There's a common misconception that artists have a monopoly on creativity...But the very act of making waves - no matter the career - is a creative one. The Chase Jarvis Live Show is an exploration of creativity, self-discovery, entrepreneurship, hard-earned lessons, and so much more. Chase sits down with the world's top creators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders and unpacks actionable, valuable insights to help you live your dreams in career, hobby, and life.
ABOUT THIS EPISODE:
For some of us, it feels like we were born with our dreams because we’ve known what we want to do with our lives for as long as we could remember. For others, our dreams have evolved over time and experience or even caught us by surprise with an unexpected turn of events in life. Regardless of when or where these dreams came from one commonality is that these dreams have created urges in us to follow them.
What does it mean to follow your dreams? It can sound like such a lofty expression with idealistic fantasies that rarely mimic the realities we live in daily life. But if all of us have dreams of some kind how can the most ordinary of us figure out in our busy lives how to follow them?
Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be
The title of Steven Pressfield’s latest book says it quite simply: to follow your dreams you need to put your body where your soul really wants to be. In other words, if you dream of being a writer, you need to start writing. If your dream is to be a photographer, become a photographer’s assistant and learn from a mentor. For some, it can even mean physically moving your home to a place where you will be surrounded by the talent you aspire to develop. Steven’s book is full of wisdom encouraging us to take action towards what our hearts are urging us to do.
Whatever the move is for you specifically, putting yourself in the position of “doing” rather than just dreaming will get you on the path of pursuit to develop the skills you need to reach your goals and dreams. But that pursuit does not come without challenges or obstacles.
Big “R” Resistance
In our conversation and throughout his book Steven talks about the resistance we face when pursuing our passions. He calls this “big ‘R’ Resistance”. When I asked Steven what the hardest part about writing is for him, he said without a doubt that the hardest part for him is sitting down to write. And he said that this goes for almost any venture in creativity. When we are about to take the step of physically doing the thing our hearts want us to do, a voice often enters our minds. That voice tends to be the same regardless of the person or the dream… it’s that voice of self-doubt and negative criticism. It’s the voice that causes us to question what we are doing and if we should be doing it at all.
Unfortunately, many people give in to the resistance that causes them to doubt and end up pursuing other things with their lives. But what they don’t realize is that by not pursuing their dreams, those dreams don’t just go away. Steven talks about the cost that comes with not pursuing your dreams. Unfulfilled dreams tend to move into other channels, most often negative ones, that end up working against you! These negative channels can even lead to self-harm and abusive behaviors when a person lives feeling unfulfilled or disconnected. So what can we do to get past the resistance?
This is where Steven describes the act of going pro. If you think of an amateur and a professional in basically any skill, the biggest difference between them is the level of commitment. The amateur may be excited and passionate initially, but when resistance strikes they often bail and give up. However, when the professional is faced with obstacles and resistance they dig their heels in and work even harder. And here lies the secret to getting past resistance. Work and don’t give up.
Work and Talent
Some people seem to be born with more talent than others and few grow into levels of talent that earn worldwide recognition. But what is common with all real talent is the work it takes to get there. Steven says that he doesn’t consider himself particularly talented, he is just an over-achiever who worked hard. Through many challenges and failures, he kept going until he found success, followed by more challenges. But the key is, that he never gave up and never gave in to the resistance. With any discipline, it takes hard work and repetition to develop the muscle memory to “know” your craft. And there are no shortcuts to that development. It just takes plain old-fashioned practice. You try and you try and you try, until one day you just know.
It is often in the midst of hard work that talent begins to show up, particularly when we pursue areas that feel risky or that we are afraid of. That is often where talent truly comes alive when we find the courage to do the things that are scary to us… and all of a sudden the best stuff we’ve ever produced comes out. It is a journey well worth taking.
The Hero’s Journey
I love that Steven talks about how we all have a hero’s journey. He says it’s the passage we travel before we find our calling…where we can often feel lost or directionless. Steven himself says he had almost completed his first book when he was in his 20s but then blew it up just before it was finished, which caused him to fall financially right out of the bottom of middle-class. Steven spent the next number of years working in oil fields and various jobs feeling kind of lost, but as he looks back now he can see it was where he was meant to be. Why? It was this journey Steven was on that gave him the experiences he needed to become the writer he is today. It was through these experiences that Steven discovered that what he really wanted to be was a writer, regardless of if he would ever find any success with it.
The hero’s journey is one each of us must embark on even though not everyone will see it through. Many people will choose a safer path or one that is more widely accepted and influenced by society. But they will pay for it in the end because a dream unfulfilled is still a dream. And that dream must go somewhere.
What does your hero’s journey look like? Have you found your calling or did you abandon the passage long ago to pursue a different path? Regardless of where you are today, it is never too late to rekindle old dreams or passions and make the decision to put your body where your soul really wants to be. It will take courage to change your course if you’ve been on a different road for a long time, but it is a decision you will never regret as it’s the place you will feel most alive… when you are living out your calling. So keep going and when the big “R” Resistance comes, dig your heels in and work harder!
My time spent with Steven Pressfield was full of wisdom found in many of his books, so hope you enjoy the show and make sure to check out his latest writing: Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be.