I was rereading Steven Pressfield’s excellent The War of Art last night. It’s about doing creative work. And while many of his examples focus on writing, creative work is everything where you are seeking to do something new, where you are making a difference, whether it’s writing a book, putting together a spreadsheet, tending a garden, meeting new people and developing new relationships, dieting, running a marathon, raising a family . . . .

Matthew 16:21-26 | It seems that Peter is letting Fear and Resistance get the best of him. And with a strong challenge, Jesus gives him the way to break through (and to breakthrough!).

Here’s Steven Pressfield’s take on it:

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign.

Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.

Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.

Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.

Have you ever watched Inside the Actors Studio? The host, James Lipton, invariably asks his guests, “What factors make you decide to take a particular role?” The actor always answers: “Because I’m afraid of it.”

The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.

Is he scared? Hell, yes. He’s petrified.

(Conversely, the professional turns down roles that he’s done before. He’s not afraid of them anymore. Why waste his time?)

So if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.