One of my favorite authors Steven Pressfield, wrote the best selling book Do The Work. It’s about battling the resistance that all artist & entrepreneurs face when they finally sit down to write a song, market an album, prep a speech, finish a script, stand in front of a camera, or make gut-wrenching business decisions. In the book, Steven talks about Navy Seals and their struggle and plight. As it turns out, in SEAL training, they have a bell. When a candidate can’t take the agony any longer; the 6-mile ocean swims; the 15-mile full-load runs; or the physical and mental torments—when he’s had enough and he’s ready to quit, he walks up and rings the bell. That’s it. It’s over. He has dropped out.
As crazy, genius artists & treps, you and I have a bell hanging over our heads too. We can quit anytime the going gets tough. However, there’s a difference between Navy Seal training and what you and I go through when we come face to face with “doubt.” Our ordeal is harder. Because we’re alone. We’ve got no drill sergeant shouting in our ears or kicking our butts to keep us going. Worst of all, no one is pointing to the finish line—we can’t tell whether we’re doing great or falling on our faces. When we finish our work for the day, if we do, no one will be waiting to congratulate us. We’ll get no diploma, and no medal of honor. Because the battle that artists & treps fight is a day to day, hour by hour battle with uncertainty, doubt, and resistance.
Truth is, the only thing we have in common with the Navy Seal candidates is the bell. However if WE decide to ring it, no one will be there to hear it. And if that’s the case, why ring the bell at all?