In a rare display of versatility as evidenced in his non-fiction manuscript, The War Of Art, Seasoned American fiction writer Steven Pressfield observed and illustrated the distinction(s) between a professional and an amateur. While it must be said that some of the words used in his exposition should be taken basically in his own context, the highlighted differences provide valuable insight to those who seek acclaimed expertise in their fields.

Pressfield described an amateur as someone who does a task merely for the fun of it. Someone who picks a task up out of convenience. Someone who merely loves the task but doesn’t allow this love drive him to go the extra mile in breaking new grounds. Someone who doesn’t do his task for the money. Someone who is overly affected by the estimation of others about him as far as competence of the said task is concerned and as such allows emotionality cloud his judgement and performances.

A professional on the other hand is someone whose love of a task drives him to be persistent enough to approach expertise. Someone who turns up every time whether he be tired, depressed or intimidated – who still will turn up even if she were the last person in the world. Someone who treats the task as if it’s all about the ‘affluential’ gratification to be derived and conditions herself to work as if the rewards she’d obtain are enormous (even when nothing is forthcoming). Someone who does not take failure too personal.

You see, professionalism in the end (as far as Pressfield is concerned) is not a state but a process. It involves the consistent effort and emotional stability required to be objective enough to ‘keep at it’ no matter the daunting challenges you face.
You know best what heights you mean to scale with your life, so whether you choose to be recognized as an amateur or a professional, I leave that to you to decide.

I recommend the War of Art for a better appreciation of Steven Pressfield’s ideas and propositions.

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