Travis G. Cashion


Where is the Fear?

July 18, 2019

This post is inspired by part one of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

The major theme in this book is what Pressfield calls the Resistance. The Resistance is the enemy within ourselves that opposes all of our most important creative ambitions. It manifests itself in the form of rationalization, distraction (such as vices like alcohol, sex, drugs, etc.), and especially fear. Pressfield even posits that we can treat our fear like a compass to guide us toward the creative work that is most important to us: the higher and more intense the fear, the more likely it is that what causes the fear is exactly what we need to pursue and make the main target for our energetic focus.

Not only do I love how well Pressfield writes, but I believe this concept is genius. It resonates with me because of all the times I know I let the Resistance get in the way of my own pursuits, all the habits I have that are the Resistance's way of trying to keep me moored to my current state.

The encouraging conclusion I have drawn from reading just part one of The War of Art is that I am very fearful. I am fearful of failing, of looking like a fool, of not living up to expectations, etc. This is encouraging because the presence of fear indicates the presence of an organic, ambitious drive rooted in my subconscious, creative self. Perhaps I have been looking at fear the wrong way all along. Instead of moving in the opposite direction away from fear, maybe I should turn my focus 180 degrees in the opposite direction, and learn to run toward fear and push myself to overcome it. Easier said than done, I know. But Pressfield's piece gives me validation that the spoils of the war against the Resistance are well worth the battle.

All this inspires me to consider a new MIQ: Where is the fear, and how do I confront it head-on?