There are a few aims in life that demand total devotion and engulfment of your energies. The highest of those is creating a truly fulfilling, deep and life-long relationship with your chosen romantic partner.
Second to that is going all in with calculated abandon and fully giving yourself to your greatest work in the world.
If you want to make quitting and working for yourself inevitable, you must, with all of your heart, soul and mind, transform from the life of the amateur to the life of the professional.
But who is the amateur?
The amateur lives within all of us. She’s characterized by:
- Shunning and avoiding that which is challenging or difficult. She’d rather amuse herself with distractions and short-term aims.
- Giving up on herself before anyone can believe in her. She speaks meekly and timidly about her work and value in the world. She thinks small and second-guesses even the simplest of tasks.
- Choosing good enough work over Great Work.
She is the adolescent, the beginner, and in a way, she is necessary for our transformation. She is the Atman to our Brahman.
She is the small ego to our limitless Self.
On the other hand, the professional…
- Is willing to sacrifice short term deviations in favor of lifetime spanning transformations.
- Meets resistance head-on, sees delight and inspiration in challenges and is thrilled by doing what others believe is impossible.
- Always strives to choose Great Work over mediocrity. She chooses criticism and heresy over acclaim and consensus, not for the sake of being an iconoclast (that is also shortsighted), but because that is just often the likeliest of outcomes.
Most people espouse the solution of obliterating and eliminating the amateur and suppressing our lesser drives. But this only makes us more attached than ever to the life of the amateur.
The more we try to push away the amateur in us, the more it cries and begs for our attention.
The goal then is not to be rid of the amateur, to destroy it via thunderous coup and replace it with a higher regime, but to transcend and include it.
To make the transition from amateur to professional, we must complete the Rite of Passage from boyhood to manhood.
But most of us, as we enter into what we call adulthood, are not truly grown up.
We still live by the agreements of others, following a template that has been laid out before us. We enter into arrangements with jobs, partners and customers where our lives are still dictated by others.
“Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want.”
—Devo, Freedom of Choice
The amateur claims he desires freedom, but what he really wants is freedom from choice.
We have not truly become mature, we have simply transitioned into a more entrenched level of adolescence.
The greatest path to becoming a true professional is to exercise your ability to make decisions, and to exercise your inborn freedom.
To truly become a professional means to operate from your deepest impulses, your deepest truth, and your most sacred of desires.
“A horse that loves to run will beat a horse that is compelled to run every day of the week. I want my horses to love the track, I want my exercise riders to have to hold them back in the morning because they’re so excited to get out and run. Never train your horse to exhaustion. Leave him wanting more.”
—Steven Pressfield, from the book Turning Pro
To become the professional requires that you reclaim your freedom, opt-out of the templated life, and radically test your assumptions.
You must realize this: We are all born beautiful wild, and radically free. As small children we act without inhibition or denial of our desires. Only through the process of domestication do we acquire a voice of “reason” that causes us to deny what we want. In this way, we begin acting on the stage of life, playing dual roles of both the judge and the accused.
While there is a great chance if you’re living in the modern, civilized world that you have become domesticated and lost your wildness, that does not mean you have lost your freedom.
Your circumstances may make it seem that you are not free. But this is not so. Your circumstances are not the truth, they are simply what is here right now. Stop identifying with your story. Stop identifying with the ever-changing weather of your life-situation.
This is not you. You are much greater than this.
Test your assumptions about what freedoms you do and do not possess. Whatever conclusions you have, see to it that you test their foundations and find whether they are indeed solid or made of glass.
You may be surprised that what seemed immovable is in fact the most malleable of matter.
- Test your limits.
- Test your assumptions.
- Test your beliefs and your dispositions.
You will find that you are truly free and can do as you please.
Once you have done this, you will discover hidden passages where others see walls.
But don’t stop there. Keep testing. Stay curious and inquisitive. At every corner, at every juncture, question what is really possible for you.
You will find that your vision expands, that your capabilities miraculously balloon, that you have strength within you that you could not fathom, that greatness exists within you beyond measurement.
Stay in this place of curiosity, of questioning, and you will begin to operate from your deepest impulses, your deepest desires. And eventually, this will become your default mode of being in the world.
You will reconnect with your divine source, your infinite ability to create, and you will be on the path living the life of the true professional.
You will choose Great Work, Great Purposes, Great Missions and Great Callings that others see as absurdity and impossibilities.
Friends and peers will ask you how you do it. They will marvel at your prowess to walk through obstacles where they see impassable fortresses. Onlookers will see your actions as feats of miracle and magic.
But you know deep within you something they do not, that you simply have reclaimed something you always had, something that was waiting for you to reunite, something that you never lost: your power to create the life of your choosing in every moment.
Sever, cut, and snip the umbilical cord keeping you connected to the amateur, the infant, the adolescent.
Become the professional you were born to be.
Note: This is an excerpt from the forthcoming guide, The Job Escape Kit. Preorder is available for a limited time. Click here to get access at 50% off.