“Poof Goes the Middle Class”

When I was a kid my dad’s dream for me was that I would become an engineer and work all my life for Lockheed or G.E.  In other words be an employee. That was how the middle-class dream expressed itself in the days of American pre-eminence post-WWII, before the European countries had rebuilt their shattered economies, before the rise of Asia, India, South America, before outsourcing, before globalization, before the satellite and the microchip and the web.


Bruce Springsteen, "My Hometown"

Now all we hear is that the American Dream is dead. As I write this, I’m looking at an article in the L.A. Times (probably the 500th I’ve read) titled “Poof Goes the Middle Class.”

Allow me to take the opposite side. I agree that manufacturing has left the building. Detroit is underwater. We’re never gonna see factories and shipyards like we used to. But that was inevitable, wasn’t it? The foundation of middle-class life from the 50s through the 70s, as defined by mainstream mags like LIFE and LOOK and Newsweek (all defunct as well), was the union contract. Blue-collar jobs paid wages that let families send their kids to college. You could work the assembly line and get health care and retirement. America was flush, but it was a prosperity that couldn’t last.

By ’83, Bruce Springsteen was writing

They’re closing down the textile mill

Across the railroad tracks.

Foreman says these jobs are going, boys,

And they ain’t coming back.

In China now, and Africa and Brazil and Bangladesh, people who had been rural are pulling themselves up to factory life. They can make stuff as good as we did, maybe better. Where’s America? What happened to us?

Maybe I’m delusional, but I think a sea-change is taking place right here, right now. I mean a good change. It’s below the radar. The government has nothing to do with it. The government doesn’t even know it’s going on.

What is this change? It’s happening on ten thousand blogs like this one and at a hundred thousand informal academies and webinars and one-on-one teaching exchanges or one-to-a-hundred mentoring events. Individuals on their own, driven by necessity and by their own dissatisfaction with their lives and their futures, are teaching themselves a new way of working in the world.

The change is reflected, even championed, by words like Seth Godin’s, “Don’t wait to be picked, pick yourself.”

People are becoming entrepreneurs. The mind-set of the employee is vanishing like the factory where it was born. It has to. We’ll all die if we wait for some force outside ourselves—business or government—to bring us jobs or teach us who we are or how we ought to live.

We have to invent our own ways, and that’s just what we’re doing.

I read blogs myself. I take courses. I go to seminars. I search out individuals to teach me stuff, and I find partners whom I can help and who can help me.

In ’83, around the time that Bruce Springsteen was writing Born in the U.S.A., a company I worked for was going belly-up, which was about the tenth time that had happened to me. I remember in the aftermath paying a bookkeeper fifty bucks to teach me how to set up my accounting books and explain to me what a DBA was (“Doing Business As.”) I was scared shitless, making the sea-change from employee to entrepreneur.

The next step was artist. I already was an artist in truth. I had just never figured out the make-it-pay part.

The step after that is Professional. No one teaches you this either. That’s why there are blogs like this one, and seminars and classes and coaches. I read this change between the lines of almost every Comment that appears at the bottom of this page. Take a look. Almost every person who writes in is an artist or entrepreneur or both—on their own, taking charge of their own fears and self-doubts, practicing and learning as they go.

I don’t think this is happening in China, at least not yet.

It hasn’t really happened here either. Nothing earth-shaking has popped up so far. But the change is percolating. It’s underground. It’s silent. There’s no movement, no spokesman. It doesn’t get a lot of press. Most of it is part-time. It’s being done by individuals who haven’t quit their day jobs. But there are millions of people in this country who, one by one, are making themselves over. I don’t mean just “learning skills” or “reinventing livelihoods.” I mean Major Overhaul. Emotions. Dreams. Focus. Professionalism. Mental toughness.

Thucydides quotes this great sentence from Pericles’ Funeral Oration, addressing the citizens of ancient Athens:

Taking everything together then, I declare that our city is an education to Greece, and I declare that in my opinion every one of our citizens, in all the manifold aspects of life, is able to show himself the rightful lord and owner of his own person, and do this, moreover, with exceptional grace and exceptional versatility.

I’ve always had a beef with the American Dream when it’s defined in purely material terms. That definition comes perilously close to, “I’m getting mine and the hell with you.”

But when that dream is defined as Pericles did—” … to show himself [let’s add ‘herself’] the rightful lord and owner of his own person … “—I like it a lot better, and I suspect the Founding Fathers would too.

That dream isn’t dead and it isn’t failing. In fact I think we’re closer to it now, as a nation and as individuals, than we’ve ever been.


Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

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A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.



Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.



Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"



  1. Pooh Hodges on November 13, 2013 at 3:33 am

    Dear Mr. Steve

    Cats are making the change as well. The mouse hunting business was terrible;the new homes are so well built no one was hiring me anymore to catch mice.
    Now I have my own blog, and I am pursuing my dream of being a writer.
    I kept waiting to be picked, but Seth Godin’s book, “The Icarus Deception,” helped me realize I had to pick myself.

    All the best,
    Love Mr. Pooh

    • Jessica MacIntyre on November 13, 2013 at 6:20 am

      Most adorable reply ever! 🙂

    • Ollie (Fang) Hastings on November 13, 2013 at 6:56 am

      I would concur Pooh. The mousing business imploded around here as well. Too much imported H1B competition. I have turned my household into a service economy. I had my humans retrained and turned into entrepreneurs. There is a long ways to go, but they are surfing the wave of change and my food supply is assured.


    • Kathy Ostman-Magnusen on November 13, 2013 at 9:09 am

      Awe.. melt my heart.

    • Pheralyn on November 13, 2013 at 10:37 am

      You just peeped into my diary and exposed my thoughts, emotions and survival strategy. Couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    • Steven Pressfield on November 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      That Pooh is onto something.

    • Jeff Fritts on November 14, 2013 at 8:35 am

      “Nearly 11 million Americans lose their jobs each year. Devastated, often lost and hopeless, these people have no idea where their lives are headed and have no time to figure it out.
      Career Makeover will follow two of these people every week, as they overcome mighty obstacles to transform their careers and their lives.”
      “A panel of experts map the heroic journey for each candidate’s transformation.”
      “Career Makeover will revive the candidate’s mind, and point to their abilities, to inspire confidence and impart the skills to pursue new and exciting opportunities.”


    • Laura Mc Coy on November 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      You tell’em Pooh.

    • G. Boyce Bazzell (Bazz) on November 18, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Would like to chat woth you and your experience with Seth’s book. Please send me a note and I will call you. Best wishes, G. Boyce Bazzell (Bazz)

  2. Mary on November 13, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Outstanding! As a Baby Boomer, I grew up being schooled in the American Dream that turned out to be unsustainable in its old form. Circumstances force us to reinvent ourselves in order to survive, and once we do that and find out how tough we really are, we can turn our attention – and our intention – to our art. Blogs like this are life-affirming for all of us out here in the trenches. As always, thanks for hitting the nail squarely on its head again!

    • Ahsoka23 on November 13, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Great comment. I completely agree with you. We all need to learn how to survive, not just as artists but as people. In order to be a great artist I think we need to face our fears, and overcome them. And accept that change happens and change is good.

  3. David M. Morton on November 13, 2013 at 5:33 am

    Like Steven says, the American Dream has been changing for a long time. I still see people trying to hold onto the last one and milk all that is left out of it. But, hell, I see that cats are now blogging and learning, going on their vision quests, so that doesn’t help much with my Resistance.

    To be serious, I’ve jumped the sinking vessel and hope to see if I can mentally deal with the hammerheads and the giant whales swimming below me. I know that it’s one thing to jump away from the rest, and another to survive. You have to see what you really got. That’s the hardest thing. Good luck, everyone.

  4. Nancy Darling on November 13, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Perfect! This is right where I am right now as you wrote:” Major Overhaul. Emotions. Dreams. Focus. Professionalism. Mental toughness.” It’s very scary. I have been in real estate for years however I’m tired of it, past retirement age, and going through all of the above. Your writings are very helpful, thanks.

    • Michael Thomas Finn on November 13, 2013 at 11:51 am

      I am in the same boat and off the reservation with you….

      Good Luck to us all….

    • Cheryle on November 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      I too am in this same boat with the two of you. When I lost my job 4 1/2 years ago a friend of mine told me I got the cosmic boot! Well, it has taken me quite sometime to get on board with the universe and start all over, finding out who I really am and my purpose. During these past 5 months things are a-stirrin… and I am so open and ready. Good luck all, and Steve thank you so much for your valuable take on things, and your blog. It helps all of us!

  5. Basilis on November 13, 2013 at 6:22 am

    Even today, I’m still amazed with the clarity of Pericles thinking. Also, I’m impressed with the part of “Επιτάφιος” you choose to put in the post. Combined with the rest of the post’s meaning, it fits perfect. Nowdays this is the way of how things should and will happen.

  6. Kwin Peterson on November 13, 2013 at 6:36 am

    I see this as the natural progression of property. Our ancestors were serfs–property controlled by others; their descendants aspired to be men of property–controlling land and money; now we are finally learning that the only property that really matters is ourselves.

    • Mystic Medusa on November 14, 2013 at 1:59 am

      WOW Kevin – love that perspective. I have similar vibe of late – investing back into myself as the most ‘safe’ growth investment.

      • Mystic Medusa on November 14, 2013 at 1:59 am

        KWIN – not Kevin – sorry, was so enthused i rushed my response

  7. Lillian Brue on November 13, 2013 at 6:46 am

    I was an art director in a union shop and I never understood the mentality that “the company owes me something”. My answer was always you work for yourself. You create your own job description. Take ownership I would say. They are still there. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. In writing this I realize I always was. Clicking the red shoes.

  8. Dave Bullis on November 13, 2013 at 6:47 am


    I couldn’t agree more. The internet has opened vast possibilities and now with the creation of CrowdFunding people can now ‘pitch’ their project direct to market no longer relying on banks for loans, etc.

  9. Kevin Worthley on November 13, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Agree completely. Wide-ranging topic, but like many demographic seismic changes, this trend is occurring slowly, subtly and of course, is and will continue to be messy and disruptive.

  10. Amy on November 13, 2013 at 7:04 am

    I don’t live in the US. I live in Brazil, but the new trend is growing here and in other countries around the globe. I’ve been working globally for years…from home, at my computer. First I did translations, and now I’m working with a music company thousands of miles from where I live. I can’t ever imagine working for a company again, or getting up in the morning and going to a job. I have my freedom, and I earn a living as I work on my music and writing projects.

  11. John Hoban on November 13, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I always figured the lower poorest group of people moves in waves around the globe. People pick bananas @ 10 cents an hour labour so I can get them @ 49 cents a pound. Yea, like Steve mentioned, we wiped out the competition in WWII, and owned the monopoly on refrigerators for a while, which supported a happy middle class. We were living in La La land and loving it.
    Then competition reappeared and poorer people started making refrigerators cheaper, and the wave moves. We got a little poorer. The people on the surfboards don’t care who does the labour. That’s the 1%. They just ride the wave. Can you see Dick and Mitt hanging ten?

    The ‘wave’ is just a word for cheap labour. China is the winning slave country, at the crest of the wave for now and looks like for a long time to come. China plays ball with the 1% and all is cool. They get factories, technology, know how. They probably have people in the 1% club.
    They have a hell of a military too. I imagine the 1% decided leveling China to rubble might not be so easy, so they hopped in bed together. We’ll see how long that lasts.

    My question is: where will the U,S. pool of money come from if manufacturing is overseas? We can do art and trade within our boarders, but how can there be a middle class without slaves picking bananas, making clothing and, of course refrigerators and all durable goods?
    Understand, I’m against this whole way of the haves living comfortably off the have-nots. So, a simple question: How can the world live without the wave of poverty? Technology, wrestled from the greedy? There are better ways to do things now, but if it weren’t for Toyota, I doubt GM would ever make an electric car. Is GM really a U.S. company, benefiting Americans?
    Let’s say everybody has an electric car. Why wouldn’t the 1% calculate just how much it can squeeze out of the general public for the price of electric just short of starting a revolution? If you are on the income fringe, guess you’ll have to walk or pick lots of bananas.
    I’m probably not in the scope of this blog and no doubt Joseph MCcarthy’s ghost is blowing the whistle on me.
    Welcome to the machine. I’ll take my Prozac now.

    “We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” – Joe Campbell

    • John Hoban on November 13, 2013 at 7:41 am


      I may sound naive, stupid, simplistic, negative, paraoid, etc, but to just accept the way things are seems really sad. I know, Yin and Yang and all that crap, but what about the value of lessoning suffering in THIS moment? Just shoot me. 🙂

      • John Hoban on November 13, 2013 at 8:07 am

        Oh Waiter! Spell Check please.

      • avalon medina on November 20, 2013 at 1:59 pm


  12. Nancy Landrum on November 13, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Since getting so sick I had to quit my job (I think that was divinely planned)I’ve been stumbling, learning, growing, getting mentally tougher and finally actualizing my dream of speaking and writing on the topic of how to have healthier relationships. In the past 18 months I’ve e-published two previously written books, received a gift to print the first two of a new series of books, managed to keep my head above water financially and, at the age of 68, feeling happier and more hopeful than I ever thought I would after my beloved husband died. Friends and former strangers are leaving wonderful comments about my newsletter and weekly blogs. I feel so grateful to be living with purpose, fulfilling my lifelong dream!

  13. Don Stewart on November 13, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Amen, Steven!
    We can complain, or we can get busy.

  14. audrey wells on November 13, 2013 at 7:55 am

    thanks, mr. p…interesting i’d read through THIS blog when i’ve been so busy surviving the american nightmare i’ve archived my ‘writing wednesdays’ for a BINGE READ.

    but, i deduce, my intuition over-road auto-pilot as my perspective needed a swift kick in the ass.

    don’t get me wrong. my ‘business’ is RETAIL (my passion, writing…and i COULD get my ‘fix’ if i’d MAKE the time to use my website/blog as a platform for, at the very least, peddling my merch. but (and we all got one) TERROR and SURVIVAL keep me pedaling harder not smarter. your blog? SMACK! i coulda’ had a V-8. 🙂

    so thanks, mr. p. your black irish, clean uppercut, chutzpah GOT ME from the day i stumbled on your book, ‘DO THE WORK’ and you became the Sylvester Stallone version of Ward Cleaver for this proprietress/wannabe writer/artist.

    i want to THANK YOU for the books sent…i believe you or your staff ‘padded’ my order w/extra info…they’re on my nightstand, so close but yet so far away when i deny myself the entree to new possibilities REACTING over RESPONDING to the times that are a-changin’.

    i’ve got a big event coming up in early december. my gas tank WAS down to fumes as i hobble into one more ‘hail mary pass’ christmas (thank you, baby jesus! :), but your post today very likely came in the knick of time for this shopkeep, et. al.

    you’re RIGHT on the money. and i trust you…your work, and now your blog, resonate in a way that supersedes all the ‘smoke i detect’ gets blown up my skirt. you keep good company so i’ll wisely latch on and hope i’m drug behind the buckboard long enough to get tired (or shredded) of road rash and get off my ass, CLIMB IN and DO SOMETHING radically different for a CHANGE.

    i could go on…but i already have…


    audrey wells

  15. Elese on November 13, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Beautiful quote. I started on the path of entrepreneurship without realizing that I AM the talent that I’m offering. In fact, I am, as each of us are, pure and raw capacity itself. Pericles is stating a deep truth about all human beings. If we could see this is true now and not someday, we’d quickly get on with the business of being who we are.

  16. Gene on November 13, 2013 at 8:12 am

    You are one, smart man. In due respect to the constant flow of powerful, entertaining and inspiring words from your pen, even before “King Kong Lives” and that continue today … I believe this post is the most ‘spot on’ and inspirational offering from you ever, and that is saying a lot. Business, like life evolves; it never ends. As I glance to my left, I see hanging on my wall the framed cover of my first book, a gift from my son, Brad. Integrated in that framed picture are these words from the esteemed Steven Pressfield, “Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” You have, you are and you will, and I know I speak for many when I thank you personally for your contribution.

  17. M on November 13, 2013 at 8:23 am

    This is the new myth of the economic times, necessary and comforting. You’ve put it quite well.

    Except for two key points.

    “The foundation of middle-class life from the 50s through the 70s … was the union contract. Blue-collar jobs paid wages that let families send their kids to college. You could work the assembly line and get health care and retirement. America was flush, but it was a prosperity that couldn’t last.”

    Why couldn’t it last? It lasted until Reagan – and his policies to undo all previous progress – arrived. Apparently this historic cycle continues, as long as there is progress to be made and predators to undo it.

    “I’ve always had a beef with the American Dream when it’s defined in purely material terms. That definition comes perilously close to, “I’m getting mine and the hell with you.” ”

    That wasn’t “the American Dream.” During the heyday, there was more of a general sense of “we’re all in this together;” not least because the education system still taught that democratic notion; life was lived outside and not all mediated through screens and gated access; and the existence of unions made populism evident.

    “I’m getting mine and the hell with you” arrived with Reagan and the regressive, anti-social policies that continue to this day.

    If some good arises from the ashes, that’s great. But history matters. Ignoring the impact and continuing damage of Reaganism is misguided. The “prosperity that couldn’t last” was intentionally siphoned off to a few players at the top of the pyramid.

    And now we learn to work with stones again.

    • John Hoban on November 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm


    • Steven Pressfield on November 13, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      M, you make some very solid points. A huge transfer of wealth (from the middle to the top) did start around the Reagan era — and it was no accident. I must differ with you though about when “I’m getting mine and the hell with you” started. Ask the American Indian.

      • M on November 15, 2013 at 9:28 am

        Absolutely! Well put, Steven. It’s been goin’ on a loooong time. The shift I remember was from an era of social and economic progress, to the Reagan Error of regressive, divisive attitudes – and deceptive language – that brought us to where we are now.

        I’m following with great interest the Native American and other indigenous actions to protect their lands and cultures, so I really appreciate your comment.

  18. Erik Dolson on November 13, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Pick any point on a cycle, and it seems like a trend.

    Post-WWII prosperity in the U.S. could not last because it was based on unique circumstances: we were the last man standing. Then, our fine education system combined with that wealth and military research gave us an inheritance that we chose to invest in jet skis, vacations and houses bought with inflated expectations.

    Yes, as individuals, we deserve the spiritual revolution of being the rightful owner of our own person. And that will be powerful for those who experience it, and perhaps powerful in the aggregate. But at the same time, there are and always have been those who would take advantage even of our “self-ownership” for power and/or profit.

    The “free market” is anything but free: it’s a rigged game. Information we need to make rational decisions is increasingly filtered by those few who own the access portals to the Internet. Our “representatives” have vested interests in promoting, behind the scenes, our serfdom, while they mouth words like “freedom of choice.”

    So, while I applaud the the sentiment and recognize it in my own personal experience, I think we also need to remember that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” We need to be cautious, and we need to be courageous, ready to demand those conditions that allow us to be “rightful lord and owner of (our) own person.”

    • M on November 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

      All great points. Except you also wishy wash over who/how/when the great divide began, “Then, our fine education system combined with that wealth and military research gave us an inheritance that we chose to invest in jet skis, vacations and houses bought with inflated expectations.” Yes, the 80’s, “conspicuous consumption” and all that it wrought.

      The prosperity is still there — radically redistributed.

      “… we also need to remember that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” We need to be cautious, and we need to be courageous, ready to demand those conditions that allow us to be “rightful lord and owner of (our) own person.” ”

      If more of us had done this, Reaganomics (to this day) and all its fallout would not have succeeded in gutting the nation. For some reason, going along to get along seemed like a good idea at the time.

      • Erik Dolson on November 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm

        M, to point at Reaganomics as the ultimate culprit, and ignore that this, too, was a response within a cycle, a response to “stagflation,” is to risk shooting at the puppet instead of the puppeteer.

        I think it is equally important to look back further, to Eisenhower’s warning about the “military Industrial complex,” delivered on January 17, 1961, that morphed into today’s “security-technology complex” of AT&T and the NSA; to look back even further, to John D. Rockefeller, and how today’s oligopolies twist “free markets” into “what’s good for big business is good for America.”

        I don’t think I was trying to “wishy wash over who/how/when the great divide began.” I was trying to give it some historical perspective: Again: arbitrary points on any cycle seem like a trend.

        And add to Steve’s point about becoming the “rightful lord and owner of (our) own person,” that this may at some point be more than an individual effort.

        • David M. Morton on November 14, 2013 at 5:15 am

          Reagan seems like one of those historical figures that exist throughout time whom people cast all the problems of the world onto so that they can feel better. I worked with a guy that was always bitching about “corporate greed,” and one day I asked to borrow a quarter from him. I bet you can guess his response.

        • M on November 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

          Erik, please understand, I did not “point at Reaganomics as the ultimate culprit.” I pointed out that to gloss over the significance of his rise to power can minimize the extreme impacts of policies that affect us to this day. It seems misleading to speak as if this was all some inevitable consequence, like leaves falling from a tree, rather than the agenda that it was and is. History and people’s memories have become quite fuzzy about this.

          “Why couldn’t it last? It lasted until Reagan – and his policies to undo all previous progress – arrived. Apparently this historic cycle continues, as long as there is progress to be made and predators to undo it.”

          I am well aware of the cycles, having witnessed the swing of the pendulum from one depression to another – one called “Great” and one called not-a-depression. it’s a Recovery!

          It’s great that humans have resilience and can rise from the ashes.

  19. Bob McMillan on November 13, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Right on! I’m 73 years old. I’ve been preaching this for fifty years. I’ve had money and I’ve been broke but it’s all been fun and worth it. My wife still doesn’t understand. Keep up the great articles.

  20. Chris Duel on November 13, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Spot on.

    And an excellent message for those buying into the fear caused by change and by the media’s fear mongering.

    This blog site and Seth Godin’s blog are my two favorites for vision, practical creative ideas and an occasional kick in the butt.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  21. Jennifer on November 13, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Hi. I’m totally new to all of this. I was widowed last year and now am trying to figure out my life. I love that there are others out there who are far braver, and with a clearer purpose for their lives. I’ve never really known what my purpose was. Am I an artist? I have no idea yet. But I know that I like what you say. Thank you for sharing.

  22. John Thomas on November 13, 2013 at 9:48 am


    I think you nailed it. Governments can’t fix our problems. They are problems of the heart and mind. We have to pick ourselves, move through the fear and create.

    For those who see the whole economic situation as something to blame on “the 1%” and Reagan, please do some reading at http://www.mises.org for a different perspective on how the economy and government works.

    • M on November 13, 2013 at 10:07 am

      “Governments can’t fix our problems.” Thus spake Ronald Reagan. And we still have those try to break it to prove that it doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter who you “blame,” if you ignore the demarcation in the nation’s realities that Reagan represents, you are not giving him his due. Let him take credit for how liberated everyone feels about being globalized, outsourced, offshored, free agent artists.

    • John Hoban on November 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      He was sensible in the video, but it still sounds like an everyman for himself plan. I guess I’m a commie.

  23. David Allan on November 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I would just add that I think its merely a global awakening of sorts given the rapid explosion of information and access to it.

    This also been part of the cause of the decline in those “historic” industries that are now falling by the wayside.

    Some people have always been of the same mind as Pericles (including a few in this comment thread)and those people built those industries and the industries that thrive today.

    We’re just at a time and place where people are starting to consider it more closely and through the information age are more exposed to its various incarnations large and small.

  24. Mark Jewett on November 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I think you’re onto something, Mr. Pressfield. No surprise though. Your insight is usually spot-on.

    Just an observation, Pericles’ quote could apply to Detroit as well. You should visit sometime and see for yourself.

  25. Dora Sislian Themelis on November 13, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Oh Man! Talk about a kick in the can. Mr. P, you, and Seth Godin, are right on target how the world has changed. The days of working 30 years at the same place, to retire with the watch and a pension, if you were lucky, have been over a long time. No more waiting for help, we artists are on our own, and we’re the better for it. Now let me go get to work on that.

  26. Gwen Abitz on November 13, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I don’t know that being one’s own “entrepreneur” is so new [for those successful, monetary wise that is] being in the field of network marketing. The problem for me is “being out of the box” for what is considered to be “the way” for working an in-home “network marketing business.” I have yet to FIND A WAY….Doing the Desire and Destiny 21-Day Meditation with Oprah and Deepak Chopra for “the help” I need in finding the way that will be the most nourishing choice for me and everyone around me. In other words seeing through the eyes of my soul. WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE, network marketing is the only way I would be able to fulfill all the bullets on my bucket list. I need to find a way in how to do it. A paragraph from the 3rd day of the meditation that I personalized for myself. “When I find myself involved in which I feel compelled to sway that of another person, let go of my need to defend my point of view. Follow the path of no resistance. Make a decision to practice defenselessness.” Resistance is a remarkable word. Thank you [SP] for bringing the awareness and actual meaning of this noun/verb up front and personal for me; once I got to “the point/direction” where it applies. Mark Nepo said a wonderful quote this past Sunday on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday..”To be broken is no way to see all things broken.” I was resisting something that I really did not want to do; but thought was something I had to and needed to do. I was resisting something that I wanted to do thinking I needed to be an artist if I wanted to paint or draw a picture. Paraphrasing Mark Nepo’s words this past Sunday, “just paint to paint.” I had been attaching labels. “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny – but in ourselves.” ~William Shakespear “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt~

    • David Allan on November 13, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      I read your post with great interest.

      I have a suggestion that may be of help.

      Go and read thegaryhalbertletter.com

      It will conflict with your world view, probably insult you a little, but MAY be of assistance.

      My 2c

      • Gwen Abitz on November 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        Thanks David and was worth more than 2c. I did check out the web site and very interesting. No there wasn’t a conflict of “my world” as I fully understand what needs to be done. My post may have sounded like I’m a “spiritual asshole”; but I am not really. I’m in the real world…:-)

  27. ilona fried on November 13, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Found myself nodding vigorously at this line: “But there are millions of people in this country who, one by one, are making themselves over. I don’t mean just “learning skills” or “reinventing livelihoods.” I mean Major Overhaul. Emotions. Dreams. Focus. Professionalism. Mental toughness.” I am one of those people, inspired by examples such as yourself. The Overhaul is a scary, exhilarating, surprising, humbling ride.

  28. Tine on November 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Oh no Steve!! Just as I am deciding to register with my college to become either Sheet Metal Technician or Welder at age 37 in order to at last gain employable skills that go with my aptitude and secure my future and let my creative dreams “rest” – calling it “resting” is a nice way of putting it essentially. So my own major overhaul I’m in goes the opposite. Your post is just a little painful shall we say hehe…. I couldn’t be anymore confused now. Your timing again is amazing!! Thank you Steve.

  29. Randall on November 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Why did you bother to quote the title of McManus’ op ed? Reading his article after yours I think you put a happy spin on a dire situation. What percentage of the middle class will have the skills or opportunities to better themselves once their jobs disappear?

  30. Lee on November 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    This post put a smile on my face … thank you. I read, accurately or not, you make an argument for what I believe … introvert is becoming the new extrovert … and that the final frontier is inner space, not outer.

  31. Patricia Ravasio on November 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    This is so true, and Bucky predicted it all. He said “we should all go back to whatever it was we were doing before someone told us to go out and get a job”, that “we should give up the specious notion that human beings should have to ‘earn a living’.” There is a new way to think about the world that brings cooperation, not competition to the forefront. It is a feminine paradigm of leadership and we are well on our way to seeing it happen. Exciting times for humanity, but we do have to get control of this fossil fuel issue or we are sunk. More from Buckminster Fuller at http://www.buckyworld.me

  32. Susi on November 14, 2013 at 6:00 am

    It’s forever fascinating to observe the collective psyche in America. Collective values are slowly changing and the American Dream is transforming in tiny increments which eventually snowball through the country and into the world.

    You can see it in movies, Ender’s Game is a recent example. Law and Order is not what wins in this movie, it’s a sensibility that is very different and has to do with higher instincts that are followed without understanding them.

    There are many signs that the old ways are crumbling but the structures support the old system.

    Like in the movies it’s about running out of time.

  33. Kris Obertas on November 14, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Reminds me of a passage I read on a blog – StoweBoyd.com, interesting guy, comes at this from a different angle, lots of nuggets…but he quotes a book, Welcome to Postnormal Times: All that was ‘normal’ has now evaporated; we have entered postnormal times, the in-between period where old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have not yet emerged, and nothing really makes sense… We will have to imagine ourselves out of postnormal times—with an ethical compass and a broad spectrum of imaginations from the rich diversity of human cultures.

  34. Joel D Canfield on November 14, 2013 at 8:45 am

    My 10th book was called You Don’t Want a Job and I still believe every word of it.

    Charles Handy wrote about the “portfolio” working life in The Elephant and the Flea” a long time ago. He went portfolio in 1983, leaving a high level office at BP. Thirty years he’s been happy.

    Here’s the scary part: this change is inevitable, and it’s not just corporations that have to accept it. Individuals would be better served to jump now, become lord and owner of their own person before they’re dumped in the gutter as the unwanted serf of someone else.

    • Joel D Canfield on November 14, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Let’s end that italicizationification after the name of Handy’s book, shall we?

  35. Amy Hagerup on November 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Steven, This cannot be read quickly. It must be read slowly to massage the words a bit that you are sharing with us. I too am an entrepreneur and like Seth Godin says, “I had to pick me.” I also have to be me. Little by little I am becoming more and more who I was meant to be. Blessings, Amy

  36. sommer on November 17, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Very nice writing. I stumbled across this, while looking for something else. interestingly enough, I am pretty sure I found exactly what I was looking for. A little proof that people such as yourself, are here.
    Given many titles, they all collide at some point… many would be most familiar with term teacher.
    I would refer to you as a Shaman/Sage.

    Thank you for finding your avenue. and sending the reminder.


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