“Turning Pro” Quotes

I recently finished reading “Turning Pro” by Steven Pressfield. (See quotes from his other book here.) Here’s the parts I found most interesting, as always if you like the quotes, please buy the full book.

“When we turn pro, we give up a life with which we may have become extremely comfortable. We give up a self that we have come to identify with and to call our own. We may have to give up friends, lovers, even spouses.” L144

“I have come to believe, is the most primal and sacred fundament of our being. To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence.” L193

“When we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. Its shape is similar, its contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us.” L229

“No one is born a pro.” L267

“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.” L318

“We can never free ourselves from habits. The human being is a creature of habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.” L320

“Both addict and artist are dealing with the same material, which is the pain of being human and the struggle against self-sabotage. But the addict/amateur and the artist/professional deal with these elements in fundamentally different ways.” L348

“The amateur is an egotist. He takes the material of his personal pain and uses it to draw attention to himself.” L374

“Professionals manipulate them for the good of others.” L379

“They had achieved the kind of peace that comes when you’ve already fallen so far that you don’t have to worry about falling any farther.” L486

“The life we call “normal” isn’t normal at all. A spouse and kids, a mortgage, a 9-to-5 job…who said that was life? What’s so great about working in a factory or a cubicle?” L494

“We’re addicted to failure, we enjoy it. Each time we fail, we are secretly relieved.” L545

“Stanislavsky’s famous three questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What do I want?” L552

“The amateur identifies with his own ego. He believes he is “himself.” That’s why he’s terrified.” L726

“The amateur is a narcissist. He views the world hierarchically. He continuously rates himself in relation to others, becoming self-inflated if his fortunes rise, and desperately anxious if his star should fall.” L727

“Paradoxically, the amateur’s self-inflation prevents him from acting. He takes himself and the consequences of his actions so seriously that he paralyzes himself.” L746

“The amateur believes that, before she can act, she must receive permission from some Omnipotent Other — a lover or spouse, a parent, a boss, a figure of authority. The amateur sits on a stool, like Lana Turner at Schwab’s, waiting to be discovered.” L785

“The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do your work in the present.” L805

“That gang or posse that we imagine is sustaining us by the bonds we share is in fact a conglomeration of individuals who are just as fucked up as we are and just as terrified. Each individual is so caught up in his own bullshit that he doesn’t have two seconds to worry about yours or mine, or to reject or diminish us because of it.” L842

“Habits and qualities that the professional possesses that the amateur doesn’t: 1. The professional shows up every day 2. The professional stays on the job all day 3.The professional is committed over the long haul 4. For the professional, the stakes are high and real Further: 5. The professional is patient 6. The professional seeks order 7. The professional demystifies 8. The professional acts in the face of fear 9. The professional accepts no excuses 10. The professional plays it as it lays 11. The professional is prepared 12. The professional does not show off 13. The professional dedicates himself to mastering technique 14. The professional does not hesitate to ask for help 15. The professional does not take failure or success personally 16. The professional does not identify with his or her instrument 17. The professional endures adversity 18. The professional self-validates 19. The professional reinvents herself 20.The professional is recognized by other professionals.” L1066

“The amateur tweets. The pro works.” L1078

“The professional knows when he has fallen short of his own standards. He will murder his darlings without hesitation, if that’s what it takes to stay true to the goddess and to his own expectations of excellence.” L1091

“Horses understand the whip, but I don’t want a racer that runs that way. A horse that loves to run will beat a horse that’s compelled, every day of the week.” L1103

“Never train your animal to exhaustion. Leave him wanting more.” L1107

“The amateur spends his time in the past and the future. He permits himself to fear and to hope. The professional has taught himself to banish these distractions.” L1110

“The professional does not wait for inspiration; he acts in anticipation of it.” L1129

“In order to achieve “flow,” magic, “the zone,” we start by being common and ordinary and workmanlike.” L1179

“The professional trusts the mystery. He knows that the Muse always delivers. She may surprise us. She may give us something we never expected.” L1322

“Two key tenets for days when Resistance is really strong: 1. Take what you can get and stay patient. The defense may crack late in the game. 2. Play for tomorrow.” L1366

“Our work is a practice. One bad day is nothing to us. Ten bad days are nothing.” L1378

As always, if you enjoy the quotes, I recommend buying the full book.

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