Do The Work Book Summary | Steven Pressfield (Complete In-Depth Analysis)

“Do the Works” by Pressfield is a must-read for any artist or business person. It teaches us how to create our own ideas, and the creative process of others shows us how they created theirs.

It basically gives us step-by-step instructions on how to overcome and conquer Resistance–which is the biggest enemy of them all.

“RESISTANCE” is the keyword of the entire book.

This book explains who and what your allies are and how to embrace and utilize them in your creative life or in your day-to-day situations.

The book encourages and highlights that it’s possible for anyone to go and achieve what they truly are striving for.

If you want to be successful at anything, this book will teach you how to do it.

10 Quotes From The Book and How to Apply Them in Daily Life

  1. “The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.”
    • Apply it: Recognize when your inner doubts and fears are holding you back from taking action. Overcome procrastination by acknowledging these thoughts but not letting them dictate your actions.
  2. “Start before you’re ready.”
    • Apply it: Don’t wait for the perfect moment or conditions to start a project or a task. Begin, even if you don’t feel fully prepared, because action breeds momentum.
  3. “Stay stupid. Follow your unconventional, crazy, and audacious ideas.”
    • Apply it: Embrace creativity and unconventional thinking. Don’t be afraid to pursue unique and out-of-the-box solutions to problems.
  4. “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
    • Apply it: Consistency is key. Whether it’s art, writing, or any other creative endeavor, commit to a daily practice to hone your skills and make progress.
  5. “Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too.”
    • Apply it: Recognize that resistance often emerges when you care deeply about something. Use that love and passion as fuel to overcome obstacles and accomplish your goals.
  6. “The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome.”
    • Apply it: Understand that fear is a natural part of the creative process. Professionals push through their fear and continue to work despite it.
  7. “Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
    • Apply it: Focus on self-discovery and self-acceptance. Embrace your authentic self and work towards your true potential.
  8. “What you and I need to do is learn to silence that endless inner critic who’s always barking in our ear. ‘Not good enough. You’ll never succeed. You suck.’ “
    • Apply it: Practice self-compassion and positive self-talk. Silence your inner critic and replace negative thoughts with affirmations that encourage progress.
  9. “Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
    • Apply it: When you’re fearful of a task or project, recognize it as a sign that it’s important and meaningful. Push through the fear and take action.
  10. “The only thing that matters is this: The writing or the painting or the making or the building is the only thing that matters.”
    • Apply it: Prioritize the actual work itself over distractions, perfectionism, or other concerns. Focus on the task at hand and give it your full attention.
Do The Work Book Summary
Do The Work Book Summary

What is Resistance as explained by the book “Do The Work”?

The word “resistance” is used in many different ways. Resistance is what you experience when you try to do something new or achieve something you want to achieve. You might resist doing something because you don’t know how to do it, or because you think you won’t succeed. Or maybe you just don’t want to do it.

Resistance is a natural part of life. We all face challenges every day. Some days we struggle to overcome our fears, others times we simply get tired and decide to take a break. But sometimes, we encounter situations where we feel stuck. We become blocked and cannot move forward. This is when we feel resistance.

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Inner resistance is a powerful thing. It exists within us all, and it prevents us from accomplishing things. Sometimes, we don’t notice it, but it can stop us from moving forward. If we fail to recognise it, it can cause us to lose motivation and enthusiasm.

We can learn to identify and overcome inner resistance. By identifying the source of resistance, we can change how we deal with it. Once we understand why we are resisting, we can work around it and make progress.

Steven Pressfield has also authored renowned books like “Turning Pro” and “The War of Art”. I will write a summary of them too. But now, let’s focus on “Do The Work”.

The book begins with a discussion of the nature and purpose of creativity, followed by an examination of the process of creating. The author’s primary emphasis is on the craft of writing, but its advice applies to any creative work.

You need to be proactive when dealing with issues.

Starting out by taking the first step is usually the hardest part, but it’s also the most important one. I’m not saying that you should just jump into it without thinking about it because there are many things to consider before starting. But if you don’t start, you won’t be able to finish.

  • Pressfield says that you have to be willing to accept failure. Failure is inevitable. There are no guarantees in life. So, you have to be ready to accept it.
  • He also suggests that you shouldn’t expect perfection. Perfectionism is another form of Resistance. It stops you from being productive.
  • But he also says that you shouldn’t give up easily. You should keep trying until you reach success.

So, if you’re facing some kind of challenge, whether it’s a personal problem or a professional issue, you mustn’t give up. Keep going. Don’t quit.

The author also emphasizes that you should never underestimate yourself. He says that you should always believe in yourself.

This is very true. When you doubt yourself, you’ll end up doubting your abilities. And this will lead to self-doubt.

If you have doubts about your ability to complete a task, then you won’t be able to do it.

This is why it’s so important to believe in yourself. If you don’t, you’ll never accomplish anything.

It’s better to be optimistic than pessimistic. Optimistic people tend to see opportunities rather than problems. They look for solutions instead of obstacles.

They are more likely to succeed.

When you think positively, you’ll find ways to solve problems. You’ll come up with new ideas. You’ll find ways to improve your skills. And you’ll be motivated to achieve your goals.

It’s easier to stay positive than negative. Negative thoughts create stress. Stress makes it harder to concentrate. This leads to procrastination. Procrastination means that you’ll avoid doing what needs to be done.

If you need to stop procrastination, then read my article here:

And if you don’t get started, you’ll never finish.

So, it’s best to remain positive. Be confident. Believe in yourself.

Stop Thinking and Begin Working

Another thing that Pressfield stresses is that you should stop thinking and begin working. Thinking is good. But it’s only useful when you use it to plan ahead. However, you should avoid planning too much. Planning too far ahead can cause anxiety.

If you’re not careful, this will lead to procrastination. Procrastination is one of the most common causes of stress. It’s so easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Tomorrow never comes. So if you want to reduce stress, you must start doing things today.

You already have everything you need to begin working. All you need is motivation. Motivation is something that you have to provide yourself with. The time to start is before you feel completely prepared. You should do two things iteratively: act, reflect, act, reflect.

The More Time and Effort You Put into a Big Project, the More Resistance You Will Face

Pressfield says that there are two kinds of people: those who make things happen and those who watch others make them happen.

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Those who make things happen are happy. They enjoy their lives. They love themselves. They feel fulfilled.

On the other hand, those who watch others make things happen are unhappy. They hate themselves. They feel worthless. They feel like failures.

You should never give up on your goals if they make you happy. Be patient and keep working towards them until you succeed. Success comes to those who persist. Persistence brings about great things. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

You’re Not the Only One Experiencing Resistance

We all face resistance at some point. But we can overcome it. Resistance is temporary. It doesn’t last forever.

Don’t Give Up! Keep Trying Until

There is nothing wrong with you if you have many unfinished projects. You can’t merely blame your lack of drive, enthusiasm, or motivation on these issues.

Everyone experiences resistance at some point. Everyone has days where they just don’t feel like doing anything. However, you shouldn’t let these feelings discourage you from achieving your goals. There are plenty of reasons why you might experience resistance.

Relax and give yourself a break.

Develop a Research Diet

Instead of spending all your energy researching, spend your efforts doing something productive. By starting small, you can work out any problems that may arise before they snowball into larger ones. You’ll find yourself getting closer to completion sooner, and you won’t feel overwhelmed by having too much information to process.

The best way to start is to pick one thing you want to do today. If it’s not important enough to write down, then don’t worry about it. Just move on to the next task. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a project from last year or this week; just focus on what needs to happen now.

Act Stupid and Begin Working on Your First Draft Immediately

The rational mind is your natural enemy. It is best to avoid thinking about things too deeply and instead take decisive action. Don’t analyze everything. Just do something! Then, once you’ve taken action, consider what happened. You can’t think and act simultaneously.

If you want to lose weight, eat less. That’s it. There’s nothing complicated here. This is why I don’t recommend diets like Atkins or Paleo. They require you to spend hours analyzing every single food you consume. And if you’re not careful, they can actually cause you to gain weight rather than lose it.

You feel hesitant to follow through on your big ideas because you worry that people won’t approve of them. People tend to expect you to succeed, so instead of acknowledging your hard work, you spend too much time worrying about what everyone else thinks.

Always Expect You Will Fail

It’s okay to fail. In fact, it’s expected. Failure is part of life. But when you fail repeatedly, it becomes harder for you to believe in yourself.

When you fail, try to learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself: What did I do right? What could I improve upon? How can I prevent this from happening again?

Also, Learn From Others’ Mistakes.

I know how easy it is to get discouraged when others around you seem to be succeeding while you aren’t. When someone succeeds, it makes you feel bad. You begin to doubt your own abilities.

However, there are two sides to every story. No matter how successful other people appear to be, they also have their share of failures. So, look beyond their successes and failures

If you don’t face problems early on, you won’t be able to deal with the problems you’ll face later. That’s why it’s important to see setbacks as stepping stones on the road to success.

You need to constantly look for new ways to be the best you can be. It would be best if you always strived to become better at whatever you do.

You Can’t Win Without Overcoming Resistance

In order to achieve anything worthwhile, you must overcome resistance. Resistance comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s fear. Other times it’s laziness. Or maybe it’s apathy. Whatever form it takes, resistance will stop you from achieving your goals.

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Resistance is an obstacle that stands between you and your dreams. However, you can overcome it by using the following techniques:

  • 1. Focus On One Thing At A Time
  • 2. Do Something Every Day
  • 3. Be Consistent
  • 4. Set Realistic Goals
  • 5. Get Rid Of Distractions
  • 6. Make Sure To Reward Yourself
  • 7. Have Fun Doing It
  • 8. Keep An Open Mind
  • 9. Stay Positive
  • 10. Find Someone Who Supports You
  • 11. Surround Yourself With Successful People
  • 12. Believe In Yourself
  • 13. Never Give Up
  • 14. Take Responsibility For Your Actions
  • 15. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
  • 16. Always Look Forward
  • 17. Think About Why You Want To Achieve Your Goal
  • 18. Don’t Let Fear Stop You
  • 19. Remember That Everyone Fails

You can’t win against adversity if you aren’t willing to put forth an effort. You can’t get ahead in a professional if you only work half-heartedly. It would help if your dedication was total. It would also help if you had a strong desire to reach the top of your profession.

Assistance is the Opposite of Resistance

The more assistance you receive, the less resistance you’ll experience. If you’re surrounded by people who support you, then you won’t have to struggle to make things happen.

So, surround yourself with positive people who encourage you to keep going. They might even give you some advice or tips along the way.

Don’t let anyone discourage you. Instead, find people who will motivate you to succeed.

When you’re faced with obstacles, don’t allow them to stop you. Instead, use them as opportunities to grow stronger. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish something. There’s no such thing as a person who can’t succeed.

You need to make it a regular habit to thank the people whose inspiration has helped you get where you are today. Don’t think that just saying “thank you” once a day will be enough. If you want to achieve something big, you must put some serious time and energy into it.

Think Big and Stop Acting Small

Focus on what you want to accomplish. When you do this, you’ll feel much more confident about reaching your goal.

Stop thinking small and start acting like someone who wants to change their life. If you want to take control of your destiny, you must believe in yourself.

If you really care about doing great work, then don’t let yourself be held back by your doubts, fears, and any limitations you might think you have. Just go ahead and do whatever you feel like doing.

Ship Your Work Without Overthinking

It doesn’t matter how good your ideas are. If they’re not executed properly, they won’t amount to anything. So, before you ship your work, make sure that everything is perfect. This means that you should always test your workout first. This will ensure that you don’t waste your time working on something that isn’t worth it.

Always remember that perfection is unattainable. Even though you may try your best, there’s still a chance that you could mess up. Therefore, you shouldn’t ever send out anything until it’s absolutely flawless.

This is why you need to spend a lot of time polishing your work. You should never rush through your writing process. Instead, you should focus on making each sentence count.


Procrastination, laziness, and interruptions are caused by resistance. Resistance is the clever adversary within each individual, making it difficult for people to achieve their personal and professional objectives. This book encourages readers to overcome these obstacles by learning how to eliminate resistance from their lives.

Do the Work is a must-read for anyone who wants to improve his or her productivity. It provides practical solutions to common problems that most people face when trying to complete tasks.

The author also discusses ways to deal with procrastination, laziness and distractions. He explains how to avoid being overwhelmed by all the things we need to do every day.

In addition, he shares many stories from his own experiences to help readers understand the importance of overcoming resistance.

I recommend Do the Work to everyone who struggles with procrastination, lack of motivation, and other issues related to self-discipline.

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