Pressfield on the Amateur Qualities, Part 3

In his book, Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield teaches us how to navigate the passage from amateur life to professional practice.

These are my takeaways from reading the book.

The amateur lives for the future.

We place much emphasis on getting what we want, as soon as possible and as cheaply as possible. We take on debts to finance our materials needs and confuse the debt as an investment. We look to getting what we want today without doing the hard work or asking the hard questions of why we want something. The amateur love to get what he wants today without paying anything right now.

The amateur lives in the past.

The amateur either looks forward to a hopeful future or spend much time looking backward. The amateur likes to relive the past glory and hope things will go back to the way they were. The past was gone, but the amateur still carries the baggage of the past that is no longer relevant today. By living in the past or the future, the amateur avoids doing the hard work that is required in the present.

The amateur will be ready tomorrow.

The amateur has a million plans, and they all start tomorrow. The professional may have only one plan, but she is busy working that plan right now.

The amateur gives his power away to others.

The amateur follows a guru or a mentor. They consider themselves a disciple of the master, and they act only with the master’s permission and blessing. When we wait for the master telling us what to do, we gave away the power to act on our own behalf. When we give away our power and wait to be told, we become a compliant cog, and we give ourselves the excuse we need to hide from the real, hard work.

The amateur is asleep.

The force that can save the amateur is awareness, particularly self-awareness. But to act upon this self-awareness would mean we must define ourselves and how we differentiate from others. When we take a stand to define ourselves, we open ourselves up to the judgment, criticism, and rejection of others. The amateur avoids self-definition and the responsibilities that come with it. They choose to hide by acting as an undifferentiated individual in the herd.