Month: March 2011

Watching Paul Anka

By Steven Pressfield | 22 Comments

I went to a Paul Anka concert a couple of years ago and I learned something that I use now, every day, in my writing. Do you remember Paul Anka? He was a teen idol back in the days of Fabian and Frankie Avalon. He’s still an extremely popular performer, who sells out shows around the world. Paul Anka wrote the Sinatra classic, “My Way,” along with hundreds of other songs. He tours with a band of about fifteen and he delivers a terrific show. Here’s what I learned from watching him onstage. Throughout the performance, Mr. Anka communicated to…

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The Will to Victory

By Steven Pressfield | 5 Comments

Chapter 19.  The Will to Victory When Alexander was a boy, a party of traders came to Pella, the Macedonian capital, selling trained warhorses. Philip the king and all his officers went down to the plain to put these mounts through their paces. One horse, called Bucephalus, was by far the fastest, strongest and bravest—but he was so wild that no one could ride him. Alexander watched as his father let the steed go without making an offer. “What a fine mount you lose, Father,” he said, “for want of spirit to ride him.” At this, the king and all his…

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“Sit Chilly”

By Steven Pressfield | 18 Comments

My friend Daphne used to take riding lessons from a legendary horsewoman in Carmel Valley, California named Sue Sally Hale. Have you ever heard of Sue Sally? Sue Sally competed in polo matches for twenty years disguised as a man (she used to daub mascara on her upper lip to simulate a mustache, while tucking her long hair up under her helmet) before finally being admitted, in 1972, as the U.S.P.A.’s first female member. Sue Sally had a mantra that she taught her polo, dressage and jumping students: “Sit chilly.” I’m not a rider but apparently it can get pretty…

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The Joys of Misery

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

Chapter 17   The Joys of Misery Among all elite U.S. forces, the Marine Corps is unique in that its standards for strength, athleticism and physical hardiness are not exceptional. What separates Marines, instead, is their capacity to endure adversity. Marines take a perverse pride in having colder chow, crappier equipment and higher casualty rates than any other service. This notion goes back to Belleau Wood and earlier, but it came into its own during the exceptionally bloody and punishing battles at Tarawa and Iwo Jima, the Chosin Reservoir and Khe Sanh. Marines take pride in enduring hell. Nothing infuriates…

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Shots and Cuts

By Steven Pressfield | 32 Comments

I wish I could remember where I saw this (it might have been in a documentary on PBS about Battleship Potemkin) but some master of filmmaking was asking a roomful of students, “Of what does the vocabulary of cinema consist?” I was guessing lamely in my head along with the students onscreen, when the master finally ran out of patience and answered his own question: “Shots and cuts.” Everything else, the man said, is just variations and refinements. The greatest cuts we’ve ever seen Let’s have a little communal interchange. Write in your fave. What is the greatest movie cut…

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Citations for Valor

By Steven Pressfield | 8 Comments

Chapter 15   Citations for Valor Decorations for valor, from ancient days to modern, have seldom been awarded for raw bloodthirstiness or the brute act of producing carnage. The feat that inspires witnesses to honor it is almost invariably one of selflessness. The hero (though virtually no recipient chooses to call himself by that name) often acts as much to preserve his comrades as he does to deliver destruction onto the foe. In citations, we read these phrases again and again: “Disregarding his own safety . . .” “With no thought for his own life . . .” “Though wounded…

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Words of Wisdom

By Callie Oettinger | 14 Comments

Summer 2002, I caught one stop on the Aerosmith, Run-DMC and Kid Rock tour. It was awesome. These three different generations of artists, with distinct sounds, were all doing their own thing, yet they figured out how to work together, to keep everything moovin’ and groovin’ with rhythm and ease—void of jarring awkward transitions. And as individuals off the stage, they’d grown—and their art had grown with them. They were all relevant. Even Kid Rock, the youngest of the group, was already mixing things up, diving into the country and sometimes pop world, rather than allowing himself to be pegged…

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What I Love About Seth, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

When I first started blogging, I wasn’t really hip to the ethic. That, I learned from Seth Godin. A blog is about giving. Or, perhaps more accurately, giving back. A guy like Seth, who has started many businesses and failed and succeeded in about equal measure, has acquired a thoroughgoing education from the University of Hard Knocks. When Seth blogs, he shares that knowledge. He’s not asking for anything, he’s giving. But one thing I didn’t know about Seth was that he has also passed along that knowledge in an extraordinary free MBA program. 48,000 people visited the announcement page…

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How the Spartans Became the Spartans

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

Chapter 12   How the Spartans Became the Spartans All warrior cultures start with a great man. In ancient Sparta, that man was Lycurgus. He took the city from a normal society and made it into a warrior culture.

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Third Party Validation

By Shawn Coyne | 16 Comments

There’s an old joke. An extended family lives in a valley. One night a torrential rain comes over the mountain. Flash flooding…the works. The mother and children prepare to seek shelter. Dad decides to ride it out and do his best to save the family home.  Mom and the kids try to get Grandma into the car, but she won’t budge.  She just repeats “The Lord will provide…the Lord will provide.” The storm worsens.  The water rises past the first floor and Dad and Grandma make their way to the roof.  A man in a canoe comes along and offers…

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