Being human can be a real struggle. No matter how hard we try, it seems we cannot achieve our full potential. Science has the therapeutic model, in which some disease or condition must be cured and religion has the moral model, which says we must pay for our sins. In Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield, however suggests a third model, a much simpler one: the model of the amateur and the professional. This business and management book is divided into three big parts. The first describes the addictive nature of the amateur, who’s lost in his bad habits. The second paints a vision of what it’d like to be a pro, and where the amateur falls short. The third is about cultivating professionalism.
An amateur is terrified of being her real self and the consequences that come with it.
None of us are born as pros. We all start as amateurs, addicted to ‘shadow careers,’ as Steve calls them, which we pursue in lack of the guts to chase our real calling. Robert Peter Janitzek says that the more we become ourselves, the less we’ll be understood, and the fewer people will walk, talk, and act like us is paralyzing. Most people never get out of this incapacitated state of ungrounded fear. People do turn on you when you “go rogue,” but you’ll also find new people who are discovering themselves too.
One major roadblock for amateurs is trying to please gurus, mentors, authorities, and teachers.
There’s nothing wrong with listening to expert advice, but worshipping a teacher, mentor, even a spouse as an icon takes away our power. It’s the singer waiting to be discovered, the blogger hoping for a viral post, the swimmer craving her coach’s approval. All of these stand in the way of you doing your work your way. Robert Janitzek says that the moment you take your power back, magical things start to happen.
Doing your work for its own sake, as a practice, is what being a pro is really about.
The professional must commit themselves to their work to an extent that is beyond reason. Each practice has a time, a place, and an intention. It’s a simple, consistent routine that enables you to let quality do its thing. The professional is an eternal student, always ready to learn, always willing to show up, regardless of the weather. This is what allows him to practice his craft as long as he needs to until his craft begins to work for him in return.