A Practice Is Not a Means to an End

The idea of a practice is not a particularly Western one.

We Yanks and Euros always want a payoff. If we’re gonna bust our butts writing the next Game of Thrones or inventing the next iPhone, our mantra is “Show me the money!” Or at least the recognition, the fame, the accolades.

Cuba Gooding, Jr. won an Oscar for his performance in “Jerry Maguire”

A practice is not like that.

A practice exists for its own sake. 

A practice is like you and I climbing trees when we were kids. It was play. It was fun. We expected nothing “in return.” If we fell out of that oak or maple and broke our arm, we might have cried because of the pain, but we didn’t complain, did we? We didn’t feel “cheated.” The thought never even occurred to us. 

Can we do that now? Can we enter the studio to dance as well as we possibly can, aiming for the stars … and let that be the reward, with no hopes or expectations beyond that? 

I confess I’ve never fully achieved that mindset. I do want to “succeed.” I do want readers to enjoy and be moved by what I write. But I recognize that impulse as arising from a part of me that’s not the best part, not the part I played from when I was a kid … and not the part I want to work from now. 

A practice is a discipline. It’s not just the work or the art, it’s the state of mind we occupy when we pursue the work or the art.

That’s what makes the idea of a practice great. That’s what makes it worth doing from now till our final breath.

Can we aspire without ego? Can we work like hell and let the work be its own reward? Can we detach our emotions from the outcome of our enterprise … and still pursue that enterprise with all our heart?

This is not an idle question.


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. Tolis on March 27, 2024 at 3:38 am

    Thank you very much dear Steve.

    Being in the Practice like you say today, for me it would be like hunting and fighting as a hero in the Elysian Fields: there the green fields would be green and full of sun every next morning, eventhough I’d die every afternoon, for I would be immortal.

    On the other hand, in this world, there is a threat: that if I don’t make something that will help me enough in my financial situation, which is necessary for my medicine, my family, my descent long-time living, even my poor friend’s and wider family’s supports, the practice won’t hold itself for long. Already it has shrinked. Because the threat will smash the Practice down like an ant under the feet of an elephant. And like you’d say, that is reality.

    So we are in a way the children from the Lord of the Flies but there is that Lord of the Flies warhead and it won’t be long until He demands our whole Paradise. He will burn our Land of the Free (by the way, one of my top songs that came to my mind now is “Rebellion in Dreamland” by Gamma-Ray. It is a hard song, metal, but it was so powerful that it may touch even someone who doesn’t hear that kind of music. An intense reflection of the need for revolution and freedom)

    So I choose to play in the hours of practice, but I must also be very eager to prepare all those other practices that concern “the living”, which demand more and more time and energy from my soul’s practice.

    Damn them.

    • Fernando Bérdi on March 28, 2024 at 5:40 am

      Incrível mesmo. Experimento esse espaço e me sinto muito gratificado. Um bem estar que não dá para descrever.
      Ótima abordagem. 🙌

  2. Jackie on March 27, 2024 at 3:50 am

    Today’s post hit the target. To work from the pure place inside without attachments is it’s own reward. While outside, society tells you this just ain’t so to be considered successful. To keep practicing every day, regardless, is so fulfilling. I consider this a good kind of crazy.

    • Kay Bryan on March 27, 2024 at 4:24 am

      YES! It’s so hard and so easy to get caught up in the hamster wheel of seeking affirmation though. This is the practice. Joyful effort with no end except the process. The process is its own reward.

  3. Rock Kendzior on March 27, 2024 at 4:17 am

    Always well said. Thank you!

    • Jeff on March 27, 2024 at 6:42 am

      Thank you for a well said post!
      I needed it!

  4. Kay Bryan on March 27, 2024 at 4:23 am

    I needed this today! Thank you for your words from England!

  5. Mia Sherwood Landau on March 27, 2024 at 4:32 am

    To me, a practice is soul exercise. My soul is stretching and gaining strength, irrespective of the attention and opinion of others. My soul is both childlike and exquisitely mature at the same time while engaged in the practice of my being. Soulful expression is its life breath, its reason for being. I call it my soul imperative, A practice is exercising my soul imperative here.

  6. MICHAEL R LOMBARDI on March 27, 2024 at 4:53 am

    as the great Bill Belichick would tell the team, practice execution becomes game reality. We have to fall in love with practice, not believe we are being punished. Julian Edelman said this about Belichick pushing him in practice
    “I honestly think if you’re in your 30s and you’ve played football, I don’t think you’ve ever liked your football coach. You loved him. But you didn’t like your football coach,” Edelman said. “Just like I didn’t like my parents when they made me do things that they knew was gonna make me a better person. I didn’t like doing it, we didn’t like doing it, work’s not easy, doing the little s— for preparation, doing walkthroughs for walkthroughs for walkthroughs, I hated it. I bitched about it all the time. But we needed it. And that’s why you went into every single game knowing you outprepared that team and you have a shot to win. Every single game.”

    “To your point,” Slater responded, “maybe there were times that many of us didn’t like Coach. But we always loved and respected him. There was no question about that. We always knew that he was pushing us to be the best version of ourselves — like our parents would.”

    we have to love to practice.

    • Ken Williams on March 27, 2024 at 7:42 am

      The idea that YOU are on this thread, a fan of Pressfield, is all I need today. I learn something every time you appear on McAfee’s show. I appreciate your insane knowledge and unvarnished candor. Pressfield is my muse. I feel stronger and smarter after engaging with him and his work. You being part of the War of Art Army makes me feel smarter, wiser, and connected. Continue your great work, brother!

      Ken Williams
      Unfold The Soul

  7. Nancy on March 27, 2024 at 4:54 am

    Thank you Steven and all commenters. Every morning I grapple with this very tussle. Creating is a hunger wanting bread. Quietly in morning pages. Some mornings I understand how to resolve this quandary with some seasoned truths:
    I cannot serve two masters.
    I am in the world but not of it.

  8. Chuck Roberts on March 27, 2024 at 4:59 am

    What a difference it would make for me if I could achieve this mindset!

  9. DeWayne Mason on March 27, 2024 at 4:59 am

    Always a great read and reminder. Thanks for doing what you do–so well.

  10. joe T on March 27, 2024 at 5:00 am

    I choose both.

    I do it for the therapy, joy, and personal high.

    I do it for the one reader or the many readers who are moved and changed by my words.

    Both are possible.

    But only if you practice.

  11. Jackie on March 27, 2024 at 5:06 am

    Sat down at the desk and saw this pinned to the board in front of me.
    From The Lord of the Rings movie, the character of Gimli says:
    Certainty of death.
    Small chance of success.
    What are we waitig for?

    Really live this day in front of you. Have a great week ahead everyone.

    • Sandi on March 27, 2024 at 6:30 am

      Love this, Jackie. What a great reminder to have nearby.

  12. C.M. O'Slatara on March 27, 2024 at 5:09 am

    I think the difficult thing about a practice like this, in the Western world, is that without payoff it is seen as time wasted. Adults can have hobbies like golf or chess club or going to see your favorite band. These are all social activities, things that can be done once a week. They are scheduled and room can be made for them around appointments and your kid’s band concert and holidays. But to take time away from family and duties– alone and on the daily– and have ‘all that comes from it’ be a book your family probably won’t bother reading? Is regarded as futile in a world where you go to work sick, caregivers get no recognition, and you have to prove yourself a superhero on social media week after week.
    The harder part, as you said, is in not caring what others think. It is in creating that culture within our families and within ourselves that allows space and time for creativity. We have to reshape our ideas about the importance of art for art’s sake.
    When I tell people my novel is in the book store or a new short story is out, they immediately ask how its doing, what my sales numbers are, how much money am I making? As you so rightly put it, this is the benchmark of Western success. Money is something universally understood.
    Art is elusive. It is an enviable thing for people. I think it represents a kind of freedom for people to have ‘time to waste’ even though we know it takes hard work and dedication and you’re drinking your coffee out of a measuring cup because you’re on fire and dishes aren’t that important right now. We do this work for us, because it’s burning inside of us and needs to get out. Musicians, dancers, painters, animators, writers, actors. It’s all the same. We NEED to create. We are magic. Even if that magic only burns for us and a small group of people, it is still necessary.
    Would I love to have a million people to read my novel? Of course. But more than that, far bigger than that, would I regret my life choices if I didn’t write the next one? Absolutely.

    • Maria Carotenuto on March 27, 2024 at 6:52 am

      Maybe this is the most amazing and difficult thing to learn in the Artist Journey :). Thank you Steven!

  13. Mark R on March 27, 2024 at 5:25 am

    In the garden of mindfulness, seeds of intention grow,
    Beyond the reach of accolades, where quiet waters flow.
    Detach from outcomes, like leaves from branches high,
    Embrace the journey’s beauty, beneath the vast sky.

    Consistency, the heartbeat, a rhythm pure and true,
    A practice, not for harvest, but for the morning dew.
    Find joy within the process, a child’s laughter in the air,
    Where satisfaction blooms, in moments rare and fair.

    Self-compassion, gentle whispers, in failure’s tight embrace,
    Reminds us of our purpose, in this vast, eternal race.
    A practice, deep and meaningful, a dance, a silent song,
    Where we belong, within the moment, all along.

    • Jackie on March 27, 2024 at 9:12 am

      Mark this is beautiful. Permission to copy and pin on the board above my desk?

      • Mark R on March 27, 2024 at 1:59 pm

        Permission granted, 🙂

        • Jackie on March 28, 2024 at 8:12 am

          Thank you!

  14. Lee Bodkin on March 27, 2024 at 5:42 am

    Hi Steven,
    I so appreciate finding your posts in my inbox every Wednesday morning. The MFA I earned five years ago taught me a great deal about craft but has also boxed me in many ways. I have been wrestling with a writing project for some time and am finally seeing the absolute freedom in approaching all of my writing as a practice. My authentic voice and style are finally emerging.
    Thank you,

  15. Arnold on March 27, 2024 at 5:59 am

    Dear Steven,
    every time I read your newsletter,
    I know why I have not unsubscribed yet.
    And I read it a second time.
    Thank you!

  16. JJ Hicks on March 27, 2024 at 6:09 am

    “This is not an idle question.”
    When I was younger it was all for an end for a reward.
    Now that I’m older I do all the marketing as piece of the process. I part of the marketing “practice”.
    The discipline appeals to me. The words on the scene I worked on this morning appeal to me.
    The steps to revise and realize the story motivate me. The learning and honing motivate me.
    I want to share it with readers, but the adulation I coveting in my younger years is now largely gone.
    It rears it’s head from time to time as an old friend, but I worry about things I can control. I set my aim on the process not the outcome. The outcome takes care of itself.

  17. Beth Wolny on March 27, 2024 at 6:17 am

    Such perfect timing, this post. I’m finally gaining some traction on my practice. And I love it. I absolutely love just showing up at the same time and same place every day (making space for the muse) and just writing. At the moment, I’m giving myself a lot of grace. The focus is establishing the practice, so I don’t beat myself up or get upset if I don’t “accomplish” what I thought I would or wanted to. I hope to keep this openness as I deepen my practice, even as I “improve”. For me, it’s like going to the gym or cooking healthy meals. It’s just something I want to be part of my life. Every day.

  18. edgar van asselt on March 27, 2024 at 6:21 am

    spot on, Steve. And you’re definitely not alone wanting to reach out to the audience’s hearts with great art or music. I’ve seen a documentary on Prince and they mentioned that he always wanted to give his audience his very best, because that’s what they deserved….

    In other words, his motivation ran deeper than being a superstar and paradoxically, that also was what made him a great artist, besides being a supertalented songwriter, multi instrumentalist and showman.

    So, I guess Prince took it to heart 🙂

    enjoy your practice, edgar

  19. Tom Wall on March 27, 2024 at 6:33 am

    Larry Bird used to go to the gym by himself and shoot 700 shots. In the back of his mind whenever he got bored, or tired, he would tell himself that Magic Johnson was shooting 800 shots.
    Larry was alone with his invisible opponents, his mind and the thoughts of Magic.being more driven to be the best basketball player ever.Competition and a need to be the best, made him the great player he became.

  20. Erik Warner on March 27, 2024 at 6:35 am

    Thank you for your perspective. Coming from you, this advise carries more weight. I will be putting in the practice to get my best work out, if only for myself.

  21. Nikhil Kashyap on March 27, 2024 at 6:39 am

    In the Hindu culture this idea which you described is heard often in a saying, “Do the deed (karma), don’t worry about the fruits”; but has lost meaning as far as I can tell and see. Seeing success everywhere has stifled the child that just wanted to know how many stars were in the night-sky!

    Thank you for your emails Steve 🙂

  22. Melvin on March 27, 2024 at 7:07 am

    “We Yanks and Euros always want a payoff.”

    I think writers in my native India also want a payoff.

    In theory, it would be nice to just focus on the practice. Ignore the “likes” and “comments,” don’t worry about number of readers. But if you’re trying to make a living off your writing …

  23. susan mm on March 27, 2024 at 7:14 am

    Thank you Mr. Pressfield. Ala Van Gogh, who never realized the full reach of his creations, he was a madman for ‘the practice’. When we surrender to the call within…that becomes our truest art. No aim attached, but to honor the gift.

  24. Michael Werner Esser on March 27, 2024 at 7:43 am

    It’s admirable to see the reverence Steven Pressfield holds for the concept of practice, likening it to the carefree joy of climbing trees as children. However, his perspective seems to overlook the Western tradition of seeking tangible results and progress through disciplined action.

    While Eastern philosophies advocate for the intrinsic value of action without attachment to outcomes, Western thought often emphasizes the importance of analyzing cause and effect, leading to evidence-based research and tangible advancements. Indeed, it’s this analytical mindset that has propelled humanity forward, fostering remarkable progress and innovation.

    Pressfield’s analogy of childhood tree-climbing resonates with a simpler, more innocent time when actions were driven by pure enjoyment rather than expectations. Yet, as adults, we inevitably face the realities of striving for success and recognition, which can’t always be divorced from our endeavors.

    Acknowledging the desire for achievement doesn’t necessarily detract from the purity of one’s practice. Rather, it can serve as a motivating force, propelling individuals to strive for excellence while still finding fulfillment in the process itself. After all, the pursuit of mastery is often accompanied by the pursuit of recognition and impact.

    In essence, while the notion of detached action has its merits, there’s also value in embracing the Western ethos of seeking tangible outcomes and analyzing results. It’s through this balance of Eastern introspection and Western pragmatism that we can cultivate both personal fulfillment and societal progress.

  25. Kristin Costello on March 27, 2024 at 8:45 am

    I’ve done that mostly with my radio show.
    At times it seems like a crazy pursuit.
    But it seems like that mostly when I’m thinking about achievement.
    When I’m actually in the flow and focus of the work there’s nothing but joy.

  26. Joe Badalamente on March 27, 2024 at 9:15 am

    I aspire to this, but mostly fail. Thanks for the reminder, the bar, the target to aim for!

  27. Sue Barrasi on March 27, 2024 at 9:32 am

    Grateful to read this. Will print out and place on my easel.

  28. Amy Martinsen on March 27, 2024 at 9:33 am

    Can I take the ego out of it? Can the work be its own reward? My first thought when I ask myself these questions is if I could do this, my writing would probably improve and I would sell more books. Clearly, I have some work to do to achieve this mindset. Thank you so much for this post – I need it!

  29. CurtissAnn on March 27, 2024 at 9:48 am

    Thank you, Steven, and all who commented. The word ‘practice’ helps me to see my current head and body space.

    >>That’s what makes it worth doing from now till our final breath.

    Yep. It is worth doing. Thanks for the boost when I needed it.

  30. Kathy on March 27, 2024 at 9:52 am

    I’ve been working on a new oil series. I’ve finished three so far. There’s this tug for approval that makes me want to share them on Instagram. I’m battling that but I’m holding steady on a big fat NO.

    I decided 3-4 years ago to stop selling my art, even prints of my art. That has set me free. If people like it, or not, it’s nothing to me.

    I’m creating for the purity of art.

    Taking away a price tag or accolades, has stopped tainting my vision about who I am and why I’m meant to do art, any art. If I write a poem, story or song; if I sculpt something with passion that even scares people, (my neighbor says my sculptures scare her.. honestly!) because they are not in tune with their own sexuality, or whatever; if I paint a woman, feeling her angst or power, none of it is attached to anyone but me. Their opinions are irritating, but not as fatal, as they have felt in the past.

    I withdrew, because yes, there are monsters in the closet and overhead and I have chosen to mute their obnoxious voices.

    I’m sorry there are people who choose to dampen creativities voice, but I won’t let them in deep enough to manipulate what comes out of me. Yes, I feel belligerent and angry about it all. How dare anyone manipulate anyone? I simply can’t have that smudging things. How does one grow as a creative whilst waiting for a paycheck for it? Being practical, my muscles, in my past, might have been for sale to make money in other ways, but no longer is my heart. Not anymore

    • Kathy on March 27, 2024 at 10:28 am


      For 20 years I owned and operated a pretty successful production pottery business. I personally put faces on beer steins at a pace of 60 a day. The line had many other products as well. The products changed some, always trying to keep
      up with the competition. It was mostly wholesale and I employed some 6 workers with a full time packer. We had major accounts with places like Disney World, Busch Gardens, Zoos, and most National Parks, for which everything was personalized. Starting around September we picked up the pace for Christmas sales. I stayed in the pottery studio pumping it out till 3 and 4am. My daughters grew up without me. I was always angry.

      Tired yet?

      Let me say, I absolutely hated every single second of it. Art became nothing to me and I lost all parts of my childlike fantasy of actually creating for the sheer bliss of it.

      So now? I just don’t do that anymore. It’s got to be for the love of it. That little girl in me has slowly found her way back. She’s still struggling but I’ve refused to let her think money needs to be attached to her sparks of magic anymore.

  31. Jill on March 27, 2024 at 9:55 am

    I have no choice because after almost 20 years I’ve never really succeeded, so I’ve had to find other reasons for continuing my art practice and really, I just do it for the love of painting / drawing things. And then to be happy when they’re finished and I can step back and look at them and say wow I made that. Even if nobody else gets to see it! I’d be lying if I said it never crossed my mind that I wanted to sell my paintings and become famous, but since that never happened (and probably never will), I’m learning to be happy with my practice for its own sake. And I think I can say I’m finding that that’s enough. If only because the thought of just stopping makes me very sad.

    • Kathy on March 27, 2024 at 10:08 am

      Jill, I like your latest works! A lot! Cheering.

  32. Gene on March 27, 2024 at 9:59 am

    The only time where I remember doing something NOT for approval was when I first started playing golf. It was on a farmer’s field he’d donated to the town, a cow pasture with nine holes. I played alone in the middle of the searing Kansas summer heat. The only available approval was from the cows chewing cud nearby and the ubiquitous horseflies. I was in my glory, hitting golf balls into the sky, into rabbit holes, into ditches….skulling them, bashing them in half, whatever. It didn’t matter! I was PLAYING golf in the truest sense. To this day, I enjoy hitting golf balls on the range at Rancho Park just for the sense of feeling my body flowing through the air free as a bird, unencumbered by ego or outcome.

    • Jackie on March 27, 2024 at 1:04 pm

      So cool.

    • Maureen Anderson on March 27, 2024 at 2:35 pm

      This reminds me of how much I loved roller skating, Gene, even though I was either clutching the side of the rink or causing a ten-skater pileup after still another collision. Every bit of concentration went into staying upright, so all my other troubles fell away. It was great fun.

      Years later my daughter had this report from her first semester in college: “Physics is kicking my ass, and I love it!” She was learning so much, remembered that was the point, and credited her attitude to how I was about roller skating.

  33. Bing Wilson on March 27, 2024 at 10:01 am

    Another great post today. At the moment I’m doing my daily practice. I am an artist who also loves to write. I want to say this Pressfield group is my tribe, that is for dam sure. Today I want to say doing my practice is like planting seeds. Like the tares and the wheat, in the beginning one cannot tell which is which. At this moment doing my practice is one of the most important things in my life. On some bizarre level I know I am planting seeds in eternity and wisdom says to me, `don’t stop’. Like the people who believe in the Rapture,” don’t worry we will explain it to you on the way up”.
    Love to all,
    – Bing

  34. Joe Jansen on March 27, 2024 at 10:14 am

    Agreed that “ego” is at the heart of this question. Are you at work in the service of yourself? Or at work in the service of the story that wants to be told? Or bump it up to greater levels of scale, are you at work in the service of the simple flow of life-energy back and forth, sloshing around this bucket of a universal consciousness?

    This is kind of a non-sequitur, but it has to do with “ego” at a more coarse level. I was told that “Firefly” was worth watching (one season, cancelled, then gathered a cult following). I stopped watching because the performances were like “actors reading from a script.” (I know it often takes at least a season for actors to fully inhabit a character, but I couldn’t wait around.)

    The script DID have some good lines, however (“I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I WILL end you”). The funny “ego” quote was:

    “You think you’re better than other people.”
    “Only the ones I’m better than.”

  35. Brian Nelson on March 27, 2024 at 10:23 am

    You have a right to your labor, but not the fruits of your labor.

    Something to consider for at least a decade. The understanding, or living of this seems as elusive as flow–there are times when I just fall into it, but more often my monkey-mind is too busy stirring a pot of poo in my head.

    Just finished ‘Once A Runner’ by John L. Parker Jr. The protagonist is a miler at a small Florida school, and most of the story is told around his training. BRUTAL. Even the culminating finish goes into the dark, deep suffering the race is for all athletes–there is not a step taken that is pain free. Perfect book to scare any reasonable kid away from running…and yet…

    When the labor becomes the fruit. That is a high bar, but totally worth pursuing.

    • Sam Luna on March 27, 2024 at 12:36 pm

      “You have a right to your labor, but not the fruits of your labor.”

      I have this printed and taped above my desk … for some reason, it really helps.

  36. Diane Dreher on March 27, 2024 at 11:58 am

    Thanks, Steven, for this beautiful reminder. The essence of the martial artist–and any artist–is the practice.

  37. Anne Marie on March 27, 2024 at 12:09 pm

    God bless you, Steven – I need to hear this. I have so many books inside of me just waiting to be ‘born’ and I am hard at work figuring out how the whole series hangs together (and with another one in mind behind it). It would be splendid to make some money on them, but I thought the other day, even if they don’t, I will take the joy of writing them and getting them released and the rest will come as it will come. The reward is in the writing and touching lives, not in the financial success that may or may not come. Thank you for writing this! 🙂

  38. Joe on March 27, 2024 at 1:23 pm

    I would add something else about “practice.” Our focus here has been mostly on creativity and the arts: our practice or our discipline or our habits of showing up, whether that be at our easel, at the keyboard, in the studio, or at our desk (as Victor illustrates):


    Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to look at “practice” in another dimension. I’ve had a daily meditation practice for many years, sometimes thinking, “What is the use of all this sitting on a cushion and being aware of your breath?” Is the purpose of meditation to get better at sitting on a cushion? To become more adept at watching your breath?

    I found out I needed some cancer surgery and so was presented with my “what’s the use”? I told some friends, “All that meditation? Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Here’s an opportunity to put into use some of what I’ve learned, or have been practicing.”

    Being able to identify thoughts and emotions for what they are, but not becoming identified with them and not letting them run away with you. Being unattached to outcomes. Recognizing the ego and perceiving the awareness that exists apart from the ego. Being aware of the impermanent and transitory nature of things. It’s easy to read from the Stoics and see Marcus Aurelius reminding himself, “Don’t be overheard complaining… not even to yourself,” but how might I fare in the “no complaining” department?

    So here was an opportunity to put some of these “daily practices” to actual use. The practice was never a means to an end. Just a daily 10-minute discipline, occupying a state of mind, practiced for its own sake. Yet that practice let me participate in this life experience with less fear, more presence, less suffering.

    The week before the surgery, my wife said, “I’ll look forward to having all this behind us.” I said, “I don’t want to miss the ride.”

    • Maureen Anderson on March 27, 2024 at 2:24 pm

      I hope the ride goes smoothly, Joe! Pulling for you!

      • Joe on March 28, 2024 at 7:36 am

        Thanks, Maureen. Clean margins and a positive outlook.

  39. Jim on March 27, 2024 at 2:04 pm

    You’re on fire! Well said.
    Thank you.

  40. Victoria Garske on March 27, 2024 at 9:05 pm

    A practice is a discipline which is “the grind” for me. I can’t help that my eye is also on the “ego prize”, which totally helps push me through the grind. But, the grind is also the prize in itself, because I am doing what I love. Where ever it ends up taking me has to be good enough, completed or not. The grind is the journey. The journey is the prize.

  41. Michael J. Lotus on March 28, 2024 at 6:57 am

    My own writing project is like this. I have no idea if anyone will ever see it or read it, let alone like, and I can hardly imagine making meaningful money on it. But my thoughts never stay away from it, and the times I can spend with it are wonderful, in the strict sense of that word, full of wonder — for me, anyway! So, I am trying to finish it, for its own sake — like climbing to the top of the tree. I can see the end, it is all mapped out, but life and work and obligations make it hard, but I am pressing on.

    Thanks as always for the inspiration.

  42. Mark Dickson on March 28, 2024 at 12:46 pm

    This makes all the sense in the world.

    ‘I’m a farmer. My reward is seeing the plants grow and the cows get fat, and harvesting the bounty to feed my family and friends. If there is excess, bonus. Maybe I can sell some.

    I practice combatives–hand-to-hand, edged weapons and firearms. I don’t compete. I just try to get better with every training session. It helps my mental outlook learning a new skill.

    I’m a surgeon. My goal was to do good work. If I focused on producing an income, my patients would have suffered. Indeed, many of my patients couldn’t pay a dime. I still did my best work, knowing it would all pay off in the end. It did.

    And now I’m a writer with a bestseller under my belt, and working on a sequel. I know from all the above to focus on doing good work. The rest will work itself out.

  43. Julie on March 28, 2024 at 4:46 pm

    Yes, the practice for the sake of the practice. Totally! And, also, I’d love to make lots of money as a filmmaker because it would be cool! lol But, yes, the practice is the way.

  44. Scott Bowlus on March 29, 2024 at 2:55 am

    Thanks Steven! Always good to be reminded that we control our effort and not the rewards for our effort.

  45. Tim Wigham on March 29, 2024 at 8:26 am

    We can and we must. Thanks Steven.

  46. Jurgen Strack on April 7, 2024 at 9:54 pm

    I do stand-up comedy and sometimes wonder why I do it for many reasons. Steve’s article explains why beautifully. It can be an end in itself and you can be a kid about it.
    Cheers, Jürgen

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