might say. They have the best of intentions to work, they just never do.

As a reader, you want to be in the books. But have you ever felt this Resistance before opening the book? You have the best intention to study, but you can’t get your backside into the chair. I feel the same, almost every day. Sometimes, it takes me 30 to 60 minutes to finally sit down and open the book. How much reading could I have accomplished in that time?

My goal is to show that this feeling is normal. I feel it, you feel it, and Michelangelo felt it before climbing up the scaffolding to paint the Sistine Chapel. To help battle this feeling, I’ve created a reading challenge called The 30-Day Focused Reader. Check it out if you would like to get 60 minutes of quality reading each day.

As always, read slowly – take notes – apply the ideas.


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