Overview: Steven Pressfield is the best-selling author of The War of Art, The Artist’s Journey, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire and, his newest novel, which was published earlier this month, A Man at Arms.

In this conversation, we talk about Resistance with a capital-R, that diabolical enemy within each of us that tries to keep us from connecting with our highest Self (and each other). We talk fear and love, self-sabotage and leadership, Hero’s Journey and Artist’s Journey. We also talk about the guidance of dreams and discovering ourselves, tribalism and society, and … other things.


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EP 109 SHOW NOTES, LINKS & TRANSCRIPT

Connect with Steven Pressfield:

Website: stevenpressfield.com
Instagram: @steven_pressfield
Twitter: @SPressfield
Facebook: @StevePressfield
Books: stevenpressfield.com/books


References

Father Richard Rohr, friar, teacher, author & founder of Center for Action and Contemplation
The Bhagavad Gita


Connect with Adam Williams / Humanitou:

Humanitou on Instagram: @humanitou
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Adam’s artwork: The Humanitou Shop
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Art Credits

Photograph: via Steven Pressfield
Episode cover art illustration: Adam Williams


Intro/Outro Music

“Tupac Lives” by John Bartmann | freemusicarchive.org


TRANSCRIPT

INTRO

Adam: Welcome to Humanitou. I’m Adam Williams, creator and host of this podcast series. It explores all aspects of our humanness and creativity. Today, we’re kicking off a new season of the podcast and I’m honored and excited to start it with this conversation That’s with Steven Pressfield, the best-selling author of The War of Art. 

Now I’ve referred to The War of Art in its central concept of creative Resistance with a capital R many times in past podcast episodes. And in my writings on the Humana to blog that book and the concept of Resistance are a daily part of my life as an artist, a writer, a podcaster, and I’ll even say as a parent because it, it really affects every aspect of my life and most likely your life too. It’s just part of being human. So Steven figured this out and was able to put some clarity to it for us to give it this word, this definition Resistance, because of what he has described as nearly 30 years of failure as a writer and novelist.

Now, in my mind, failure there deserves air quotes around it. Uh, I think it’s a bit rough, but I get Steve’s point. For example, he answered the calling as a writer and he wrote for 17 years before earning his first check, which was a $3,500 option on a screenplay that then was never produced. 

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art | Humanitou PodcastIt took him 27 years before his first novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance was published. During that time, he worked 21 different kinds of jobs in 11 States, including as a tractor-trailer driver, an advertising copywriter and offshore oil rig roustabout, a Hollywood screenwriter, a migrant worker picking fruit, and on and on. 

He lived in a 1965 Chevy van criss-crossing the country with notions of Jack Kerouac and Kerouac’s book On the Road in his head. It’s these experiences and the failings and self-sabotages that came with them that ultimately led Steven to his insights on Resistance and to his publishing his first novel in his mid fifties. And then more and more of them.

In fact, earlier this month, when Steve published an historical novel called A Man at Arms, it was his 20th book, and the work continues. So in this conversation, Steven and I talk about that concept of Resistance in all our lives and The War of Art, which has had, and continues to have, so much impact on readers across the world. 

We talk about the need to get up to slay the dragon in that internal war every morning, and how Resistance actually is a good thing, too. We talk about the choices we face between fear and love, and we get into leadership and service. And how can we start repairing the fear and division that’s so prevalent in our world today. 

You know, something I also find really interesting in Steve’s work is that there’s a through-line that connects his work. Whether it’s non-fiction, like The War of Art, or a novel set in ancient times of war, they both are vehicles for the same big life questions

and struggles. 

So here’s my conversation with the author, Steven Pressfield.

[TRANSITION MUSIC]

Adam: Steve, welcome to Humanitou. 

Steve: Thank you, Adam. It’s great to be here. You know,  

Adam: 00:03:27 It’s an honor to talk with you. Um, you know, any day would be a wonderful day to talk with you, but I’m going to tell you that today, it turns out to be especially a great day for this, because, you know, I go through this morning practice as a lot of people, a lot of creative people and a lot of writers I think do, and that is morning pages. 

So I sit down at the dining table, I write a few pages, maybe several depends on what’s going on in my head that day. And today I was, I was in the war and I was, I was, I was, I was getting to that point of motivational anger. I’m just practically cussing this, this evil of Resistance that’s in me because I just happened to hit, it just happened to be today. 

You know, not only was I thinking about The War of Art, your best-selling book, because we were going to talk, but it’s also a matter of it happened to hit on a day I was just so sick of it. I’m sick of that voice that’s telling me what I can’t do, and I’m trying to take it to a bigger, better, higher level. And I know that, you know a lot about that. 

Um, is that something you still at all feel that, and, and get that sort of angry motivation or, or have you really learned how to harness this thing by now?  

Steve: 00:04:40 Oh, it’s it never gets, it never goes away, Adam. You know, in fact, I just was working this morning and I was in the thick of it myself, you know, uh, uh, I don’t know about if I get particularly angry. I’m more scared I think, than angry. 

Um, but, uh, yeah, for me, it never goes away. It’s there every morning and, uh, you know, it’s the same, you have to slay the dragon every morning, uh, fresh. And that seems to be the case.  

Adam: 00:05:08 You know, I think that anger, that was, that’s one of those things where you just get so fatigued with, with putting up with a battle and with that enemy continuing to persist, but it’s like, I’m, I’m angry to fight you, you know? 

Cause some days, some days it gets over on us and some days it’s just, you know what, I’m sick of it. Cause I really, I can do this. And so it’s like my strength in it is building. It’s like my, um, my belief and will for it still is there. 

And you know, I want to, I want to back up a step here because I do suspect that a lot of the Humanitou audience, which is a lot of creative people, um, you know, we have listeners all over the world that are, I imagine artists and creative people creating something in the world. 

And so they probably, you know, are aware of your book, The War of Art and you know, they already might understand this concept, but I’m, I’m going to ask you if you wouldn’t mind sharing it again here, because I know you’ve been doing this a lot for, I don’t know, the last 20 years, um, with everybody who talks with you about it, but you do it so eloquently of course your, your clarifying way of presenting this concept that is universal to all of us. 

So would you mind please cluing in the audience here to what I just jumped right into Resistance?

Steve: 00:06:22 Well, if, uh, from the point of view of a writer, let’s say when you sit down to this thing, first thing in the morning, you can feel radiating off of it. Waves of negative energy that are trying to kind of push you away from it, um, that are trying to say to you, uh, you’re unworthy or too old. You’re too young, you’re too fat. You’re too thin. 

You know, you’re not worthy of doing this and also is attacking you with, uh, waves of fear, fear of succeeding, fear of failing, um, uh, self doubt. You’re trying to sabotage yourself. Distractions will come in, let’s go to the beach, let’s go to, you know, whatever let’s do something else. 

And the flip side of it is it will also try to, um, engage your ego and engage your arrogance or your sense of perfectionism. I’ve got to make it absolutely perfect before it’s, you know, I can put it out there.

It’s trying to sabotage you anyway it possibly can. And that to me is Resistance with a capital R, what I call Resistance. And, um, you know, another parallel that I talk about in The War of Art is, if you’ve ever bought a treadmill and brought it home and found out that it’s gathering dust in the attic, then you know exactly what Resistance is. 

You know, it’s that force that says, yeah, I know I should be on that treadmill, but I got so many other better things to do. Um, so by point in The War of Art, is that before any of us can do anything as artists or creative people, we have to find some way, our own way of overcoming this force of Resistance, because it will kill us. 

And that’s step one before anything else. Like I say, at the very start of The War of Art, that it’s not the writing part, that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write, right?

Adam: 00:08:25 You know, I have referred to you to your work, uh, to The War of Art, to Resistance, many times on the podcast and solo episodes, maybe with other guests who again often are artists or musicians or painters or poets, they’re all kinds of creators and spiritual practitioners in the world.

And what I’m wondering is how did you come to this recognition of Resistance as something universal, that it wasn’t just a flaw with Steven Pressfield. It wasn’t just some sort of ineptitude, but rather that what you were fighting– “Wait a second. This translates to everybody.”

Steve: 00:09:02 I really thought when I was writing The War of Art, that a part of me thought is this unique to me? Am I the only one that’s dealing with this? I really didn’t realize how universal it was.

And, and particularly I thought, well, if it’s not just unique to me, it’s just unique to writers. It’s only a writers, you know, and to my amazement, you know, as the emails and stuff started coming in, I found that, you know, everybody in the world seems to suffer from this, from this, uh, uh, you know, this negative force of self-sabotage. 

And, uh, that was kind of amazing to me that actors, comedians, photographers, dancers, and just anybody just in regular life, it seems to be an absolute universal force of nature, just like gravity.

Adam: 00:09:51 That’s interesting, because the first time that I read The War of Art, I thought, how does somebody ever get to this place of knowledge, of wisdom, of confidence to put it down on the page, to share it with others and say, Hey, I think I have something here that’s of use to you? 

You know, because that’s that voice of Resistance in me saying, that’s always there saying, well, is what I have to say, is it really special? Is it worthwhile to anybody else? Right? And so somebody who publishes a book like that, you know, it kind of feels like, wow, you’ve really got your life together.

Steve: 00:10:25 Not really, but I mean, my story, as far as how I sort of came to this knowledge, I mean, it’s in The War of Art, but, um, I start, I wrote up my first novel or try to write my first novel. And I was like 24. I quit a job and had saved money, et cetera, et cetera. And I got like 99.9% of the way through the novel. And I just blew it up. 

I just, you know, acted out as they say in psychotherapy. Um, I self-sabotage, I sabotaged myself and for the next, you know, six or seven years, Resistance just kicked my ass all over the place. And I was running away from writing and from confronting this demon and I didn’t even know what it was. I had no clue it even existed. And finally, after all of those struggles, I sort of, at one point, I don’t even remember when this happened, but I just sort of realized that it wasn’t me. It was another force. 

It was, and I gave a name to it in my own mind, not knowing that anybody else had this or anything. And that sort of, uh, helped me turn the corner. I was able to say that, you know, there is this demon out there, there isn’t this dragon that I have to slay every morning. And maybe I’m the only crazy one in the world that has to do this, but for sure, I’ve got to, this is the thing that’s kicking my butt every day. And so, um, after a while, I finally decided just to write it all down in a book and, and see if anybody else had that, had the same struggles that I have.

Adam: 00:11:59 You know, I’ve heard you talk about self-sabotage and not just as a writer, but as a human being. And I say it that way, because it resonates so much with me. And it continues to be a topic in my head to the point that, I mean, I’m, I’m, uh, I’m about 45 and I am having to catch myself in those moments. 

I have a wife, I have children, I have a life and I’m still having to catch myself in those moments and say, don’t run, don’t blow this up. It’s okay. Like, it can be small stuff, big stuff, whatever it is. 

And I certainly, throughout the years and have had those moments that, um, are pretty explosive in undermining whatever it is I’m doing in my life. And so it really hit home. What you’ve talked about with self-sabotage as a human, let alone the, the creative side.

Steve: 00:12:50 Yes. It does seem to be entirely in every aspect of our lives. I mean, anytime we’re trying to, and it never goes away. That’s the amazing thing, you know, I always thought, you know, will I ever master this thing and I could get it under control, but it never goes away. 

But anytime we try to move, you know, from a lower level to a higher level ethically, morally, take a political stand, uh, take, uh, you know, um, express a gift that we want to give to the world, Resistance is going to kick in. 

It’s, you know, an analogy that I, that I’ve used is like, if we have a dream — I’m putting my hand here as a, as an analogy — if we have a dream of a, let’s say a book we want to write or movie we want to make, as if we imagine this dream as a tree in the middle of a meadow on a sunny day. As soon as the dream appears, a shadow, its shadow appears, right? 

It casts a shadow of meaning and that shadow is Resistance. But the good news for that is that Resistance comes second. Before we have Resistance, we have the dream. So when we experience Resistance, it’s a good sign because it shows we’re onto something, that we have something, but the, the, the dark side of course is we always have to be aware of sabotaging ourselves because the force is there. 

I still work with it every day. I’m constantly monitoring myself and, you know, it never goes away.

Adam: 00:14:18 It’s interesting. And sort of comforting to learn that I’m not the only one who’s doing this or that it’s, that it’s more universal than I might’ve guessed. It’s not necessarily that I thought I was the only one, but we tend to, I think, when we see ourselves disrupt our lives, self-destruct in certain moments, tear down some things, lose out on the success we’re about to have, you know, it can feel like, well, I’m just a loser. Um, there’s something wrong with me. 

And, and we don’t necessarily understand it as such a universal thing. So it’s comforting that you share these things. And of course the word Resistance with a capital R is, is one aspect of that. It’s that force against us. And it’s that, that voice that sometimes this comes in the form of self-sabotage that we’re facing. And I’m curious if your relationship maybe it’s to the book but also to the idea has changed.

Steve: 00:15:15 In, in the one thing that, uh, that’s a positive for me that I see is I know that I have defeated it in the past, you know, every day for however many years it’s been. So that gives me courage that, that I can, I’ve done it before, so I can do it again. 

But on the other hand, the more I sort of observe my, my mental state and my capacity to sabotage myself, the more respect I have for this force called Resistance, that how diabolically desperate it is and how nuanced it is and how are the, the scams it tries to run on you get more and more subtle as you go along and also at the power never diminishes. 

So I, I have, uh, I have a great respect for it, but it is true too, that Resistance has no power of its own, then that we fuel it ourselves with our fear of it. So if we can overcome that fear, Resistance really can be just dismissed, you know, boom, it’s gone if we, if we have the right mindset for it. So it’s not like it’s this overpowering dragon, but yet if we allow it to be, it will be.

Adam: 00:16:32 Right. Okay. I want to step back in your history now a bit, um, you know, it seems to me that Resistance then is at the heart of existence. Um, on some level here, again, as, as humans,  

Steve: 00:16:44 It is, I think, yeah.

Adam: 00:16:45 I want to go back earlier then in your existence. And I want to refer to something that you brought up in conversation. I think it was, uh, in your recent podcast conversation with Tim Ferris. Ff not, it was with Rich Roll. Um, you brought up the author, Richard Rohr’s theory of our having two lives or two halves to life. 

And the first part being, uh, the shaping of the vessel, which comes from what is kind of put into, is put on us by society, by parents, teachers, everyone, right. They’re telling us kind of who we are. And as we see how we fit into that, and then the second half being, well, now we’re filling the vessel. 

We’re figuring out more of who we are for ourselves and what we want to do with that vessel. And you also liken that to the hero’s journey. And then there’s the second half being the artist’s journey. That’s what you’ve written about in The War of Art too. 

And I guess I’m curious then if we look back cause your, your artist’s journey, at least from the outside from afar kind of looks like, well, 20 books, you know, novels, nonfiction success, and you’re this voice on this, but you also have had to overcome that first half, that hero’s journey. 

And I’m curious if you can share something about that with us. Um, you know, you, you growing up, what was influencing you?

Steve: 00:18:05 Well, I certainly am a believer in Richard Rohr’s concept of the first half of life. And the second half of life. In my view, the first half is, is, is our hero’s journey. And what I mean by that is, um, we’re trying to find out who we are, right? We’re born into this life. And I believe we already are a personality. We already have a destiny. We already have a gift, but we have no idea what it is. 

Um, we’re, uh, it’s like we, we wake up on a, on a strange planet and we’ve just landed here, right? And we have to kind of poke around the area and find out where we are. And so the first half of our life, I think, is usually first overcoming the programming that society and our parents and the church and schools and everything has put onto us.  

00:18:55 You were supposed to do this, supposed to do that. You know, the coach expects you to be this, your mom and dad expect, you know, so, you know what we’re talking about. So overcoming that programming and then, um, finding, or, or going through that hero’s journey where you sort of leave behind the ordinary world. 

And this happens to all of us, whether we realize it or not, and, and getting to a point which usually involves hitting bottom, in some sense, it usually involves a moment where we just give up. We just say, I can’t, whatever I’m doing, I can’t do it this way anymore. You know, I’ve got to find another way and, and sort of surrendering to something. I don’t even know what it is, but eventually we in essence find our gift and find our calling. 

00:19:48  Like for me. And I went through a million jobs, I worked all over the country. I did all kinds of things. I failed over and over and over writing books, writing screenplays. And finally, I just sort of, I did reach a point where I said, okay, I’m a writer. This is my calling. I don’t care if I ever succeed or don’t succeed. This is what I’m going to do. I can’t do anything else. 

And at that point in the hero’s journey terms, that was for me, like Odysseus returning to Ithaca, you know, I was kind of back home. And even literally in my real life, I was back home. I came back to New York where I’m from. But at that point, I think just like Richard Rohr says, we now go to the second half of life where we built the vessel. And now we have to ask ourselves, what are we going to put in this freaking vessel? You know?  

So for me, I call it, now we’re on the artist’s journey. The hero’s journey is over. Now we’re on the artist’s journey. And on the artist’s journey, the question is, what is my gift? If I’m a writer, what, what am I supposed to write? What do I want to write? If I’m Bruce Springsteen, where is my E Street Band? You know, what songs am I going to write? What albums am I going to put out? 

And it’s of course, unique to all of us, right? Everyone has their own answer. But at that point, as I say, in, uh, in The Artist’s Journey, a book of mine, we’re like the Blues Brothers, you know, we’re on a mission from God. We’re no longer thrashing around, you know, uh, blowing our whole life up, over and over again. 

Now we’re on a mission to write the books we were born to write, to write the songs we were born to write, or to do the start-ups. We were born and put here to do whatever it is that we were supposed to do, to be a mom, to be whatever it is. 

And that, that is the second half of life for me. And we’re on that journey all the way to the end, as far as I’m concerned.

Adam: 00:21:42 What’s interesting with that journey to me is that while we can feel like there’s a calling here that we’re answering, we are still having to battle this Resistance. Like we’re talking about. It’s not like we suddenly feel like we’re imbued with this light of God, which from a spiritual sense, you know, there are many of us who believe that is that divine source within us that is driving this creativity and this artist’s journey. 

But it also is not just totally comforting us as if it’s all good. Like I have to remind myself all of this is unfolding. Like you mentioned destiny. It’s all unfolding in the way that it’s intended, but we don’t always feel comfortable in it.

Steve: 00:22:23 Yeah. I mean, it’s still a war. I mean, an analogy that I always make is like an alcoholic that joins AA, that moment when an alcoholic says, and I consider all of us alcoholics, we’re all alcoholics in the terms of Resistance. 

At that point, um, when someone hits bottom and says to themselves, I’ve got a problem with alcohol, I have to admit it. I cannot control this problem. It’s beyond me. I have to, I have to call on a higher power. I have to join AA and have a group of support people. I have to go to meetings, whatever. 

Yes, we’ve turned a corner, but we’re still in a war. And the war is every day. That’s why in AA they say it’s one day at a time. Right? And you get your one year of sobriety or two years of sobriety, whatever it is. I feel exactly the same way as a writer, that I have my one year sobriety, of not caving in to my own self sabotage. 

And there’s no guarantee at all that I’m going to get to year number two, number three, we’re still in a war. 

In fact, it may be more of a war, but the difference is we know it. We didn’t know it before. All we knew was we were getting our ass kicked and we didn’t really know what was happening to us. So now we know, you know, we have a devil. If it’s, if it’s alcohol, if it’s drugs, if it’s self-sabotage, we know we’ve got something that we’re not the master of. 

And from now on every day of our life, we have to gird our loins, psych ourselves up and go into that battle every day. But at least our eyes are open and we know who the enemy is.

Adam: 00:24:02 Yeah. That’s an amazing revelation. And I’ve not thought about it in that way, but it’s kind of like, Oh, wait, I am in a war. Now at least I know this. Let me, let me get my stance and prepare and, and face it.  

Steve: 00:24:14 Yeah. And that’s why certain people are so inspiring to us. You know, certain athletes that seem to be, you know, you read about the work ethic of a Michael Jordan or something like that. 

And it’s, it’s very inspiring because you say, well, maybe I can’t control the forces that are against me, but I can develop a work ethic. I can, I can, you know, put myself on a track and kick my own butt, be my own coach, be my own mentor, be my own Obiwan Kenobi, and, and try to stay on the path to being a Jedi Knight.

Adam: 00:24:45 And, and put in the work. And, you know, you mentioned that you went through some years of all kinds of jobs and things, which of course you have mentioned before in your writing. And I, and I believe in The War of Art. 

I think that that is such a fascinating thing about somebody’s personal story, because from all those different things, I mean, you were, you were an oil man roustabout, right? You’ve been a truck driver, a teacher, you’ve been on so many things. And how, you know, how much did that influence you do you think? 

Uh, just the whole path, you know, to pick up a nugget here, a nugget there to learn something about yourself in each of those experiences. So it’s just, it, I think it’s tremendous just to get that life experience.

Steve: 00:25:29 Um, it certainly was for me, it’s like, I really feel like, but we all do that in our own way. It’s different for everyone, in our own different way, you know, you might be a single mom and you had to go through, you know, X number of years of, you know, working two or three jobs or whatever it is, whatever hell, whatever ordeal that we go through. 

The thing, I wish somebody had told me is those struggles are a form of initiation. If you think about the hero’s journey and they’re, they’re really a self initiation we’re doing, we’re initiating ourselves and we have mentors along the way that we sort of run into. I mean, life just presents them to us and you’re absolutely right, Adam. It’s like, for me, it’s like a nugget here, a nugget there. I learned something from this person, something from that person. 

And, uh, it all kind of goes into the mix so that when I think of the years, when I was really struggling, they’re precious to me, you know, I consider it like a, you know, a diamond or something that I’ve got in my back pocket, you know, that I hope I never have to go back and do that stuff again. But I’m glad that I did it that that time, um, because there were a lot of lessons. 

Or the other thing is like, uh, I was watching, I don’t know if you’re a football fan or not, but I was watching Inside the NFL the other night and Michael Irvin, you know, the great wide receiver from the Dallas Cowboys was on. And they were talking about that. Uh, when he was playing, he had to run a lot of routes over the middle, meaning that he knew he was going to get wiped out by the defensive back or the linebacker, whatever it was.  

00:27:09 And they asked him, you know, how did you get the courage to do that? And he said, he would stay on the line of scrimmage and he would say to himself, either I do this or I’m going back to the ghetto. And he said, okay, I’m going over the middle. It’s better than going back to where I was. 

So I think that, uh, and he was laughing a lot when he said that, but, um, that’s kind of the way I feel about some of my years in the wilderness. I don’t want to go back there, but I’m glad I had that because it keeps me, I don’t want to do that again.  

Adam: 00:27:38 They’re all steps along the way. And it’s all going forward. Right?  

Steve: 00:27:43 It’s what it seems like from the end. You know, when you look back when, when you’ve done it and you look back, you go, Oh, it all makes sense. But of course, while you’re in the middle of it, you’re just completely confused.

Adam: The value of that hindsight. But I’d like to think that as, at least as I get older, and I imagine it’s the case for a lot of people, we start to at least get a little better at recognizing the value of things and, and gaining this perspective. 

Like, like you’ve said, I now know that I’m in a battle against Resistance. So as I’m in that I do a little bit better, I’d like to think, than when I was younger, at recognizing, boy, this sucks, but there’s going to be something come from it and you know, that’s good.

Um, I want to ask you about A Man at Arms now. Okay. It’s your new novel, I believe it’s your 20th book published. Is that correct? And it’s kind of amazing to me too, that it’s a fairly even split it looks like between fiction and nonfiction.  

Steve: Yeah. I think that’s true. Yeah. Yeah.  

Adam: 00:28:45 We will get into something here with more of the details of A Man at Arms, but first I’m thinking that I remember you saying maybe on a video that you posted on Instagram or something at one point, about The War of Art. That is actually where I was introduced to you and your work.

I now have made that crossover to fiction. And I think that you have said that that often doesn’t happen, right? That you tend to have The War of Art crowd, which is not just The War of Art. There’s The Artist’s Journey. There’s Turning Pro, there’s Doing the Work. There’s, there are a number of books. 

And then you have folks who read things, your novels that are like A Man at Arms, Gates of Fire, and many more of those. 

How do you, do you actually have sort of two readerships, two audiences that you’re talking to here?

Steve: 00:29:34  I do, yeah. It’s been very frustrating to me because I’ve tried to get, figure it out and neither side it seems wants to cross over to the other. I, uh, I just have to accept that. It just seems to be the way it is. Um, but you can definitely tell, um, people from the emails that I get, you know, from people in these two different silos, they’re, they’re, they’re quite different and the twain just doesn’t seem to meet. I’m not sure why.

Adam: 00:30:00 But there is, there is common ground. I’m thinking you ask you present, whether it’s in nonfiction, so you’re directly speaking, or if it’s in your novels and those are vehicles that are talking about similar, big life questions. And we’re talking about spirituality, we’re talking about the warrior ethos and an archetype in metaphor, as well as at points, literally.

Steve: Yeah. It’s really each side of these silos are the same. You know, the, the fiction that I write is pretty much the Resistance is a metaphor. I’m coming with a metaphor. A lot of them are military stories, war stories, you know, time with, with big villains and stuff like that. And it’s, it’s really the same hero’s journey that you and I are on as artists only it’s expressed in, in, uh, in metaphorical terms as, as a war, as a, as an ordeal or as initiation or, or whatever.

Adam: 00:30:59 I think it’s interesting that they stay siloed. But I guess I would have to say that I, I can understand that. I have spent much of my life focusing more on the non-fiction side of reading and writing period. But I’m so glad that I’ve made the crossover to your fiction work. 

You, you gave me this opportunity to read A Man at Arms, um, in, in advance, in preparation for this call. And I thank you for that, but I’ve also read Gates of Fire. And now I’m looking through your shelf, uh, length of work here of all these books. And I’m like, well, here’s my reading list. You know, both sides of the silos are broken down. And so I would encourage anybody to give that a shot and consider that. 

Um, let’s talk about A Man at Arms. Now, more specifically though.

Steve: There’s a character. I only have one recurring character in my, in my fiction. And it’s a, uh, his, his name is Telemon of Arcadia. And he’s kind of like the Clint Eastwood, man with no name of the ancient world. You know, the one man killing machine of the ancient world, like a samurai, he’s like a solitary mercenary that has appeared in three prior books, um, always as a minor character.

And he’s been a fascinating character to me. Kind of an alter ego to me and that I don’t even understand his whole, his whole background. He’s got a philosophy and a whole, uh, a view of the world that he sort of brought, appeared fully blown on the page. I didn’t really create it, but in any event people have said to me, and I’ve said to myself, I want to write a book about this guy alone and really explore his, his journey.  

00:32:39 And so this book, A Man at Arms, is entirely about this one character. Who’s sort of mystified me over the years and been a recurring character. And the story not to, I, I don’t want to belabor anything here, but the story takes place in Jerusalem and the Sinai desert a few years after the crucifixion. 

So it’s definitely set in the, in the ancient world. And, um, it is written, um, as a Western with this character, Telamon, like a Clint Eastwood character with bad guys that are after him, good guys that he’s trying to help and a whole kind of action adventure that becomes a spiritual passage. It’s really like The War of Art, but it, but done as fiction.

Adam: 00:33:26 I had heard you mention or refer to this as sort of a model from that Western place. And it was Eastwood that came to my mind, um, as just this stoic, you know, character, that’s just, he’s got all the skills and he’s just a bad dude who can handle himself, but he’s not, he’s not going to talk about it. He’s not, you know, he’s, he’s just going through life and whatever gets in his way, mowing it down. He’s, he’s a tough guy.

Steve: 00:33:49 That character, I think the man with no name, the solitary samurai, that kind of thing, I think is all of us. You know, when you and I are talking about the inner battles that we’re fighting, that that’s really us today. 

I think we’re sort of, uh, each of us is kind of cut off from any collective, uh, ideals that we might’ve had, that our parents’ generation, our grandparents’ generation might’ve had. And we’re in a kind of a, uh, a no man’s land where everything’s up to us. We have to form our own code, our own concept of honor. We have to decide what’s good, what’s bad. So on and so forth. 

And when you have a character like that in a, in a story like a Western or like a samurai movie, we usually meet them at the end of their rope. They’ve usually exhausted whatever it is they’ve had, like, they may be great gunslingers or great swordsman or whatever it is, but that’s not enough for them.

And they’re sort of questioning. And they usually encounter some kind of situation in any one of these stories, including A Man at Arms, where they usually encounter a vulnerable character. It might be a woman, it might be a child. It might be people who are being oppressed that need help. And that vulnerable character changes them, that they, it brings them to a crisis where they kind of have to decide between fear and love. 

And, and it’s really what you and I go through internally too, right? When we’re on our artist’s journey, the second half of our life, we’ve made that switch. And now our question is what is our gift and what, and what we going to give to our brothers and sisters. But that passage that’s initiation, that hero’s journey.

That’s the interesting thing in all these movies and samurai movies in Western movies and mad max movies and gangster movies and books of the same type. And so that’s what this story is. And that’s what this character of Telemon is.

Adam: 00:35:58 I want to talk about leadership. That was, uh, I think a subject that also, a word that came to mind in various books of yours that I’ve read. I am a believer, a big believer in the importance of leadership and in leadership as a matter of lead from where you are, meaning you don’t have to be bestowed with title or granted this power as with people formally listed underneath you, whether that’s in a corporation, whether it’s in military, what have you, you know. 

Leadership seems to be something that pops up here, whether we’re talking about it in again, Gates of Fire, um, some amazing examples of it in there. And I would say that you also demonstrate leadership simply by sharing what it is you have, whether that’s, uh, The War of Art, or any of these points that you’re raising in your books. 

What is the leadership aspect of this for you? What does its role or, or significance as a topic and thing in your life?

Steve: 00:36:57 It’s a great question because I really, as, as a writer, I’m just by myself like you, right? I don’t have anybody under me or anybody that I’m commanding or trying to do anything. So for me, leadership is more about self-leadership. It’s, it’s really, um, again, it comes back to Resistance and it comes back to the concept of self-sabotage, that I’m trying to lead myself. 

You know, there’s the, the, uh, the classic thing of that, uh, the infantry lieutenant says to his guys, follow me and he goes into the, uh, or she, charges into the teeth of the enemy. And the question is, are your guys going to follow you, you know? Are you going to be the only one, you know? And so I’m trying to do that with my own, with my own self. I’m trying to charge the enemy, hoping that the rest of me is going to follow.

So again, I do write about leadership a lot, and I, I think about it as a metaphor where, you know, in Times of War, which was my third book, I think, it’s about an Athenian, a true Indian character named Al <inaudible>. And, uh, they asked him at one point, how do you, how do you lead free men? In other words, not slaves, not servants, but free people. And his answer was by being better than they are, and by demonstrating it for them. 

And this was sort of the concept that Alexander the Great used, where he would, he was always the first to charge at the enemy, ride on his war horse, wearing a double-plumed helmet and distinctive armor so that everybody on the field could see who it was. 

And I try to do that with myself. You know, I’m not leading others, but I’m trying to be Alexander charging into the teeth of the enemy so that the rest of me will follow. And, and, uh, so that’s kind of the way leadership actually works in my real life.

Adam: 00:39:05 You’re tapping into something there because it certainly comes through you and into the characters, into the storylines and all of these things, which then as a reader, you know, in my seat, and it’s, it seems surely to have resonated with so many of your readers, you have many of these, again, big life questions that you raise. 

And all of what you’re writing is, to me, that’s really the heart of this, right? You’ve chosen ancient warfare, for example, and, and warriorism as a recurring method for you to present these topics. But ultimately, well, maybe I shouldn’t just assume this for you. I’ll ask the question. How much of this is your interest in ancient warfare and how much is this a vehicle for the metaphors and for things like leadership and Resistance and those things that really are at the heart of what you’re working with?

Steve: 00:39:57 It’s, it’s a little bit of both. I think, Adam, it’s like, um, I would say it’s a metaphor, uh, but beyond that, there’s something beyond that. And it’s mysterious. I’m not sure what it is. 

I mean, I’m a believer in previous lives and, you know, I don’t have any specific memories from that era, but somehow that era is tremendously congenial to me, the ancient world, ancient Greece, ancient Rome. And when I read about it, I, you know, some people love the Civil War. I’m sure we all have friends that they can’t get enough books about the Civil War, right. Or, or, uh, you know, uh, Downton Abbey, people love, you know, the British Royals or whatever. 

Who knows whether it’s a previous life or whatever, but that era, the ancient world definitely is kind of my, a place where I feel at home. I definitely don’t feel at home in this century. And so I would say it’s a metaphor, but I think there’s something beyond that. I can’t, obviously I can’t put my finger on it, but, um, maybe I was alive back then. I don’t know, but I’m definitely drawn to that era and I feel absolutely at home in it.

Adam: 00:41:08 I think it’s important to pay attention to the things we pay attention to. Right? And it’s, what is it that’s calling to me? What is it that I am drawn to? And then just to accept it, because I think for me, I tend to look for, as if there are concrete answers, well, what is it I’m supposed to be, that should, what should I be doing? What should I be paying attention to? Or how should I? And you, it sounds like you’ve just listened, you know, you’ve paid attention to what has gotten your attention. 

Steve: 00:41:35 yeah. In fact, let me say this about like A Man at Arms now, I think is my sixth book set in that, in the ancient world. And I never, at the start set out to do that. There was no, there was no five-year plan. There was no game plan. It was a complete surprise to me that I was drawn to this era and I wrote one book, Gates of Fire. And then I thought, well, I’ll write another. And then I’ll write another. And, you know, pretty soon I had six of them. 

Um, but again, it’s, it’s, I think that we, as, as artists are not expressing ourselves, I’ve said this, but we’re discovering ourselves. And we discover ourselves through the work that we produce. And a lot of times that work is a surprise to us, at least in my experience, is a real surprise. I look back on things I’ve done. I’ve no clue that, you know, I didn’t intend to do it. Uh, I don’t know why I was drawn to it, but some greater intelligence I believe is guiding us. And our job, like you just said is not to fight it, you know, to just accept it and, and, and run with it.

Adam: Did it take you a while to learn, to trust that and get out of your own way? I feel like I’m in an ongoing battle to get out of my own way.  

Steve: Yeah. It took me like 30 years. That was sort of the main fight for me was, um, internal fight to trust that, you know, just stop fighting it, you know.

Adam: 00:43:03 Uh, my wife, Becca she’s that sounding board and that support, you know, to constantly say, you’re still in your way, you’ve got to get out of your way. And I’m like, I’m trying, I believe you. I just don’t know how, you know. 

You know, service is another recurring sort of topic or word. It comes to mind with things like what you’re writing about. Um, in some of these books that I have read so far, again, I’ll refer to Gates of Fire because you know, that story of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae is, is the service to each other, uh, to country and all those things. 

And I don’t mean to dip back into, to the book necessarily as much as service I think is a thing that you and I also value. And in a way, our creative work is service to that Muse. Uh, just like the Muse serves us. But we’re also both military veterans and I’m, I’m interested. I’ve never heard you talk. Maybe I’ve just missed the conversations where you maybe have, but I’ve never heard you talk about your experience as a Marine, other than just to reference it in The War of Art. 

What was that experience for you? Is it, is it anything that lingers for you? And as a matter of, boy, that was a shaping time?

Steve: 00:44:21 Very much. I mean, I was, I was not a combat Marine or, uh, you know, I never went to war. I was a reservist. I was an infantry man in the reserves. So basically my whole Marine experience training rather than in actual combat or anything like that. 

But when I got out of the Marine Corps, I wanted to forget it as fast as I possibly could, but I found in the years since then that, uh, it has really stuck with me. And then I find myself that it was a tremendously formative experience for me in many, many ways and ways that I still don’t don’t really understand. 

You know, um, the, the idea of, of, um, of service I’ve sort of, uh, transposed into the artist’s form of service, you know, just like it’s like, what is my gift and how can I give it to my, to my brothers and sisters rather, so that, that then military service is just a metaphor for that, but the real service is, um, but it’s also a great initiation, you know?

Cause you, you, you learn, you know, you’re put through a process and you learn what that’s about, but the ultimate expression of it is, is in our work and in our art, what is our gift? What are we put here to produce, to give to our brothers and sisters to help them, you know, because again, what we were talking about before about the passage from fear to love? 

I mean, I think that’s the passage we all go through in our life. You know, it goes with Richard Rohr’s concept of first half of life, and second half. First half is about fear. Second half is about love, I think, if we’re on the right track.

Adam: 00:46:03 I want to ask you about the transition between those journeys, by the way, because I feel like I am, um, I’m taking a long time in that transition space. It seems, you know, and, and I’m wondering if that if, if you have any sense of that, whether it’s from yourself or because you do hear from so many readers and friends who are creatives and things like that, you know.

I feel like I’ve been on about a four year transition between, you know, at one point there was a clear, Hey, I left the corporate world behind. I had this nagging sense that these are the things, the gifts I want to put into the world. And I also still feel like, well, I haven’t quite cracked through the shell to get over that.

Steve: Ah, that’s a great question, Adam. My answer in my own life, I’m trying to think of the moment that I had, where I first sort of really made the, made that change was, I think it was probably at least 20 years after that, before it really fully materialized in my life. In other words, I think only in movies and books does it happen overnight. 

You know, I think I would say that there were many, many sort of mini moments for me, you know, along the path, um, where each one I thought, Oh, is this the one, is this the one where I’m finally gonna come out on the other side and be fully reborn? And you know, it was not. You know, it’d take another one after that and another one after that and another one after that. 

So I do think, you know, if it’s taken you a few years, it may take you a few more years. Certainly took me a long time and there were many, many moments and then they continue.

Adam: 00:47:43 I, I think that’s comforting? You know, at least it makes me feel like, well, I’m not, I’m not missing it. I’m not like, you know, Oh, I missed my turn there. It was, you know, two years ago. And I, you know, I somehow have stalled out. It’s, it’s just a matter of it all being part of the process, I think.

Steve: While we’re talking about this, like in The War of Art, I tell a story about a night when I was in a sublet apartment in New York. And I finally sat down to my trusty old typewriter. And for the first time I was able to write and actually feel good at the end of it instead of feeling in despair. So that was like a huge moment for me. That was a really turning point. 

But if we fast forward, you know, another five years later, I’ve now written like three or two novels, total failures, can’t get ’em published. Everybody hates them. My own mother won’t read them even. I hate them. And I’m ready now in, in another apartment in New York, right to like hang myself. Cause I know I can’t do this again. And at that point I have another breakthrough and I say, let me go to Hollywood.  

I’ve given up being a novelist. I can’t do it. I’m a loser, I’m a bomb. I can’t do it. Let me go out to Hollywood and try to be a screenwriter. So then, so this is whatever, five or six years later then cut to like another 10 years where finally I actually write a book and it actually gets published. 

So that’s a long, long road. And there were many moments in Hollywood that were, you know, more or less last moments where I thought I’ve, I can’t do this anymore. I don’t know what I’m going to do. And so in other words, what I’m just saying is it’s a process.  

Adam: 00:49:23 It’s a great reminder. And it actually brings up The War of Art. Again, I imagine it’s something that, and tell me if it’s too much and we need to stop because so many people talk about The War of Art with you. 

You know, I sort of feel like, by the way, that this is one of those things, it’s like, you’re the Stones on stage, and , everybody wants you to play the classics, but you’re like, but we have a new album, you know? I don’t want to wear you out on that.

Steve: It’s alright. I understand.

Adam: You know what? I even forgot why I was going to bring up this time. So we’ll, we’ll roll forward. Um, and it probably will come back to me. But I want to, I want to go into the topic of spirituality and faith, because that is another thread that runs through.  

00:50:02 I mean, you reference God, uh, the Muse, there’s all kinds of forms, right, that people take, words that people use in describing what this is to them and their experience. And it’s in The War of Art. It’s in these various books that you mention. 

In A Man at Arms, it’s only in the years right after the crucifixion of Christ. So this is a common thread through your work as well. And I’m wondering about the essence of that faith or spirituality, however, you might look at it in your life, and why it’s important to bring that out in your writing.

Steve: 00:50:33 Um, that’s another great question. I mean, I certainly believe, uh, you know, when you’re a writer, as you know, Adam, you, the first thing you learn is that the stuff that you put on the page is not coming from you. It’s coming from some other place that you can’t identify. You can’t see, you can’t touch, you can’t feel, you can’t command, you can’t summon. And so you inevitably ask yourself, what is that place? And what does it mean that there is this other dimension of reality, whether you call it your unconscious, whether you call it the Muse, whether you call it the Jungian Self. 

But there, there is that other place. And beyond that, I’ve found in my own life that, um, dreams are tremendously important to me and have come in my own dreams at night, sleeping at night, not your dreams of success or whatever it is. 

Um, and that many times dreams have, have pointed me, been mentors to me at junctures in my life where I was really lost. I’ve had a dream that pointed me in the right direction or that reassured me, or gave me strength or something.

And so you have to ask yourself, well, where does this come from? You know, is there, and, uh, and again, it, it makes you humble in the sense that you realize, um, just, you know, the little guy here at the tiller of his very big boat and it’s being driven by wind and it’s being driven by other things other than me. And if I think I’m in command, I’m just, I’m fooling myself, you know? 

So I’m, I’m not a practitioner of any specific religion, you know, I don’t, uh, you know, I don’t go to any specific church, but I very much believe that my life is happening and that all our lives are happening on a level below consciousness that we have no concept of what, of what it is we’re being driven and, and, and taught and mentored and led by some force that I believe is a benevolent force. And, and our job on this planet is to tune into that cosmic radio station and, and follow it.

Adam: 00:52:54 Right. We are on video also. And I can see on the back there, on, on the cabinet or something behind you, is that Krishna?

Steve: That’s Krishna, yeah. That’s actually Bagger Vance as Krishna. He has a golf club in his hand, but, uh, you know, that’s, so that’s a gesture honoring the creative force and the force that we can’t put our fingers on.

Adam: And, and of course he, you know, is, is a spiritual figure for those who, um, especially in, in my experience, relates to yoga as a spiritual practice, is in the Bhagavad Gita, which is a book that you’ve also, um, spent some time with, I know, and in fact have shared through videos on Instagram, uh, in kind of breaking that down. 

And it’s an interesting thing because that story, that song is it originally was, um, was created, relates everything we’re talking about here in terms of like Resistance or fear and those things, but also in the context of a war. And so it’s a really interesting, to me, cross section between the spiritual aspects of, of what you work with and that set in war.

Steve: 00:54:11 I mean, you know, life is a battle, you know, I think life is a war. I mean, if we had Jesus here with us right now, and we asked him, you know, how, what was your inner experience of your life and your crucifixion? He would say it was a hell of a war, right? There were a lot of enemies, moments of doubt, and a lot of, and it all came down to a sacrifice of your own life, which is what a soldier does. 

Um, and I think that’s, that’s pretty much true for any hero in any story, a cowboy and a detective, whatever. And the reason it resonates with our own souls. Right? We all know we’re in that same battle. Right?

Adam: 00:54:49 Yeah. You know, we’ve talked about, I am going to get back into A Man at Arms real quick, because there’s something here that I also feel like is a through-line. And it comes out in this book and it’s a point between the character, Michael and the character Telamon. 

And we, again Telamon is that stoic mercenary, and he’s not believing in a whole lot. And Michael is, is a believer, you know, he’s carrying this message and he’s, uh, uh, of, of Christ. He was at the crucifixion, which by the way, sort of blew my mind because I, I mean, I, I don’t practice in that way with faith, but it also kind of never occurred to me. And here I am, I’m set in this world of this book, and there’s a character who is at this momentous occurrence in the history of the world. 

And my point is that they end up in a conversation about this, Hey, I’m a believer. Hey, I’m not. Really what I got out of it was connection, the necessity of connection in our lives. And, and of course connection is, is a huge word for me. It’s part of what I do here with Humanitou. And I, and I wonder about your thoughts on that as kind of yet another thread interweaving with these other things we’ve already mentioned.

Steve: 00:55:57 It absolutely is, Adam. It’s like, and, um, it’s what we were talking about before, about the passage from fear to love, you know, the concept of fear is that we’re isolated in our own bodies, our own physical envelope, and we’re fearful. It’s what’s going to happen to us, right? And protecting ourselves. 

Whereas love is reaching out to another, another person to love them, to let them love you. And to go beyond our simple ego, you know, not I’m looking out for me, I’m worried about me, I’ve got to take care of me, which again, connects to Richard Rohr first half of life, second half of life, or it connects back to the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, where they, they gave, uh, their lives out of love, right? Love for their brothers, love for their, for their country, love for, um, their families, stuff like that.

And in A Man at Arms, it’s the same, it’s the same story where a character starts in an isolated, uh, ego only of frame of mind and through events and through people that he meets and affection that develops, you know, he moves to us to a state of, of love, which I think is what, it’s our, it’s all of our passage through life. 

That’s what it’s all about unless we happen to get sidetracked or in some state of arrested development. But if it’s gonna work, you know, we make that passage from fear to love.

Adam: 00:57:26 I think, where you have a great opportunity to be looking at that, and what’s going on in our politics, culture and in society right now, we have a disconnection, a huge division and a lot of fear. And we’re missing out on the love part a bit. 

And you’ve written about, um, tribalism, fundamentalism. Those were two chapters, one, the tribalism, you mentioned in a chapter in The Warrior Ethos, your book named The Warrior Ethos. You wrote about fundamentalism in The War of Art, and both of those, your clarity on being able to kind of put some words and sense to that for me, actually brought some comfort to me in trying to understand some of these aspects of what’s going on in the world. 

And I have noticed from, from afar, of course, because we are just now meeting for the first time in conversation, that you strike me as someone who is, um, very calm and even-keeled in, in your capacity to walk and talk with people of all stripes and political and world views. Am I reading that well with you?  

Steve: I try to do that, Adam, I try.  

Adam: 00:58:31 How do you manage that? You know, you, you’ve mentioned a little bit, like, I know you tend not to talk about politics, at least that’s, that’s my, what I’m witnessing here, I think from afar, and you have said in a video or two recently about, Hey, I’m also like all of you, I’m tired of what we’re feeling and seeing out here and that we really need to come back together. 

I’m curious if you have any thoughts on how we can kind of take that position of seeing each other as brothers and sisters, like you just mentioned and finding that love and less fear.

Steve: I mean, in a way I, um, nothing is going to shake my faith in America or in American’s basic decency. You know, we are, you know, not that we’re better than any other nation, but we’re a good people underneath it all, you know, and in many ways I think a lot of the strife that we’re having, a lot of the tribalism and partisanship we have is because we don’t have any great enemy on the outside. 

You know, the aliens have not invaded, you know, uh, or it’s not World War II again, where we would immediately come together, if that were the case. But I think we’re, I’m actually optimistic, even though it doesn’t seem that there’s much cause for it now, but I think, um, you know, I’ll go back to, I’m going to get a little deep here, but bear with me for a second.  

And one of my favorite passages in ancient literature is from, uh, Pericles’ funeral oration at Athens during the Peloponnesian war. One of the things he talks about is, um, he praises the citizens of Athens as being better and different from all of the other Greek cities. 

And of course all of the barbarians and the rest of the world and their point of view of the Persians and so on and so forth. And he says something like, I’m rightly say of every, each one of our citizens that he, it had to be he in those days, because women were not part of the deal, unfortunately, he is the rightful Lord and owner of his own person. 

And I think that’s an incredible concept that had never happened before, the idea of the citizen that was a free individual and, and the rightful Lord and owner of his own person. And I think we, in America, that’s been our ideal from the beginning, but we’ve never come close to it. You know? 

And I think now over the last few years when we’ve seen the divisions and the hate, I think, I think people on this podcast we’re doing right now is really part of this. I think because people are listening to us and saying, are they full of shit? Are they for real, you know? But hopefully they’re trying to absorb what we’re saying, and we’re trying to say something, but I think we’re coming to the point in America, I hope we’ll live up to that a little bit more that we are the rightful Lord and owner of our own person, but that we are also part of a community and it’s not, it’s not okay to say, Hey, I’m with my own tribe and screw everybody else.

That is not okay. It’s not going to work that as our, as a citizen, we have to somehow find a way to reach out to people that don’t believe the same things we do for the good of all of us. And it’s, again, it’s that same thing of passage from fear to love. 

And, um, and I think we’ve never, I think about my parents’ generation, sorry, if I’m blathering on here at, at all, in my parents’ generation, which was the World War II generation, the Greatest Generation, they never really had to worry so much about being isolated individuals like you. And I do, you know, they were part of a greater, a greater community. 

Um, and, uh, uh, like for my, my dad, his dream for me was that I would get a job and work for general motors or the American can company or something like that, and live my whole life when that job, right? But those days are completely gone and everybody’s individual, we all know that we can be fired at any moment that they can take away our health insurance at any moment in the world of sports. Everybody’s a free agent. 

Everybody’s dispensable, even Tom Brady can be kicked off of the Patriots. And, uh, so we’re back to trying to bring into reality that idea of being the rightful Lord and owner of our own person, and being able to make decisions for our own self, not be carried away by partisanship and all that sort of stuff, but by the broader picture of what’s good for the whole country and the whole world. So I’m sorry I rambled on there, but that’s my thought on that.

Adam: 01:03:34 Not at all. I appreciate your thoughts. And, you know, that brings to mind that in the past year with the pandemic in, and of course it was an election year, so there were a lot of particulars with politics and things there. 

But one of the things that my wife and I’ve been coming back to over and over is, wow, this year has really been useful in the sense — obviously the, I mean, the disclaimer there, because we have not suffered in the way that some others have suffered — but it has been useful in the sense of our pulling back into understanding that we need to take some responsibilities here for ourselves, for our family, for how we go about things and not just expect these systems or certain structures to just keep carrying us forward. 

Like we, we realized a renewed sense of responsibility to ourselves, but then of course, to the community as well.

Steve: Yeah. That’s a great way of putting it, Adam, a renewed sense of responsibility. Which we, a lot of us, including me didn’t really have before.

Adam: 01:04:32 So Steve, there are so, so many things I would love to talk with you about, um, so many questions and all these things, and we could be here forever. And I know that’s always the case, especially you’ve built such a body of work and it’s had such an impact and it does for me, and it does for so many others and those listening now, but I’m going to wrap it up here. 

I think we have at least touched on a number of threads and I’m going to bring us back to wrap up with the word connection, because I think it, all of what we’re talking about can be distilled down to this sense of connection to ourselves and to others. And that really, that is the piece that lies on the other side of Resistance. 

Us as individual artists will, what we’re trying to fight through that Resistance to do is connect with that higher within ourselves, and then give something that connects to the community and to the larger world. And I feel like you are the guy who has done so much work that shows us that path, that doorway and that sort of proof it’s there. 

And it’s something to at least take heart in and then go explore ourselves. Is that all fair? Is that too much?

Steve: No, I think, uh, I thank you for those kind words. I think you’ve really said it exactly right. That’s what we’re trying to do is break through this negative force to connect to our own higher self and then connect to others, to our fellow, our brothers and sisters.

Adam: 01:05:52 It’s been such a fantastic honor to share in this conversation with you today, Steve. Thanks so much for joining me. I love your work. I’m becoming an even bigger fan the more of the books that I read, and I really appreciate getting to kind of tap into my curiosities here and, and have you on the other side of this for me to throw out some of those questions.  

Steve: Well, thanks so much for having me, Adam. Thanks for inviting me. It was great to be here. I’m happy to do it again anytime you want to. 

Adam: Oh, that would be wonderful. Yeah.

[Transition Music] 

OUTRO

So that was my conversation with best-selling author Steven Pressfield.

You can learn more about Steve and references made throughout this conversation in the show notes published with relevant links and an episode transcript on the website, at humanitou.com. 

If you appreciate what you’ve just listened to, consider rating and reviewing the Humanitou Podcast on your podcast player, and spreading the word on your social media pages, and by word of mouth with your family and friends.

Together, we can build a more compassionate, creative and thoughtful world.

I’m Adam Williams, creator and host of the Humanitou Podcast. 

Thanks for being here.

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