The little book of ass-kicking

“Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be” by Steven Pressfield

This is a fun little book about grit, about the drive and passion to pursue our goals.

As the title suggests, we need to put our ass where our heart wants to be. And this includes packing up everything and move our ass to the epicenter of what we want to do. Want to be a country singer? Move to Nashville. Want to be a Broadway actor? Move to New York. Not only that we will be present in the environment, but there’s where the peers and mentors are residing, as well as the opportunities.

“Magic happens when we put our ass in the same space with other dreamers that already put their asses there” says Pressfield, “these are our peers.”

He gives a delightful list of examples for this, from Hemingway in Paris trading writing tips with other writers, John Lennon in London sharing stages with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, Arnold Schwarzenegger moving from Austria to California to chase his Hollywood dream, none of whom would be as successful had they stay at their respective homes.

Now of course “being there” could also means being presence in the state or mind or even virtually, but it doesn’t matter whether we’re there physically or mentally, once our ass is there we have to work our ass off, so to speak. That’s where the part of “never take no for an answer” comes, taking one rejection after another without losing our optimism and spirit, while still giving our all to the process.

In fact, Pressfield argues that self reinforcement is a character trait that is more important than talent, as there are plenty of talented people who didn’t succeed because they have given up halfway the battle.

The book has the feel of what Enchiridion did for Stoicism, it’s the very essence of Steven Pressfield’s philosophy (i.e. the War of Art) re-written to accommodate and elaborate one specific part (the ass kicking part). And it’s so pleasant to read, where we can just feel that the author also enjoyed writing it.