Steven Pressfield is one of these once-in-a-lifetime people who comes along and speaks truth to the world. His writing speaks to a part of your soul that has never been spoken to before.
If there’s someone who understands you and me— the dreamers, people with goals bigger than their eyes, people who know there’s more inside of them but just haven’t been able to get it out into the world— it’s Steven Pressfield.
His writing is clear and it’s real. It shines light on the real struggle that is your journey to who and what you are meant to be.
If you’re not familiar with his work, Steve is the mind behind the books “Gates of Fire” and “The Legend of Bagger Vance”— the latter having been made into a movie with Matt Damon, Will Smith, and Charlize Theron. He’s also written landmark personal development books like “The War of Art” and “Turning Pro.”
In this episode, we’re talking with Steve about his new book, “Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be” and how magic happens when you commit unconditionally to your dream.
This may be his third time on the Success Through Failure podcast, but Steve has so much more wisdom to share to you, so don’t miss it!
If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode or if you hear something that you like but don’t have time to write it down, be sure to grab your free copy of the Action Plan from this episode— as well as get access to action plans from EVERY episode— at JimHarshawJr.com/Action.
[00:00] Steven Pressfield: You know, at the end of the day, you have to say to yourself, This was a great day, Jim. You know, maybe you screwed up a little bit here, but you showed up. You know, you did your work. You put in all you could. God bless you at seven days in a row. You've done that, and keep going for tomorrow.
[00:20] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Welcome to another episode of Success Through Failure. This is your host, Jim Harshaw, Jr. and today I’m bringing you, Steven. Pressfield. Steve is one of these once-in-a-lifetime people who comes along and just speaks truth to the world. Like his writing speaks to a part of your soul that has never been spoken to before, at least not from someone who has walked through the darkness of chasing after a dream and failing and stumbling, and dealing with setback after setback, after setback, like.
[00:52] Steve understands people like you and me. Dreamers, like people with goals that are bigger than their eyes. People who know that there's more inside of them, but they just haven't yet been able to tap into that and really fully bring it out into the world. You know, his writing is clear and it's real, and it's revealing of the trials.
[01:11] He's been through personally and professionally. He was a writer decades before his writing was ever known before he published his first novel. He worked as a truck driver and as a migrant fruit picker, and he worked various construction jobs and his writing like shines a light on the real struggle.
[01:29] That is this journey, your journey and my journey to becoming who and in what were meant to. So if you're not familiar with his work, he's written novels, a bunch of novels, like “Gates of Fire” is a popular one. “The Legend of Bagger Vance” was another one. That one was made into a movie Matt Damon was in, and Will Smith, Charlize Theron. He's also written personal development books like “The War of Art,” which is really popular. “Turning Pros” is another one. I've had Steve on twice before. Those were episodes 256 and 290. This time we're talking about his new book titled, “Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants To Be.” This is a book about commitment, and he talked about this with Oprah on her show years ago, and it's something that's just really stuck with him and something that he talks about often.
[02:17] And you know, this is a book about, like I said, commitment. You know, despite where you're starting from, despite what you've done in the past, despite what you've not done in the past, there's a dozen nuggets of wisdom you're gonna get out of this. So if you follow any one of those, if you just take one of these, It can change your entire life, so please give this episode a share.
[02:38] If you see it on social media, give it a retweet. Even if you give it a like or a comment. That helps. If you're on my email list, forward the email to a friend. Another way of sharing this is to take a screenshot on your phone and post it on Instagram or Twitter and tag me in it. I'd love to see those.
[02:54] Gives me a chance to see who's listening, get a chance to interact with you as well. And don't forget, you can listen to success through Failure on your Smart Player. Just tell Siri or Alexa to play the Success Through Failure podcast. All right, let's get into it. My latest interview with the amazing Steven Pressfield.
[03:12] What's the big idea behind your new book, “Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants To Be”?
[03:18] Steven Pressfield: My previous books like “The War of Art” and “Do The Work,” and “Turning Pro” are really kind of saying the same thing and put your ass where your heart wants to be. It's sort of saying the same things like it's saying do the work.
[03:31] Turn pro. Just do it. To quote the Nike thing, you know, I've had this phrase rattling around in my head, Put your ass where your heart wants to be. For like 10 years. In fact, I was on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday like about eight or nine years ago, and I, a friend of mine just said, Watch it again cuz you use this phrase then it sounds like a bumper sticker.
[03:52] Put your ass where your heart wants to be. You know, it sounds like something flipping superficial cuz it's got the word ass in it, but truly it's a. Phrase because what? What it really means when you say put your ass, we're talking about your material self, your physical self, your ego, that thing that's in this world, put it where your heart wants to be, where your soul is, you know where your self is, where your calling is.
[04:17] People ask me a lot of times, you know, young writers and stuff, How do I get started? You know, how do I get into something? My answer is, you know, don't read any books about anything. Don't take any classes. If you wanna be a writer, sit down in front of this thing and start doing it. You know, if you want to be a dancer, go to class and learn how to do it.
[04:38] So, in other words, put your ass where your dream can happen. And I just think it's a great way of getting over. Self-sabotage and resistance with the capital are all the things that stop you from doing what you wanna do. I mean, before we started, we were just talking about. The exercise, you know, the fitness program that you're on, F three that you do where you guys go and work out in various parks, That's exactly what that is, right?
[05:02] Put your ass in that park with the other guys that are doing the workout, and that's how you get fit. Simple as that. Yeah, you
[05:11] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: show up, you know, like they say, showing up 90% of it. You know, I just interviewed, uh, Rudy, Rudy Rudiger from the movie Rudy, you know, and I re-watched the movie and then I watched his documentary and, you know, what did he do?
[05:26] He moved from his hometown to South Bend. I mean, he went there, didn't know how to get into Notre Dame, didn't know what he was gonna do, just tried to apply. He just showed. and that's when things really began to happen. He couldn't have done that from his hometown. Like the movie doesn't happen, the story doesn't happen.
[05:45] He doesn't get into Notre Dame, he doesn't play football for Notre Dame if he doesn't put his ass where his heart wants to be. So that's a perfect example. And for the listener, you can just go back a few episodes and listened to that interview with Rudy. But that commitment, Steve, it's scary. It's scary.
[05:59] Like committing to the book or starting the business or the career change or whatever it is.
[06:07] Steven Pressfield: It's so scary though, right? I mean, it is. I mean, there's a chapter in the book or even a book in the book, I think it's called Ass Equals Commitment, and that's sort of what that means, you know, because the book is really about commitment.
[06:21] That's really what it's about. And the point is that it's easy to say the word commit or to say you're gonna do it, or to sort of halfway to it, or half-assed to it, but a true commitment. Like, for instance, I would put it on the level of somebody that's an alcoholic who says, Okay, I'm going to aa, I'm stopping drinking.
[06:40] You know, that's a commitment. That's when your ass is really on the line. It's never easy when you commit. You put yourself at risk, at risk of failure. It's like your podcast is about, you know, failure leading to success. Right? And you and I or whoever's listing, and when we're afraid to fail, We don't overcome that, that fear, then we don't commit.
[07:02] And when we don't commit, magic doesn't happen. But on the other hand, when we do commit, you know, someone who says, Okay, that's my last drink I'm ever gonna have. I'm never doing that again. Their life changes. They may have to keep it up one day at a time, forever and forever, but their life changes.
[07:18] There's a magic to committing, to putting your ass where your heart wants to. I wanna put
[07:24] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: this idea of this commitment in this sphere, this doing this large scary thing into some contexts, into maybe a framework of the hero's journey. So for the listener who's not familiar with that, Steve, can you talk just briefly about like what is the hero's journey and.
[07:42] The heroes need to make a commitment.
[07:44] Steven Pressfield: I mean, a hero's journey is sort of the basis, the skeleton under every myth or every legend, every book, every movie, you know, Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, Rocky Pick, Anyone. There's always a hero's journey, and it always starts. With the hero in the ordinary world, like Luke Skywalker working on the evaporator farm, you know, on the planet tattooing right?
[08:07] And something comes along, a call to adventure or something like that. In, in Luke's case, it's like when he finds R2D2 and the little holographic message comes from Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope. Right? And at that point, Luke makes a commitment. He goes to see Obi won Kenobi, who he had never even thought about before.
[08:30] And what's interesting in terms of what your ass, where your heart wants to be, is that in any movie or in any myth, when the hero makes that commitment, when Rocky agrees he's gonna fight the champ. Something changes, something profound, changes his minute, and what really happens is he goes from being, or she goes from being a kind of passive observer of their own life, someone that's sort of drifting down the stream to a hero.
[08:58] To someone that has taken control, or at least has launched themselves into the unknown. And that's what happens to us when we say, Oh, I'm gonna write a book, I'm gonna start a podcast. I'm gonna, you know, redo a park and make it into a, an athletic whatever. Something changes. It's not nothing. It's something real in the universe itself changes.
[09:22] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And I love for the listener. I want you to hear that and understand that and see yourself as the hero. In your own journey. It's hard. Every movie that we see, every story, like it's hard, it's not glamorous and, and it's scary and there's fear and there's doubt in those heroes, and you're gonna go through the same thing.
[09:40] Your hero's journey is not gonna be riding high the whole time.
[09:44] Steven Pressfield: In fact, it's the opposite, right? As soon as you commit to whatever that adventure is, obstacles start appearing, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. And the whole rest of the journey, like any book or any movie, is a sequential overcoming of those obstacles.
[10:00] So it is scary and you can fail.
[10:04] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Quick interruption. Hey, if you like what you're hearing, be sure to get the notes, quotes, and links in the action plan from this episode. Just go to jim harshel jr.com/action. That's JimHarshawJr.com/action to get your free copy of the action plan. Now, back to the show.
[10:22] Like once you make this commitment, failures are still going to happen. Obstacles are still gonna be there, adversity is still gonna happen, but this commitment is almost like it's not, I don't know if antidote is the right word. It is something that will help you overcome those failures because you still made the commitment, like I failed trying to go through the wall now I still made the commitment, so I'm gonna try and go around the wall.
[10:43] Well, that failed too, but I still made the commitment, so now I'm gonna try and go under the wall.
[10:48] Steven Pressfield: Yes, that's any hero's journey. It's any commitment that we make. Like if we're a weekend jogger and we say, Okay, I'm gonna run a marathon. I'm signing up, you know, for the St. Louis Marathon of the whatever it is, you know, nine months from now, now we're on a hero's journey.
[11:04] We've made a commitment. Maybe we tell our friends, whatever. Even in our, just in our own mind, we've made a commitment, but that doesn't mean that everything is easy. In fact, now it's gonna become harder and harder and harder, right? We've never run more than three miles before. Now we start to do it. Now we've get plantar fasciitis or something else happens, and so it's a series of obstacles, just natural.
[11:26] That's just the way life kind of works. A certain magic happens when we make that commitment. And the universe, I know it sounds like an airy-fairy thing, but it's not. The universe aligns with us in its own way, and we do get a certain tailwind. There are obstacles, but there also is a tailwind pushing us behind it.
[11:47] It's a law of the universe in some crazy way, even though it sounds airy. .
[11:53] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah. It's the quote, The teacher will appear when the student is ready. And that's true. And I also believe at the level of internally, it goes from hard work to inspired action. It's not just digging the ditch. It's, you know, an inspiring thing.
[12:07] You're digging the mode around your castle, or you're not just laying bricks and building a wall, you're building a cathedral. Right. That analogy, there's an internal shift. And Steve, you made your commitment. Let's talk about the specific commitment of writing Gates of Fire. You have an 800-page manuscript and you bring it to the publisher and they say, You gotta cut out almost half of this book.
[12:30] 300 pages, right? Cutting out 300 pages. You don't even have a story anymore. Like how do you even do this? Like you face these seemingly insurmountable. Challenges, like tell us about that story and how you dealt with that.
[12:40] Steven Pressfield: In my book, “The War of Art,” I talk about a moment when I sort of got out my typewriter in this sublease department and I was at the end of my rope in New York City as a young guy and I, that was sort of the moment when I kind of committed to being a writer after about seven or eight years of running from it.
[12:57] And the interesting thing was it was another 30 years before I actually saw a book published, but at that moment, that was a moment of commitment to me and my life really did change in that moment, even though I knocked around from job to job and you know, failed again and again and again. I was never as scared as I was before that moment because somehow things changed.
[13:23] My DNA changed when I made that commitment. So the point I wanna make is that I'm not claiming that when you commit to something, everything's easy. It can take decades before something really changes. This is the way the universal aligns with you. I had finished the. It was like 800 pages long, and my agent said, I can't sell this, Steve.
[13:44] You know, it's too long. Cut. 300 pages. So I was at the end of my rope as far as how to do that. I was just totally freaked out. And one day I got a note in the mail, a handwritten note outta nowhere from a guy named Tom Ginsburg, who at that time was the head of Viking Press, which was a big prestigious New York Publishing house.
[14:04] I didn't know him from Adam, but he had read the book cuz he was a friend of my agent. And he just sent me this wonderful handwritten note that said there's a really great novel in here somewhere, and I know you're gonna bring it. I pinned that to my computer screen. It inspired me and encouraged me in a whole way.
[14:23] So the point I'm trying to make is when we commit to something like I did to the writing of that book, that's how the universe responds. People that we don't even know. Will help us. You know, I've heard many, many stories about people who get money from strangers or somebody opens a door for them, or a podcast happens for them, or something like that, and it's not an accident.
[14:44] I'm convinced that when you truly commit and you, you now become a hero, and they sense of the hero's journey, the universe sees that somehow and good things happen. You know, it isn't just, you know, a change in yourself, it's a change in the universe and how it sees you. So if Tom Ginsburg hadn't sent me that note because he saw something in me that had changed from the point of commitment.
[15:11] I wanna
[15:11] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: piggyback on that because this is external validation, and you also talk about internal validation and self-coaching in particular. There's a chapter in your latest book here, Put Your Ass Where your Heart wants to be, Where you talk about, Can you say those things to yourself? Can you coach yourself?
[15:30] Can you say the right words to yourself? Like that's a key piece of it too, right?
[15:34] Steven Pressfield: Yeah, exactly. That's another great one, Jim. Like one of the things I say, and I absolutely believe this is. Self-reinforcement. This is what I call it. Self-reinforcement is more important if you're in the artistic world. More important than talent, and I think that's absolutely true.
[15:50] So what is self-reinforcement? It's like if you have a sergeant or a coach or a mentor or teacher and they tell you, Jim, you're on the right track. I love the way you're showing up every day and you're running nine miles, da da, da. But it's external reinforcement. It's coming from somebody outside you, and if we are artists or entrepreneurs or in anything where we're on our own, we can't rely on that.
[16:20] Who's gonna give that to us? So we have to learn how to give it to ourselves. Self-reinforcement. They don't teach you this in school. Nobody ever tells you about this. Even in the moment it even seems foolish. It almost embarrassing that what you're really sort of having to do is sit down and talk to.
[16:38] Pull over a stop light or something, or you know, at the end of the day, you have to say to yourself, This was a great day, Jim. You know, maybe you screwed up a little bit here, but you showed up. You know, you did your work. You put in all you could God bless you at seven days in a row. You've done that and keep going for tomorrow.
[16:55] And if you can't do that, there's no way you can hang in for the long haul over anything. To be an artist, to be a writer, to be whatever. But if you can do it, then. Things will fall into place eventually.
[17:09] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And for the listener, you're listening to what Steve just said and you're like, Oh, that's a good idea.
[17:13] And unconsciously you're thinking like, that's good for others and they'll do that. And, but like, no, you actually have to do that. Like you literally have to pull over when you're driving down the highway and have this conversation with yourself or open up your journal and write these words or. Just stop wherever you're at and actually hit pause on this episode and say those words to yourself.
[17:33] Like you actually have to do it. You can't just go, That's a good idea. And then just kind of go back to default mode. Default mode doesn't work. And I'll extend that because by saying, you talk in the book about feeling like default mode is like, Ah, I don't feel like doing it today. But we can't depend on how we feel.
[17:52] In order to do the thing. Right. And you addressed this with a story about a sergeant when you were in the Marine Corps. Can you share
[17:58] Steven Pressfield: that story? I had a sergeant during infantry training at Camp Le June who, uh, he was in charge of all, a whole bunch of us, and he was a two-tour Vietnam vet. At the time, so he had great credibility with us and he had spent time on Okinawa. On Okinawa, they speak Japanese, and one of the words he picked up there was Watashi, which apparently I've been told just simply means I me Watashi.
[18:23] But he insisted that we call him Watashi. To this day, I have no idea what his real name was, and he only always spoke in the third person. He would say, Watashi tells you to do this. You do what? Watashi. Anyway, Watashi, his instrument of enforcement was a pool queue. He used to carry a pool queue around.
[18:43] This is an infantry training, and he would like hit you in the back with it. He'd hit you in the belly, hit beat your legs with it. He'd throw it at. One of what Tasha's sayings was, Watashi, don't give a shit how you feel. And he always put feel in quotation marks. And he would say, Did the Marine Corps issue you feelings?
[19:04] Then you don't have no feelings. You know? And what he meant by that was, If you wake up in the morning and you say, I don't feel like getting outta bed today, or I don't feel like going out to the gym, or I don't feel like running my nine miles, or I don't feel like wording, that doesn't count. Watashi, you don't give a shit what you feel.
[19:23] And so I still have like a little Watashi in my mind. To this day with a little pool queue, and when I don't feel like doing something, like writing or whatever it is, I just tell myself, Watashi don't give a shit how you feel. That's my little inspiration for that. But that's a form of self-reinforcement too, you know, to have little tricks like that in your mind.
[19:43] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah. Simple tactic to keep you on track.
[19:48] Steven Pressfield: Many silly little things will work.
[19:48] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Steve, if you describe commitment using the Big Bang analogy, and I wanna bring this up because I know a lot of listeners, and I've been there many, many times and I'll be there many, many more times. You, you get to the place, you're like, Okay, where do I start?
[20:05] I don't have a plan. I don't know how it's gonna come together in the end. I, I don't know, like you use the metaphor of the Big Bang analogy. Can you.
[20:13] Steven Pressfield: Yeah. What the point of that, Jim, is that the universe is self-ordering. If you think back to like the big bang, think about Adam's exploding into space at the speed of light.
[20:26] You know, everything is totally chaos, but over a period of time, and it might be a very short period of time, electrons coalesce around nuclei. Matter comes together and forms planets and galaxies, and they all sort of settle into orbits and everything kind of balances out in the end, Let's say a particular planet, if water appears and then it starts flowing downhill, pretty soon sees appear, you know, pretty soon, maybe life forms in that thing, but the whole point is, The universe in everything we do tends towards order.
[21:02] I've heard it said, it turns toward chaos. I don't believe it. And the same thing is true for any project that we start, like the F three thing you were talking about, about fitness gym, or a book, or a record album, or a podcasting venture. If we just start, it's chaos at first. But as we're writing a screenplay, a month goes by, two months go by, suddenly it's, we find it's forming itself into three acts.
[21:28] We got act one, act two, act three, we got a climax, so on and so forth. So that is another kind of form of self-reinforcement that I'd tell myself, you know, My novel is going to take shape. All I have to do is keep showing up each day and rolling the P a little bit farther along. In other words, all I have to do is keep putting my ass where my heart wants to be.
[21:51] And this law of the universe that order emerges out of chaos is on my side. That's the tailwind that's behind me. So it's important to just find something to cheer you on, you know? And that's a good one for me.
[22:08] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And you're experiencing that as you've written your next book that's coming out, your autobiography.
[22:14] You know, you talk in this book about the struggle you're writing, but it's like it's all out of order and it's all a mess. Right? You experienced
[22:22] Steven Pressfield: that just recently? That's true for any project, or at least for me that I've ever been on. When I start into. I'm full of self-doubt. When I assess the idea, I think this is really dumb.
[22:35] Nobody's gonna be interested in except me, da, da, da. It's all, you know, sort of chaos, like the feet are showing up where the shoulders ought to be, and the head is showing up. You know where the butt ought to be, but if you keep plugging. Things take their own shape. You know, a house that you want to design, you know, a restaurant that you might wanna start, they will take shape if you can just keep showing up and keep putting your ass in the chair and doing work.
[23:04] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: How important is it to be around the right people?
[23:07] Steven Pressfield: I certainly think it is in the long haul. I've had a lot of mentors in my life. You know, my long career here, many, many, many. 20, 30, 40 people I could look back on. People are very important, but I will say this, if you're in a solitary craft, like a writer or possibly a, a songwriter or a filmmaker, that's at the earliest stages of evolving a film.
[23:32] You gotta be able to do it yourself too. Now hopefully you've got your mentors and peers have given you and you've learned from them, given yourself that you can use. But there's also, like I say, self-reinforcement is a key thing that when you are alone and have to do it and there's no coach there, to be able to keep going day after day is more important than anything else.
[23:55] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: What about the person who's listening to this who said, Yeah, this sounds great, Steve. I've got kids and a, a job and maybe an ailing family member, so I can't move to whatever their version of, you know, the actor moving to Hollywood or the aspiring country singer moving to Nashville. What can they do? How can they be committed?
[24:14] You said it's possible to be 100% committed 10% of the time.
[24:20] Steven Pressfield: Which I absolutely believe. One of the examples I cite is that the director, Steven Soderberg, who won an Oscar for the movie Traffic in the year 2000, if you look up his, his speech, his acceptance speech on YouTube, he holds up the Oscar and he says, This is for everybody who puts in an hour a day.
[24:39] Working on their art, whatever it is, I don't care what it is. You know, if it's a song, if it's a movie, if it's whatever, and I couldn't agree more. I say that the muse, the goddess doesn't count the hours that you put in. What she counts again, is commitment. You know? Are you committed? Like one hour a day is seven hours a week?
[25:03] I don't know. I figured it out once it comes out to like four or five. 40-hour work weeks a year.
[25:10] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: It's actually nine. Like when you first hear that number, cause I've used that before too, and thought of that like one hour a day is actually nine 40-hour work weeks. Imagine if you had nine 40-hour work weeks to work on your muse, your thing.
[25:23] Well, you do if you take one hour a day.
[25:25] Steven Pressfield: Yeah, it absolutely, It's like when I was working for a living at an honest job, like in advertising or something like that, a 40 hour a week job, I would come in on the weekends to the office and just work on my own stuff eight hours a day or however long it took.
[25:41] Not to mention whatever I could do at night or otherwise. And that comes out to a lot of hours over the course of a year. So it definitely can be done. I think if we have a family, if we have a job, if we have an ailing family member of whatever, I know it's hard. But the goddess doesn't mind if we can only put in a limited amount of time.
[26:00] She just counts our commitment over the long term. So I would encourage anybody, don't be discouraged by that. You can do it. And I'll tell you one thing else, Jim, here's another thought. Like I, right now, I'm a professional writer. I don't have to go to a job. You know, I can support myself by my writing, but between all the stuff I have to do, just like you have to do and everybody else has to do in their life, in the real world, I'm lucky if I find two hours a day to really sit down, you know, and do my work.
[26:28] So I'm sure a lot of people who have full-time jobs and commitments everywhere who can find two hours a day, and then you're even with me. You know, I'm a full-time professional and I bet it's true for everybody.
[26:40] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah, absolutely. I, I had a job that was 50 to 60-hour a week job in working nights and weekends and traveling.
[26:48] I worked in athletics, so it's not a nine to five. It's very much, you know, taking up a lot, consuming your life and for me to start this business on the side. It started at 5:00 AM sometimes 4:30 AM I'd wake up and sit down and get to work and edit my podcast and write the blog posts and update the website and post the social media post and reach out to prospects.
[27:10] That's how it all started. Now, I get to live my life like you, Steve, on my own terms. Doesn't mean everything's easy and rainbows and unicorns, but it's like, it's the choice that you get to make and I get to live my life on my terms. Just like you get to live on your terms and it can start with an hour a day.
[27:27] I read about, you know, John g Grham, who lives actually here in Charlottesville, coincidentally, He started his business or his writing career, you know, getting to the office early and just writing, I forget what he wrote, like chapter a day or a couple of pages a day or forget what it was. But it started very small.
[27:41] And now the
[27:42] Steven Pressfield: Cody. I bet that's exactly true. He was a lawyer, right? So he would, you know, had a full-time job. And the other thing, I'm sure this is true for you, Jim, those hours, those one or two hours are not a drag. They are what keeps you going, right? You know, at the end of the day you look back and you say, you know, what did I do today?
[28:02] And you say, Ah, those two hours, you know, aside from your family, of course. But those two hours in terms of, were the ones, those were the, those were solid gold. So I certainly know I felt that way. You know, when I would go in on the office in the weekend and work, I would say, Oh, that this makes up for the whole week.
[28:19] You know, This is good. This is money in the bank. Even though it's not money.
[28:23] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah, it's not hard work. It's inspired action. It feels. You said that you don't really put expectations on yourself when you sit down at your computer for your day's work. You just want to get three to four hours work of good work done every day.
[28:38] And you're not really worried about quality or worried about quantity. I mean, you just put your ass where your heart wants to be and start working. Doesn't that fly in the face of like, you've gotta work on the right things and high-value work. And I just, you know, you hear all this productivity advice out there and sometimes it's so hard to grasp ahold of all that, but you're.
[28:54] Just freaking show up and start working.
[28:56] Steven Pressfield: That's it. I mean, I couldn't say it better than what you just said, Jim. I don't believe in this high-value work or any of that sort of. It's so unpredictable when good work is gonna come. Particularly as a writer, you just don't know. Thursday might be a terrible day and Friday might be a great day, and the bottom line is the only thing you can do.
[29:14] You know, it's like the stoic, say the things you can't control. Don't worry about, only worry about what you can control and. You can't control when you're gonna have a good day's work. You can't control when you have a bad day's work, but what you can control is to sit down every day and work to put your ass where your heart wants to be.
[29:31] You know? That's the secret. If there is a secret, just keep rolling that pee every day and good things will happen.
[29:38] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And I wanna explore just for a second the idea of like, you know, I just mentioned the high-value work. The way I see that is like there's a lot of work that you could be doing that I could be doing that the listener could be doing.
[29:50] That is not the thing for you. It's the writing. For me, it's the coaching or the business development for the listener. For you, it's whatever that thing is for you. That's the sort of high-value work, which, you know when you get. Get around to doing the high-value work. It doesn't really matter the quantity or quality.
[30:05] You've just got to do it and stop returning your emails, scrolling on social media, doing the stuff that is keeping you from doing the actual work, like once you start doing the actual work. Then it doesn't matter. You're just showing up, punching your fingers on the keyboard, but you have to stop doing all of the other minutia.
[30:27] You can fill your days every single day. Well, I didn't have time to get around to it because I was doing this. I was being busy. I was checking social media and returning emails and
[30:35] Steven Pressfield: on and on and on. Right? In my book, The War of Art, I use the word resistance with a capital R, and it's all of those forces that will try to stop us from doing our work.
[30:47] You know, procrastination, self doubt, fear, perfectionism, working on minutia, that sort of thing, and this sort of stuff. Social media, all the things that are, is pure simple resistance. Now, it's not to say that you don't have to do that. You gotta return emails and you have to do, you know, what you have to do to keep, you know, the wheels turning, but.
[31:08] You have to recognize that this is a negative force trying to sabotage you, trying to work against you and this again comes back to self-reinforcement. Your job is to set the time for those hours when you're really doing the high-value stuff, when you're doing the podcasting or you're doing the writing, or you're doing whatever it is that you can't let that other distraction resistance take you away from that, that's where the rubber meets the road.
[31:35] That's the most important. The answer's pretty simple. It's just a question of doing it for the
[31:40] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: listener. You've gotta get this book. It's such a fun read. There's all these great little stories in it. It's a short, easy read. A lot of anecdotes in it, A lot of specific examples that we can all relate to.
[31:51] Steve, for the listener who is ready to take action, and they're sitting there saying, Okay, after this podcast, you know, I've got a block of time, or tomorrow I'm gonna get started here. What do you recommend? What's an action item they can do today, tomorrow? Next four to 20, four to 48 hours.
[32:08] Steven Pressfield: And when we all sort of know what our dream is, right?
[32:11] If we ask somebody in the moment, you know, spit it out right now, they would know, right? People might waffle around it, but you, you know what it is. So the most important thing is simply to act. Don't prepare. Don't study, don't do research, whatever that thing is. You know, if you wanna have a podcast, get a microphone, get a camera, take some actual physical action or reach out to whoever your first guest is going to be.
[32:41] And in other words, don't talk, don't think, act, and then. Tomorrow act again and the day after that act again. Drop the mic
[32:53] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: with that one, Steve. Excellent. That was amazing as always. So great to connect with you. Thank you so much for making time to come on the show. Where can people find you, follow you, buy your books, et cetera?
[33:04] Steven Pressfield: I have a website that's just my name, steven presfield.com and I'm also on Instagram. Books are on Amazon and those other places like. Thanks for having me here. This was great. You always ask great questions, really bring it out. God bless you for what you're doing, and we'll both keep, uh, putting our ass where our heart wants to be.
[33:22] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Amen to that. Thank you, Steve. Thanks for listening. If you want to apply these principles into your life, let's talk. You can see the limited spaces that are open on my calendar JimHarshawJr.com/apply, where you can sign up for a free one-time coaching call. With me and don't forget to grab your action plan.
[33:42] Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/action. And lastly, iTunes tends to suggest podcasts with more ratings and reviews more often. You would totally make my day if you give me a rating in review. Those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast audience. Just open up your podcast app. If you have an iPhone.
[34:02] Do a search for success through failure. Select it, and then scroll the whole way to the bottom where you can leave the podcast a rating and a review. Now, I hope this isn't just another podcast episode for you. I hope you take action on what you learned here today. Good luck and thanks for listening.
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