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Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be Book Summary, Review, Notes

The author, Steven Pressfield, instructs us in the fine art of “putting your rear end where your heart wants to be” during the course of this book. Your routines or methods, often known as your own unique approaches to “putting your ass where your heart is,” are what will ultimately lead you to achieve the goals that you set for yourself. It’s not a one-time thing. It builds up over time. It takes bravery to do so. Realizing that the thoughts that are causing you resistance are really just your fears manifested in mental form is the first step. In this book, Pressfield shares with us the art of stopping self-sabotage and achieving the goals that you have set for your life.

Book Title— Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be
Author—  Steven Pressfield
Date of Reading— 
September 2022
Rating—  
8/10

Table of Contents

What Is Being Said In Detail

BOOK ONE. PUT YOUR ASS WHERE YOUR HEART WANTS TO BE

In book 1, Pressfield shares with us the essence of what “put your ass” means. He describes that “put your ass” means to move our “physical form” to where our heart wants to be. In other words, the activity you want to develop or engage in. To put it in other words, simply do the things you want to do, like going to dance classes, or starting to write if you want to begin a novel, etc. Not only just moving a couple of steps in your neighborhood, but he also encourages us to make huge ones, like moving to another state to pursue a career or a creative dream. This action may even allow you to meet people who can assist you in achieving your goal or inspire you to become a better person. He assures us that “moving your ass,” as dumb as it sounds, involves a huge amount of power. In addition to that, he states that fear, most of the time, keeps us from doing things that we want to do. Another point that Pressfield makes in book 1, is that when you “put your ass” where your heart wants to be, people take you much more seriously. And if you make a good impression, this could benefit your career in the long run.

BOOK TWO. ASS == COMMITMENT

In Book Two, Pressfield talks about how the inner body is involved in putting your ass where your heart wants to be. He also argues that, on this topic, “ass” means commitment. Put your ass where your heart wants to be. In other words, it means to “Commit emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually to your dream.” Although it can be a great change and confusion when moving to another place can appear, what really matters is that we took action to make our dreams come true.

In Book Two, he also reiterates how friendships are important and can help us “seize our asses and drag them where our heart wants to be.”

Pressfield then states that commitment is equal to risk as well. We are afraid to expose ourselves and to fail in the process. But the truth is that if we do not risk, we do not win. Although fear can become an overwhelming emotion, we just do not fight it, but instead just keep on moving to where our heart wants to be. When we face these moments of fear and risk, we become much more self-empowered. We make a life-changing transformation.

BOOK THREE. PUT YOUR ASS . . . OVER THE LONG HAUL

In book three, Pressfield talks about how “putting your ass” is a long-haul principle in our lives. In other words, it should be for life. He then exemplifies this statement with a fragment of an article written by pianist James Rohes. In this article, James narrates the struggle of becoming an extraordinary pianist, from the sacrifices and the beautiful feeling of fulfillment he has felt over being able to perform marvelous melodies. This would not have happened if he had not worked as hard as he did, even practicing 6 hours a day. He “put his ass” where his heart wanted to be. Pressfield then provides various “lists” of songs and artwork that he assures us could not have been done if these artists had not followed their dreams with actions and a change of mindset. The author calls them the “body of work” of an artist, which is what “it should be” and “want to be.” In other words, the result is our own dedication. Even if it is just one hour a day, it can make a great difference.

BOOK FOUR. PUT YOUR ASS . . . IN A SPACE

In book four, the author states the benefits of having your own space and a schedule when it comes to your work, whether you are an artist or an office person. These two elements will help any person to really focus on what they want to achieve. Pressfield narrates how, when he was studying ballet, his teacher would always tell them to “Leave your problems outside the classroom.” We must be completely concentrated on our goals and where “our hearts want to be.” Even if that means turning off all external sources of distraction, such as social media.

Through one fragment of Pressfield’s novel called Alexander the Great, The Virtues of, he writes about the importance of leaving every emotion such as ego, or greed, on the battle field and leaving only your will of victory. With this, he states that we should always believe in ourselves in order to reach “where our hearts want to be” and want to achieve.

He adds that we never go for little but “at the highest possible level.” Go beyond our limits. Even if the path gets difficult or it seems that we will not achieve our goals, the important thing is to always give the best of ourselves. Every day is just as important as any other. And as important as that is, always listen to your body and rest when you need it. Do not push your body.

BOOK FIVE. FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD

In Book Five, Pressfield talks about how the work you are doing now could influence the “Higher Dimensions” or the “Fortune.” He argues that this energy is aware of what’s going on in the material plane we live in, like a connection between the two worlds. He explains one way to see it, which is through Indian culture. He narrates about how the great warrior Arjuna receives spiritual counsel from Krishna (God in human form) and how they not only interact but actively aid and support him. With this, he assures us that higher and lower dimensions integrate, and they always keep an eye on the hard work we do.

BOOK SIX. PUT YOUR ASS . . . AND KEEP IT THERE

In book six, the author states the importance of reinforcement. Reinforcement is when you can acknowledge your overall status and the goals you want to achieve. In other words, to be able to examine your current status and what things you must improve to develop yourself to reach your top level and always to become a better version of yourself. The author then remembers the days when he attended the Marine Corps and a sergeant who wanted to be called “watashi.” For him, feelings did not matter in war. Pressfield links it to this book by stating that, for him, it does not matter how you feel, but just to do the work, whether you feel like it or not.

Steven Pressfield Quote: “When you and I put our ass where our heart wants to be, we do it for keeps. We’re in it to the end of the line.”

This reinforcement action sometimes means “kicking reality out of the door.” We need to believe in our own reality. There are things that cannot be changed, such as gravity or environmental elements, but “conventional reality” is oftentimes dictated by society. In order to achieve our goals, it is important to not always listen to what others say can or cannot be done and just simply do it. The real mentor is within us, in our Unconscious. For Pressfield, “the unconscious is the organ of self-reinforcement.”

BOOK SEVEN. PUT YOUR ASS… OUT THERE IN PUBLIC

In Book Seven, the author, in his own personal experience, talks about the importance of promoting yourself. When it comes to selling a service, he talks about the importance of promoting yourself. When it comes to selling a service to the general public, we always need to seek out opportunities for promotion and do any other activities that could help us with that, like events, podcasts, a strong social media presence, etc. In order to take this step, we have to get rid of any fear we may have. The author encourages us to not wait until it’s too late. Today is the day.

In addition to this, it is stated once again the importance of having a schedule and not missing deadlines and how this will make us much more responsible and save time on not making excuses. Finally, in this chapter, it states how sometimes when we are about to finish or to get to the goal we have tried to reach all this time, the resistance gets much stronger. It’s the fear of success. Pressfield simply states to “kill the instinct” and don’t let it win.

BOOK EIGHT. PUT YOUR ASS… ON THE SPIRITUAL PLANE

In the eighth and final book, Pressfield examines the “Higher Dimension.” He assures us that this great energy provides us with some of the great ideas we may have. The author then states that, to contact this dimension and be in touch with these ideas, we first need to get rid of our ego. In his words, the author assures us that, “The ego is your ass. The self is where your heart wants to be and The Divine Ground is what powers the Self and renders it transcendent. Blow off your ego. Move to your Self.” Pressfield adds that this ego is the one who keeps us away from the higher dimension and instead makes us stay on the material plane, bounding us to material and non-important things that could never take the best of us. On the other hand, if we believe in the Self and detach ourselves from the ego, we would evolve and be able to create something greater, since the Self believes we are all bound and it is not attached to the material world rather than a higher dimension. The Self is love. The book concludes by explaining that as we go from ego to self, our priorities shift. When we shift from Ego to Self, our range of consciousness broadens. We no longer perceive ourselves as an isolated element in a pointless or random universe. Our path through this tangible world has meaning, and it is not linked to mundane things like money or possessions.

Steven Pressfield Quote 2: “Making a simple commitment not to miss deadlines helps us immensely. Once we agree on a deadline, we no longer have to worry about it. We no longer have to negotiate, come up with excuses or even stress about it.”

Most Important Keywords, Sentences, Quotes

BOOK 1. PUT YOUR ASS WHERE YOUR HEART WANTS TO BE

“The most obvious interpretation of the axiom is that it means body position. When we say, Put your ass where your heart wants to be, we mean station your physical body in the spot where your dreamwork will and must happen.”

“Your friends are your spiritual companions. They have the same dream as you, and they’ll help you get a job at the Shake Shack. They’ll share Uber rides with you. They’ll be your friends for life.”

“When you move your physical body to where your heart wants to be, your peers and potential mentors think at once that you are serious. They consider you one of them because you have committed to your dream. “

BOOK TWO. ASS == COMMITMENT

“The third level of meaning behind Put your ass where your heart wants to be is commitment over time, commitment in the face of adversity, and when a director like Frank Oz takes on a project, he’s projecting a two or three-year commitment.”

“When we put our ass where our heart wants to be, we’re taking a step that has terrified the human race since our days back in the cave. When we commit, we’re moving from the Known to the Unknown.”

“When you and I put our ass where our heart wants to be, we do it for keeps. We’re in it to the end of the line.”

“Sacred spaces are those that are treated with respect and devotion. They are places where you go to be focused on what you’re doing. They are not to be disturbed by noise or distractions.”

BOOK THREE. PUT YOUR ASS . . . OVER THE LONG HAUL

“When we commit to our calling, we acknowledge the forces of inspiration that we hope to summon to our aid. We can’t compel the goddess to appear, but we can invoke her.”

BOOK FOUR. PUT YOUR ASS . . . IN A SPACE

“[…] Self-reinforcement keeps us committed over the long haul.”

BOOK SIX. PUT YOUR ASS . . . AND KEEP IT THERE

“The poet John Keats had a different notion of self-reinforcement. He believed that negative capability, or the ability to be in uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason, was what made a man an achiever.”

BOOK SEVEN. PUT YOUR ASS… OUT THERE IN PUBLIC

“The law of Resistance is that it is strongest at the finish.”

“[…] We are killing Resistance by sinking our dagger into the insidious, pernicious, rotten, and sneaky force of our own self-­sabotage.”

“Making a simple commitment not to miss deadlines helps us immensely. Once we agree on a deadline, we no longer have to worry about it. We no longer have to negotiate, come up with excuses or even stress about it.”

BOOK EIGHT. PUT YOUR ASS. ON THE SPIRITUAL PLANE

“The Self is the Greater Sphere of the psyche. It contains the Ego but is many times greater. The Self does not think of itself as I. The Self inhabits a physical body but is not bound to it.”

Steven Pressfield Quote 3: “The most obvious interpretation of the axiom is that it means body position. When we say, Put your ass where your heart wants to be, we mean station your physical body in the spot where your dreamwork will and must happen.”

“When an individual with an addiction stops denying the problem and instead accepts it, they have committed to solving it. In that moment, their seat of identity shifts from the ego to the Self.”

Book Review (Personal Opinion):

As the title implies, Pressfield says that we must place our asses where our hearts desire. And that means we have to pack up everything and move our asses to where we want to be. He also says that it’s important to be in the environment because that’s where the peers and mentors are and where the chances are.

He gives a great list of examples, like Hemingway in Paris sharing writing tips with other writers, John Lennon in London sharing stages with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger moving from Austria to California to follow his Hollywood dream. None of these people would have been as successful if they had stayed at home.

Now, “being there” could also mean being present in the state of mind or virtually, but it doesn’t matter if we’re there physically or mentally; once our asses are there, we have to work them off, so to speak. That’s where the part about “never taking no for an answer” comes in. We have to be able to deal with one rejection after another without losing hope or spirit, but we also have to give everything we have to the process.

Pressfield says that self-reinforcement is a trait that is more important than talent because many talented people have failed because they gave up in the middle of a fight.

He also talks about spirituality and the difference between the Ego and the Self. It is a very inspiring book, but I think it should be split into two parts because it has two main ideas. First move your “ass” or “body”, and then your mind and feelings will follow. This is a very intriguing book about perseverance, which is defined as the desire and enthusiasm to follow our goals despite the challenges we face.

Rating: 8/10

If You Want To Learn More

Here is an interview with Steven Pressfield on
“PUT YOUR ASS WHERE YOUR HEART WANTS TO BE | Steven Pressfield”

How I’ve Implemented The Ideas From The Book

After I finished this book, I attempted to take the first baby step toward realizing my lifelong goal of eliminating procrastination. When I noticed that I was beginning to put things off until later, I forced myself to stop thinking about everything that “I could do” and instead got up and start working on the things that I needed to get done. My productivity has increased dramatically as a result, and I am able to lead a much more carefree life now that I am no longer under constant pressure to “complete” things.

One Small Actionable Step You Can Do

To put one’s “ass” where one’s “heart wants to be,” as the author puts it, one of the first things that one must do in order to reach the goals that one has set for themselves is to simply get up and move to a place from which they are capable of achieving those goals. This is one of the first steps that must be taken in order to reach the goals that one has set for themselves For instance, if you want to write a book, you could start by just sitting down at your desk, turning on your computer, and committing to writing at least one page every single day to begin with. This behavior will eventually turn into a habit, and over time, you will become much more responsible and disciplined as a result. It may be as little as one easy step, which to some may seem pointless, but in reality, it will push you to grow and put you on the path to success.

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