Deep Work Requires

Both — the ability to start, and that to continue, ignoring self-doubt and persisting until completion. Whatever it takes.

It often takes more than you thought. More energy, more homework, more discipline and focus, more time, and when it comes to conversation more context. 

We live in a both/and world.

Technology may have accelerated its speed, yet humans are still grappling with what to start and why, and then how to keep going when the initial enthusiasm is over all the way to execution completion, and then to start over again.

The challenge is particularly acute after a number of starts and stops too early on to even know if you have succeeded.

Cal Newport actually agrees with Steven Pressfield. Ironically, he may have stopped at the book on why it is so hard to get started to know he does. They both talk about mastery and dedication to doing deep work, setting aside pockets of uninterrupted time to hone your craft, go deeper, stay focused, and keep practicing.

Says Pressfield:

To me, the most valuable capital a writer has is time. Time to write, time to learn his craft, time to get better.


Money serves the same function for me now as it did then. It buys time. Time for me to work.

And my object is still the same. To keep working.

Years of his life, and still at least four hours of writing daily sounds like deep work to me.

Says Newport:

The average number of deep work hours [by of famous creatives in Mason Currey’s new book Daily Rituals] turned out to be 5.25.


The reason most aspiring creatives fail [is] because five hours of daily deep work is absurdly difficult.

In a recent video interview about writing and storytelling, Pressfield talks about what the narrator is telling you, and what the book is telling you, the larger story.

It's the same with many of the conversations I see starting online — there is a point someone is trying to make, and there is also what the larger context of what happens. Attention is constantly directed to how what is highlighted relates to the point being made.

It takes experience, empathy, and philosophy to navigate the social web. Same as it ever was with the very first technology: conversation. 

Safe travels.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover
the value of promises and its effect on relationships and
. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.