Steven Pressfield Blog
[Because of the extraordinary response to Maj. Jim Gant’s paper, One Tribe At A Time, I’ve decided to leave it up all week in the “Number One Slot.” My ongoing interview with Chief Ajmal Khan Zazai will pick again next Friday; the Chief has been in Kabul all week, meeting with U.S. and British commanders, and we haven’t had time to speak. So all’s well that ends well!]
Because of the response to Monday’s posting of Major Jim Gant’s paper One Tribe At A Time, I’d like to keep the post “above the fold” all week, and run a shorter “Writing Wednesdays” post this week. The focus? Resistance and Major Gant.
[The blog is “on the road” this week. Here is a re-run of the most clicked interview so far. See you next week!] Welcome back, Chief Zazai, after last week’s break in our ongoing, multi-part interview. As you know, we took that space last week to post an open letter to Gens. Jones, Petraeus, McChrystal and Adm. Mullen, alerting them to your formation of a Tribal Police Force in the Zazi Valley and asking for help in aligning that force with the American troops (10th Mountain Division) whose Area of Operations (AO) includes your district. Respect for confidentiality prevents me…
My first real job was in advertising. I worked as a copywriter for an agency called Benton & Bowles in New York City. An artist or entrepreneur’s first job inevitably bends the twig. It shapes who you’ll become. If your freshman outing is in journalism, your brain gets tattooed (in a good way) with who-what-where-when-why, fact-check-everything, never-bury-the-lead. If you start out as a photographer’s assistant, you learn other stuff. If you plunge into business on your own, the education is about self-discipline, self-motivation, self-validation. Advertising teaches its own lessons. For starters, everyone hates advertising. Advertising lies. Advertising misleads. It’s evil,…
[The blog is “on the road” this week, so I’m going to re-run last week’s One Tribe At A Time post. I actually wanted to do this anyway, just because it produced so many interesting comments and questions. We’ll have the full free downloadable .pdf of Maj. Jim Gant’s One Tribe At A Time next Monday. Thanks, friends, for your patience! Now to business …]
If you’ve read The War of Art, you know that the thematic core of the book is the concept of Resistance. Resistance with a capital R, which the book defines as “an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” Resistance is what keeps an entrepreneur from making the cold calls he knows he has to, to get his business rolling. It’s the force that keeps an aspiring painter away from her studio, or makes a writer back off from the…
[This week has been a rough one for our troops in Afghanistan–and a contentions one among policymakers here in the States. I’m going to interrupt our ongoing interview with tribal chief Ajmal Khan Zazai to post this open letter. The same note was sent by e-mail two days ago to the parties below.]
Chaos. The Big Bang. Crap flying everywhere. Imagine ourselves back at the beginning of time. The universe is raw energy, blasting at light-speed in all directions. (Stay with me, this is going somewhere). What happens? As time passes, electrons coalesce around nuclei. Molten matter cools; stars and planets form into spheres. Celestial objects find paths and settle into orbits. The gravity of one star system counteracts the fields of others. Galaxies appear. Order emerges.
Last week in our first excerpt from Special Forces Major Jim Gant’s paper, “One Tribe At A Time,” Maj. Gant laid out the concept for a specialized type of American unit–a Tribal Engagement Team. Such teams would be small, highly trained and motivated, and granted broad latitude in the means of pursuing their mission. They would live full-time in the villages with the tribes, “lead, assist, train, supply,” and help organize Tribal Security Forces (TSFs.)
SP: Welcome back, Chief Zazai, for this second installment of our multi-part interview. As our readers know from last week, you are a paramount chief of eleven tribes in your home district, the Zazi Valley in Paktia province. Your father fought the Soviets and the Taliban and was assassinated in 2000; you yourself have fought those fights and have survived two recent attempts on your own life. It’s a pleasure and a privilege for me to be able to talk with you today. Chief Zazai: Thank you, Mr. Pressfield, for affording me this opportunity to tell a side of…
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