Life & Philosophy

Be wary of advice

The fallacy of giving advice is that what works for one person rarely works for another.

Advice is unique and personal, a collection of warnings we tell ourselves about how to avoid past mistakes, synthesized and abridged for a recipient.

“Unsolicited advice is the junk mail of life.”

Bernard Williams

The best advice we can give someone is to encourage them to develop their own opinions of the world. Our experiences are neither guides nor answers; everyone deserves the freedom to their own way.

Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Visualizing the practice

Visualize the practice, not the result.

Actions have goals built into them, giving you a better chance at achieving what you want.

Success happens to the idea, not at the force of aim. Because it’s all about the sustained head work and heart work it takes to get there.

“Don’t aim at success-the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greaterthan oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Effort necessitates results. It is a trigger for experiences.

“As you travel through life, let this be our goal: keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole.”— Steven Pressfield

Everything is practice.

art via giphy

Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Quotes Writing

The World According to Garp

Below is an excerpt from John Irving’s 1978 novel The World According to Garp:

Garp threw away his second novel and began a second novel. Unlike Alice, Garp was a real writer—not because he wrote more beautifully than she wrote but because he knew what every artist should know: as Garp put it, “You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.” Even if these so-called endings and beginnings are illusions. Garp did not write faster than anyone else, or more; he simply always worked with the idea of completion in mind.

Finish what you start, or throw it away and start something you’ll finish. Ship it.

On the other hand, you can put it aside and let it marinate.

Everything comes to use, eventually. You can only connect the dots looking backward after the experience.

art via giphy

Life & Philosophy

We need the prodding

We need the prodding, we need Mom’s extra push. If it weren’t for other people like Mom, Dad, a coach, brother, or teacher advising us what we should do, important experiences and future cues would go missing.

This is not to say that following advice is a prerequisite to success. For one, instructions are subjective — everyone’s life trial is unique. As thought leader Steve Garguilo chimed:

It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past. 

Steve Garguilo

But without the extra context learned from having taken someone’s word and followed through, we wouldn’t know whether something was good or bad.

Sometimes we need to listen first, act, and then deduce. It is only then can we say with confidence what we really think. Experience works like a muscle: the more sets we over time, the stronger our intuition gets.

By using our heads and shoring up our gut, we can make future decisions that enable us to meet our maker. And provide our best judgment to other important folks along the way.

gif via @lookhuman

Books Productivity & Work Uncategorized

‘Intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you’

Andy Andrews, The Noticer

Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. The seagull may intend to fly away, may decide to do so, may talk with the other seagulls about how wonderful it is to fly, but until the seagull flaps his wings and takes to the air, he is still on the dock. There’s no difference between that gull and all the others. Likewise, there is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place. Intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.

— Andy Andrews, The Noticer

Books Quotes Writing

Pulitzer-prize winning novelist Jennifer Egan shares her three rules for writing

In her book Why We Write, 2011’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan shares three writing tips for aspiring writers:

Number two is my favorite piece of advice.

Writing is like a muscle that needs to be worked out again and again, kind of like brushing your teeth. After you establish the habit, you should feel a bit empty when you don’t do it. Make a schedule and stick to it.

1. Read at the level at which you want to write. Reading is the nourishment that feeds the kind of writing you want to do. If what you really love to read is y, it might be hard for you to write x.

2. Exercising is a good analogy for writing. If you’re not used to exercising you want to avoid it forever. If you’re used to it, it feels uncomfortable and strange not to. No matter where you are in your writing career, the same is true for writing. Even fifteen minutes a day will keep you in the habit.

3. You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.

Jennifer Egan, Why We Write 
Arts Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

‘What art-MAKING advice would your older-self give your younger-self?’

Senior Art Critic for New York Magazine Jerry Saltz posed an interesting question to fellow creators on Instagram:

What art-MAKING advice would your older-self give your younger-self? I’ll start with three.
1. Let go of being smart; don’t dismiss any idea as too dumb.
2. Bring the crazy.
3. Change the ways you use of making the same thing.

The advice in the replies blew me away. The common sentiment seems to be to push through CRAP (criticism, rejection, assholes, and pressure) and to keep making pieces true to the artist themselves. After all, the [easyazon_link identifier=”1936891026″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″ cart=”y” popups=”y”]War of Art[/easyazon_link] is a war with your own inner dialogue.

  • 1) master the core skills and time honored rules of the old world painters. It will be boring but worth it. 2) Promptly forget the rules and routinely misuse the tools.3) Make YOUR art. Straight and unfiltered. 4) Don’t push so hard to sell. Let the art lead the way: it’ll find its own audience or not. 5) Stay curious about everything not just art and be bold. 6) Have a personal standard: make paintings that can stand on their own in the time honored tradition of painting. Many won’t know, you will.
  • mandelau 1. Be brave and fearless 2. Generously share what you’ve created with anyone who’s interested.
    3. Don’t listen to (or read) criticism about your own work…negative or positive
  • johandeckmann Trust your gut. But before that be able to feel your gut in the first place. Then act accordingly
  • the_lynne_avril Talk with the painting – it will tell you what to do.
  • didihoffman4 As Auguste Rodin told his protege Malvina Hoffman, the reason for art is to show truth in nature – to express in whatever form the universal truth He believed one should first be a master of technique and drawing – from there the artist would then have the ability to express in their own way. He didn’t really believe in a specific style. He wanted the artist to be true to self and to express only truth. He saw art as a very serious craft that should not be trivialized.
  • studiollondon 1 – you can’t trust your eyes if you’re imagination is out of focus – mark twain 2- comparing yourself to others and not trusting your ideas leads to unnecessary paralysis and creating crap because you’re not being true to yourself. 3- go with your initial instinct and work it out. You’ll know what feels right to you and what doesn’t to work out in the end.
  • wanderlustyes You don’t need more space. You can work in your closet. You need time alone. Don’t spend your time trying to get money to get more space. Allow yourself the luxury of being bored. Allow yourself the freedom of restriction. Do it over and over and over again.
  • rosettihnw 1. Get a good well paying job. 2.Raise a family and save your money for retirement. 3.Retire and paint your heart out.

That last comment reminds me of what Brian Eno said about art: “Art is everything you don’t have to do.” It also reminds me of Hugh Macleod’s ‘[easyazon_link identifier=”159184259X” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″ cart=”y” popups=”y”]sex and cash theory[/easyazon_link]’ which encourages artists not to leave their day job.