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Leadership Abilities: Part 3

Leadership 3

By John Bryson

In Stephen Pressfield’s classic War of Art, he mentions that the high performers—the creatives, those who produce, those who are effective—eventually have to learn to “be miserable”.

Pressfield explains: “The artist must be like that marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier… because this is war, baby. And war is hell.”

I believe this is a powerful idea and one every man, every leader. and every change agent must learn in order to perform and push through tough seasons of life and leadership.

Navy Seals teach this. Two-a-day football practices teach this. Medical School Residency teaches this. That was my greatest lesson when I trained and ran a marathon. Again, the lesson is this: You can be miserable and still move forward, produce, and thrive. God teaches his people this too (see the stories of men like Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, and Paul).

What a powerful lesson we should all live!

Unfortunately, there are few who truly understand, theologically, that we live in a fallen world. There are few who truly understand that this is not heaven, life is hard, there is much pain, disappointment and misery… but in the midst of that, by God’s grace, we can learn to cultivate and create in the midst of circumstances that will rarely, if ever, be ideal.  

A friend once told me to pinch Gen 1 and 2 in one hand and Rev 19 and 20 in the other. Those 4 chapters are perfection. The other 1,185 chapters in the Bible teach us to contend in the midst of a fallen world.

Don’t be a whiner, quitter, or baby and quit pouting or being surprised about “how hard” it is to do what you are doing.  Of course it is.  You are limited as a fallen human in a fallen world.  Learn to cultivate and create—in the midst of your misery

If you can thrive and stay on mission, especially through the worst of circumstances, you are preparing to be a game changer and a true leader, who can adapt, adjust, and endure.  

Do this “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). 



on Aug 4, 2012 :: 10:01 pm

Beast! Very encouraging and timely words. This is like that speech you need in the 4th quarter when you need to keep pushing to make that game changing play!


on May 30, 2014 :: 1:02 pm

Well said! Thanks for the encouragement!

Patricia Bryson

on May 30, 2014 :: 5:59 pm

This is "right on"! Whiners and quitters don't win. Leaders have to look beyond the hard spot. It is often lonely. I am so proud of you

Jerry Bryson

on May 31, 2014 :: 7:53 pm

Hard work and hard times build character like nothing else. You are dealing with real truth. Proud of you! POP