Habitual addictions are described by Mr. Pressfield as the mechanisms that give excuse to our amateur status. They allow us to make sense of our meandering as to not succumb to the pain of our shadow lives.

He mentions five | failure, sex, distraction, money and trouble. I’ve used them all to some degree or another at one time or another.

Turning pro is about seeing them for what they are and making a willful and conscious stand to reject their continued use. As such, the pro never fully matures as those old habits threaten to ruin us when we let our guard down (fatigue, tragedy, intense change, etc.).

But turning pro isn’t about the end as I feel it is about the journey. I’ve enjoyed reading about the author’s story – it reinforces the idea that the pro is made over time; that a look in the rear view must surely show a series of valley/peak experiences.

Life is fraught with pain. That’s just the way it is. As I get older, I see the need for it. The amateur deals with pain by trying to escape it (see habits above) while the artist uses the pain as a force to move forward (the imagery of a watermelon seed pressed between two fingers comes to mind) and achieve.

Sooner or later, the pain will help you see your professional self. It is a beautifully clarifying teacher (looking down from the peak that is) and will eventually compel us to stop the nonsense of hiding in the shadows.