Six Daily Habits of an Artist
We are all artists of our lives.
Creating them willingly or not. In his recent book, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?, Seth Godin mentions the Six Daily Habits of an Artist. I thought I'd explore how I do or don't work with them in my life.
1, Sit alone; sit quietly.
I guess meditation covers this and there are many benefits that I've written about before. Yet most of us – me included– fail to get into a regular daily meditation practice. Maybe the word itself implies a commitment or ability that is beyond us. So maybe just trying to 'sit alone & sit quietly' might work a little better?
2, Learn something new without any apparent practical benefit.Ooh that's a toughy. Nothing comes to mind immediately. I live so purposefully that everything has a reason .... Or does it? I learn fretless bass and yet have no plan to play with anyone else let alone perform in front of people. I also bought a book on visual note taking –The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde– when I'm never in meetings or presentations that need note taking. Maybe this is an invitation to play more, to bring out that child like curiosity that we can so easily neglect. Any ideas appreciated!
3, Ask individuals for bold feedback; ignore what you hear from the crowd
The crowd is scared - living life from fear of failure and yearning to fit in. So don't listen to the masses but do listen to people you care about and/or admire. Invite them to be deeply honest in a way that will shift what you are doing. [So tell me what you LOVE about my work and what you HATE and at least one big idea to CHANGE IT!] All too often we ask for feedback when really we're just looking for a pat on the back and reassurance. Don't take it too personally but encourage boldness and you will end up with something much better.
4, Spend time encouraging other artists.
When we see others doing cool stuff or maybe even stuff we secretly want to do, we can feel jealous or even irritated. When we notice someone doing their job with love and passion we silently smile in our heads and yet say nothing. Engage! Tell people what you love about what they're doing. Tell people you really appreciate that the added love going into your cappuccino is noticed. Art is everywhere and so are artists. Celebrate them. Every week I hang out with different people for a coffee or a walk, without agenda, just for the hell of it. The only thing they have in common is their art - their thirst for life and experience.
5, Teach, with the intent of making change.
We all have things to share. Knowledge, understanding, skills, tips, hacks ... Don't be shy about your ability to make a difference. Teaching helps people change. You don't need to be a qualified teacher to teach. Teaching is your duty. Just don't try and teach the wrong people. Teaching takes guts. If your intention feels right then just get on and do it. No teacher escapes the feelings of insecurity and fraudulence that come from being out of your comfort zone. I know - every year I give myself a workshop title before I've even thought what to do. Hey why don't you suggest one this year?
6, Ship something that you created.
Don't let your ideas stay as ideas. Make them happen. If they're too big, make them smaller and then make them happen. It doesn't have to be a business idea or money making venture. It could just be a cake for a friend. Whatever it is, create it. And ship it. Before I got into Welldoing my ideas just stayed in my head (or should that be went stale in my head). Since I got some momentum to my art I haven't stopped shipping. This website, this blog post, the Stillworks newsletter it might have arrived in, my mindfulness course, the start of my Breathe Sync project, some fun on Instagram and Twitter, my Facebook page and my Linked In page ...Stop thinking about doing and just get on and do it!