Turning Pro is the third part of Steven Pressfield’s Resistance series. In this book, Steven talks about finally beating resistance and becoming that person, i.e. Turning Pro.
We all have two voices that play in our heads when we’re trying to get away from our comfort zone and follow our calling. One says let’s leave, and the other says just stay.
The amateur wants to stay in the comfort zone. When you take a risk and leave what you’ve known to follow your calling, that’s when you’ve Turned Pro.
Who is the amateur?
The amateur is inexperienced and trying to learn. The amateur is you and me. The amateur is insecure about his calling and conforms to the tribe to feel accepted.
An amateur is a weekend warrior. He does it for applause and validation. A Pro is a professional athlete. His mind is on it 24/7 365 days a year.
An amateur is a narcissist and seeks instant gratification. Don’t let your ego to prevent you from getting better. Nobody said it was going to be easy.
When we’re too afraid to follow our true calling, we take on jobs or careers that offer little to no risk called shadow callings/careers.
This is typical of an amateur running away from his calling. Running away from your demons and doing something easy and safe will haunt you later on with regret.
Steven Pressfield’s shadow career was driving trucks. He wanted to make a career out of it, but deep down he knew his calling was writing and the more he drove, the farther away it got him from what he wanted to do.
You have to identify that your shadow career isn’t it. You have more inside of you and you were put on this earth to do much more.
We’re fleeing from our fear into an addiction or a shadow career.
What changes when we turn pro is we stop fleeing.
No one is born a pro. You have to make all the mistakes in the book to realize this is not how you do it.
It’s very hard to follow your muse, but it’s easier to conform because of pressure. This is what separates the amateur from the pro.
A Pro has high standards for himself. A Pro sets his eyes on something and gets it done. An Amateur does a lot of talking without doing anything.
You have to kill the amateur version of you to build the professional version of you. We are selling ourselves way too short. Rather than start a business or finish a book, we settle for what comes easy.
Your life completely changes, and you’ll remember the exact moment when you’ve turned pro. After years of running from your ambition, just sit down and do the work.
The Professional Mindset
The Professional Possesses the following qualities which the amateur doesn’t:
- The professional shows up every day
- The professional stays on the job all-day
- The professional is committed over the long haul
- For the professional, the stakes are high, and real
The Professional defers gratification. Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita says we have the right to our labor, but not to the fruits of our labor.
The work becomes a practice that has its space, time, and intention. Once we’ve turned pro, we’re like sharks that have tasted blood.
Picasso was painting past 90. The Spartan king Agesilaus was still fighting in armor when he was eighty-two. Just Do the work till the wheels fall off.
Life is the pursuit. There is no finish line. Produce something that matters and don’t worry about what anybody else thinks.