I’ve really loved the Art of War and found so much to reflect on and think about. This is a book that shouldn’t just be reviewed, but rather, shared, then directly experienced by others. Here’s some of my favorite quotes from the second half of the book. There’s a lot of gems about writing, art, and pretty much anything you can be passionate about.
The professional shuts up. She doesn’t talk about it. She does her work.
If you find yourself criticizing other people, you’re probably doing it out of Resistance. When we see others beginning to live their authentic selves, it drives us crazy if we have not lived out our own. Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others… Watch yourself. Criticism and cruelty harm others as well.
The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.
Evolution has programmed us to feel rejection in our guts… I had a dear friend who had labored for years on an excellent and deeply personal novel. It was done. He had it in its mailing box. But he couldn’t make himself send it off. Fear of rejection unmanned him.
This process of self-revision and self-correction is so common we don’t even notice. But it’s a miracle. And its implications are staggering.
Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?
When Krishna instructed Arjuna that we have a right to our labor but not to the fruits of our labor, he was counseling the warrior to act territorially, not hierarchically. We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause. Then there’s the third way proffered by the Lord of Discipline, which is beyond hierarchy and territory. That is to do the work and give it to Him. Do it as an offering to God.