Steven Pressfield: Your whale

Which idea, of all those swimming inside your brain, are you compelled to pursue the way Ahab was driven to hunt Moby Dick? Here’s how you know—you’re scared to death of it.


The whale is your unwritten book, your unsung song, your calling as an artist. You die grappling with this thing, lashed to it, battling it even as it takes you under. But your death is not a mortal death. You die instead the artist’s death, which leads to resurrection in a higher, nobler form and recruits you to the next hunt, the next chase, the pursuit of the next Thing You Love.

Is there a White Whale out there for you?

You’ll know that whale by these qualities:

Its accomplishment will seem beyond your resources.

Your pursuit of it will bear you into waters where no one before you has sailed.

To hunt this beast will require everything you’ve got.

You may have started, like me, as a junior Mad Man, scripting jingles for canine kibble. There’s nothing wrong with that. You may have prostituted your talent, sold out to the Man. I have, a thousand times. It doesn’t matter. I forgive you and I forgive myself.

Each incarnation is an apprenticeship, if you live it that way. Are you slaving now in some sell-out job? Are you living a Shadow Career instead of your real calling? It’s okay. It’s all part of the journey.

What you learn in Wrong Career #1 will serve you in Off-Key Career #2 and in Out-of-Kilter Career #3, and the wisdom you acquire in #1, #2, and #3 will form the foundation of Real Calling #4 (or #5 or #6 or however long it takes.)


Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh!t: Why That Is And What You Can Do About It by Steven Pressfield

Note: Permission
Note: Free yourself