Defining the Battlefield: Resistance from “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

2 min read

In the world of design and engineering, Resistance is an uninvited guest, lurking in the shadows of every creative endeavour. Pressfield aptly calls it the "enemy within," and I couldn't agree more. As a structural engineer and architect deeply invested in sustainable, community-driven projects, I've grappled with Resistance more times than I can count.

Resistance often wears disguises – procrastination, self-doubt, and distractions. It's the force that compels us to delay groundbreaking ideas, convincing us that tomorrow is a better day to start. In my line of work, such hesitation can be detrimental, leading to missed opportunities to enhance the well-being of those who will inhabit the spaces I design.

Resistance and Innovation

As someone who thrives on innovation, Resistance's interference is palpable. I've noticed that when I embark on a project that challenges convention, be it a structurally optimized tower or a community-focused museum, Resistance becomes louder. It questions the feasibility of the design, my ability to execute it, and the impact it will have on the community.

But here's where "The War of Art" has been my steadfast ally. Pressfield's words serve as a battle cry to confront Resistance head-on. He reminds us that Resistance is directly proportional to the importance of the task at hand. In my work, this means that when I'm pushing the boundaries of structural optimization or community participatory design, Resistance's strength intensifies. Acknowledging this correlation empowers me to recognize that I'm on the right track.

Turning Resistance into Fuel

Resistance doesn't have to be the enemy. In fact, it can be a powerful ally. I've learned to view Resistance as a compass, pointing me toward the projects that truly matter. When I sense its presence, it's a signal that I'm on the brink of something significant. Rather than succumbing to its paralyzing grip, I've channelled it into motivation.

In the design world, Resistance reminds me that I'm pushing boundaries, exploring uncharted territories, and striving for innovative solutions. It fuels my desire to create projects that not only stand as architectural marvels but also enhance the lives of those who interact with them.


In the realm of design and engineering, battling Resistance is a daily struggle. Still, "The War of Art" has taught me to see it as a testament to the significance of my work. By embracing Resistance and using it as a compass, I continue to create human-centred, sustainable projects that challenge the norm. In doing so, I contribute to the well-being of communities and push the boundaries of what's possible in the fusion of architecture and engineering. So, as I dance through the intricacies of my projects, I remember that Resistance, like any dance partner, can lead to beautiful and unexpected outcomes when approached with the right mindset.


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