Professional vs Amateur (Part 1)

I have recently completed reading the second installment of “The War of Art”  by Steven Pressfield, it is “Turning Pro” . I felt that I should communicate the essence of those two books with as many people as possible, so I have decided to put my understanding of those books in a sequence of articles for better conception of my expression. In-fact what I write in the next few articles is the hybridization of Pressfield’s ideas, my understanding of them, and my own ideas also.

Steven Pressfield is a legend, a pure legend and more importantly a professional(for conciseness’ sake let us call it Pro). This article and the next couple or more of them are exclusively related to analysing the qualities, differences, similarities of an amateur and that of a pro. Just for convenience let us explore the lexicon meanings of them first.

Amateur :-   Inept or Unskillful /not an expert /a person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid basis.

Professional :-Engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime/skillful/expert

When I was in my 9th Grade, my chemistry teacher told in the class that whatever you do, don’t crave for appreciation or recognition, if appreciation and fame automatically follow be happy but if nobody appreciates your work and somebody takes credit for your work then be happier because, she explained, you know the importance and greatness of your work and God knows it and you need not explain that to anyone. I can say that it is being professional. A professional knows what he does, he doesn’t crave for fame, he does any work out of love. An amateur does the opposite, everything that he does is to get recognition, to feel important, he concentrates only on the end-product and not on the process, he needs others’ approval, he just cannot live without that.

Achievement is a relative term but many people think that earning a greater than or equal to 6 digit paycheck per month, fame, power and the like are the only things which can be called as achievements . What is achievement to one person may not be nothing to the other . Understand your deep emotional wants and don’t wants, they are in a multitude ways different from those of the person sitting next to you. If you ask me what an achievement is I would say that anything that would take you from your current level to a next level of personal mastery is called an achievement and that next level can be very slightly higher or very higher, here also the improvement and consistency counts and not the speed and size of your leap. Meditating for 15 mins everyday for 1 year is an achievement in itself (in fact a great achievement), exercising everyday for 1 hour, reading books, writing articles, dismantling bad habits, adding new good habits, following a healthy and productive timetable everyday consistently for a period of time are all achievements. A professional knows this, an amateur doesn’t. An amateur is purely materialistic and sybaritic.

An amateur always operates in a hierarchy, he doesn’t have a zone or region of his own, he gets happier and excited when he is above someone in the hierarchy and gets bogged down and depressed when he is below and that is the reason an amateur is always jealous, he cannot see people rise above him – he gets terrified by the thought of it. A professional is never jealous, in fact he encourages others because he knows his turf, he knows his battlefield, he knows he has to fight his own demons like laziness, procrastination, and more importantly he knows he is not in this pseudo race .

To become a professional the first step is you have to listen to your true calling. Whenever you are embarked to pursue your true calling, there comes the most dangerous evil – the demon responsible for almost all misfortunes in the world -Resistance. Resistance is all pervasive and ( to be continued in Subsequent parts ..)

Rithish VisakotiRaviteja Visakoti 


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