Being a real Pro: Part 1: Pros don’t play hurt.

A couple of days ago I found myself procrastinating. I kept on going back to my phone, compulsively scrolling through the stream of tweets and news about COVID-19.

It was particularly frustrating because my mind was super clear that day. But instead of spending it productively. I squandered it just like that. I was able to ship some things earlier that day but I knew I could have done so much more.

I kept thinking “OK I still have 4 hours, let’s work on that draft. I could finish editing podcast episode too”, but I kept on going back to my phone, switching from app to app, checking Slack, email, seeking distractions.

It’s this repeating pattern of self sabotage. It’s The Resistance.

I Googled “overcoming Resistance” (yes, still procrastinating) and found this interview Steven Pressfield did with Marie Forleo.

Up till that point I was only vaguely familiar with the term “Turning Pro”. The only thing I know is that it’s the title of one of his books aside from “The War or Art” and “Do the Work” but I never looked into it any further.

From that interview I realised that “Turning Pro” is the term Pressfield created to describe the idea of overcoming The Resistance.

One line stood out for me from that interview (bolded below; transcript downloaded from Youtube)

When a pro hits adversity, they just simply rally in the face of it and kind of use it in their own way.

If a pro is hurt, they play hurt. It’s a whole different mindset.

So to me that was what really helped me overcome Resistance.

It was just to start to flip that switch in my mind and say, “I’m a pro. I’m not an amateur, I’m a pro.”

When I want to quit or I want to back off something, I just say to myself, “Would Kobe Bryant do this? Would Tom Brady do this?”

That doesn’t sit right with me.

I am most probably being pedantic here but I wish he elaborated what he meant by “play hurt”, or at least used a more precise words. Pain could be danger or discomfort. I hope he means the latter. I have not read the book so I’m interpreting it fully based on the context of this interview.

Somehow I can’t stop thinking about that line and only now I realised why: I am currently recovering from two “injuries” sustained while “overcoming Resistance” in 1) advancing my career and 2) working towards my fitness goal.

Playing hurt” could really hurt you.

I think a better frame is: Pros don’t ignore pain. They see pain accurately.

How to be a real Pro:


I am writing this to:

  1. practice my writing (one of the MO’s I start holding recently is to develop skill of self expression)
  2. give me an excuse to procrastinate productively (yes, I am procrastinating writing by writing about procrastination).

Sorry I just love recursion.


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