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They Did It This Way

Did you know?

Ludwig Van Beethoven religiously took walks in nature to find new musical ideas.

Georgia O’Keefe cultivated her garden for improved health. Upon hearing that John Marin had completed three canvases in one day the first thing she asked him was what he ate that day.

Agnes Martin’s rigorous meditation practice helped her manage her schizophrenia and find inspiration for her paintings

Ernest Hemingway stopped writing before he didn’t know what to say next so that he knew where to pick up in the morning.

Thomas Edison slept upright with a metal ball in his hand to wake him up so that he could record the ideas he found during light sleep before he lost them in deep sleep.

You Do It Your Way

No two artists do it quite the same way. Your art is your own. So are the daily rituals that propel your life. Like you, they change over time. The time you spend reviewing your habits, casting aside old unproductive ones and cultivating new productive ones will ensure greater fulfillment and success and quite possibly new breakthroughs.

Habits … they’re the keys to achieving your life goals. Habits are powerful because small things build up to something much bigger over time. Are your habits serving you? If you haven’t reconsidered your habits recently, it’s time. I know it is for me. We don’t have to do this all at once. We just have to get started. And make it a habit to consider our habits.

In this set of resources, you’ll find all kinds of great food for thought including what worked for famous artists like Leonardo, Beethoven, Hemingway, O”Keeffe and many many more.

A Toolkit To Help You Improve Your Habits

Don’t think of these resources as a to-do list. You can’t do it all! What’s most important is making time and space for the things in your life that are the most important to you.

Think these resources as toolkits to help you craft the life you want to live!

 

Schedule

How To Schedule Your Day For Peak Creative Performance

Exercise

Why Exercise Makes You More Creative

Why Walking Helps Us Think

Can A Simple Walk Improve Your Creative Thinking?

Beethoven’s Daily Habit For Inspiring Creative Breakthroughs

Diet

Need A Creative Boost? Take A Look At Your Diet

From Picasso’s Rice Pudding to O’Keeffe’s Green Juice, the Favorite Snacks of Famous Artists 

Sleep

Taking a Nap Could Make You More Creative

Scientists Agree – Coffee Naps Are Better Than Coffee Or Naps Alone

Can Sleep Make You More Creative ?

How Famous Artists Dealt With Insomnia

Stress

Artists Share Their Rituals For Dealing With Stress

Meditation

Why Meditating Might Make You A Better Artist

How Disconnection Boosts Your Creativity

Want to Be More Creative At Work? Stop Working !

Artists

Legendary Cellist Pablo Casals, at Age 93, On Creative Vitality And How Working with Love Prolongs Your Life

The Daily Routines Of 12 Famous Writers 

The Daily Routines Of Great Writers

The Morning Routines of Famous Artists, From Andy Warhol To Louise Bourgeois

The Daily Routines Of 10 Women Artists, From Joan Mitchell To Diane Arbus

7 Famous Artists Who Made Great Work Late At Night

Quotes

41 Great Quotes About Habit

 

That’s a lot! Don’t eat it all at once! Savor it over time!

Start here.

Can Sleep Make You More Creative ?

Quotes_Habits

Enjoy this collection of quotes on habits.

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“We become what we repeatedly do.” ― Sean Covey

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Gandhi

“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
― Samuel Smiles

“Habit is stronger than reason.” – George Santayana

“The only way we could remember would be by constant re-reading, for knowledge unused tends to drop out of mind. Knowledge used does not need to be remembered; practice forms habits and habits make memory unnecessary. The rule is nothing; the application is everything.” ― Henry Hazlitt

“Habit is a second nature that destroys the first. But what is nature? Why is habit not natural? I am very much afraid that nature itself is only a first habit, just as habit is a second nature.” – Blaise Pascal

“We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking. In that race which daily hastens us towards death, the body maintains its irreparable lead.” – Albert Camus

“Get the habit of analysis – analysis will in time enable synthesis to become your habit of mind.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

“The real key is to live in an environment where the mind feels free to choose the right thing instead of being compelled by habit and inertia to choose the wrong thing.” – Deepak Chopra

“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” ― Warren Buffett

“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Your little choices become habits that affect the bigger decisions you make in life.” ― Elizabeth George

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” ― Samuel Johnson

“Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it.” – Horace Mann

“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” ― John Irving

“Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).” – Stephen R. Covey

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” – Malcolm Gladwell

“Habits change into character.” – Ovid

“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions.It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” – Tony Robbins

“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” – Brian Tracy

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” – Benjamin Franklin

“All people are the same; only their habits differ.” – Confucius

“Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted? In fact… It turns out that choices lead to habits. Habits become talents. Talents are labeled gifts. You’re not born this way, you get this way.” – Seth Godin

“Successful people aren’t born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.” ― William Makepeace Thackeray

“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.” – Steven Pressfield

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” – Colin Powell

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn

“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.” – Twyla Tharp

“The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.” – Henry Moore

“If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you need to either change your habits or change your dream.” – John Maxwell

“The secret to permanently breaking any bad habit is to love something greater than the habit.” ―Bryant McGill

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell

“True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.” – Jean Cocteau

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.” ― Mark Twain

“Without struggle, no progress and no result. Every breaking of habit produces a change in the machine.” – George Gurdjieff

“Each year one vicious habit discarded, in time might make the worst of us good.” – Benjamin Franklin

“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” ― Erasmus

“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” – Mark Twain

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“Drop by drop is the water pot filled.” – Buddha

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Explore The Essential Collection Of Creativity Quotes here.

View The Essential Collection Of Creativity Videos here.

Discover more quotes in my social networks.

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You can learn a lot from watching how other artists work, especially if they’re working in another medium. Figuring out how you work in similar ways to produce your own authentic works is an exercise in creativity itself. And creativity is like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it grows.

You’re sure to be inspired by these 8 masters.

Henri Matisse

Mark Rothko

Francis Bacon

Edvard Munch

Willem de Kooning

Keith Haring

Joan Mitchell

Agnes Martin

 

Plus enjoy 33 Ways To Be More Creative.

Find more How To Be An Artist posts here.

Find more in my social networks – Facebook and Twitter.

Get more great curated content with my newsletter Insights.

“Imagine a neuroscientist who has only ever seen black and white things, but she is an expert in color vision and knows everything about its physics and biology. If, one day, she sees color, does she learn anything new? Is there anything about perceiving color that wasn’t captured in her knowledge? Eleanor Nelsen explains what this thought experiment can teach us about experience.”

Find more Creativity videos here.

Learn more in my Creativity workshops.

Watch Your Process

December 1, 2018 | 1 Comment |

Alignment IV

Do this one thing and your creative life will be transformed. Watch your process.

One of the assignments I often give my workshop participants on location is to watch your process and take notes. Notice what you do and the way you do it. After every observation ask why. “First I do this. Why? In this way. Why? Then I do this. Why? In this way. Why? Next I … etc.”

First note what you do – and don’t do.

When you watch your process carefully you become aware of every step in your process and everything involved in it. Actions and things that went unnoticed before will become clear to you.

Second note how you do it.

You probably have a choice to do the same thing in many different ways. You may be used to doing things in certain ways, without realizing it. Maybe you made an assumption. Was it necessary? Maybe you developed habits. Bad habits prevent you from getting the results you want? Are you taking shortcuts? Are you doing something a certain way because someone else told you to? Good habits help you do things efficiently after you’ve practiced them. Are they still serving you? If so, keep doing that! If not, stop doing that! Sometimes what works in one situation doesn’t work in another. Are your habits serving you when things change?

Third, ask why you do what you do.

Behind every action there’s a goal. You eat, drink, breathe, sleep to stay alive. You photograph to … ? Your most basic motivations are fairly simple. Some of your other motivations are much more complex – and it’s likely you do many of them for unconscious reasons and your conscious mind has a lot more to learn about them. If you really want to get to the core motivations behind the things you do it can be helpful to ask “Why?” five times in a row. Ask the first question. Then ask “Why?”. Respond to that answer with “Why?” and repeat this a few more times. Often our deepest motivations don’t reveal themselves until the third, fourth or fifth time you ask “Why?” If you find asking “Why?” is getting in the way of your observations while you’re practicing your process, ask it when you’ve finished and are reviewing your notes.

Watch your process. It seems simple. It is. But like meditation it’s not easy. Because we quickly and constantly fall back into our habits, which is exactly what we’re trying to notice more carefully – and potentially change.

There are many more benefits to taking notes about your process. Because I write …

I constantly generate new ideas.

I’m rarely blocked.

I’m more productive.

I’ve streamlined my systems.

My technique is better.

I recognize the ideas and practices I’ve inherited from others.

I’m aware of what’s influencing me, for how long, and why.

I’m clearer about what works and what doesn’t, for me.

I’m aware of my self-talk.

I’ve identified my goals.

I understand more about the personal reasons behind the things I do and the ways I do them.

My work has more purpose.

I enjoy my process more.

 

I could go on and on about the many benefits this practice brings. But don’t take my word for it. Try it!

I find I write the same things down time and time again. This has lead me to create a master process list, which I can copy and modify or add to or subtract from, as needed on location. (Recently I’ve been keeping it in Notes on my iPhone.) I find there are always new things to observe. Are there new things because I noticed more? Why? Are there new things because I’m in a new environment? Why? Are there new things because I decided to try something new? Why? Are there new things because I’m more emotionally receptive? Why? These are important questions that can unlock a new ways of looking, thinking, and working, now and in the future. Keep asking them. Ask a lot of questions!

Watching your process is really a matter of becoming aware of your choices, what you choose to do and what you choose not to do, and the many choices you may have overlooked. With this greater awareness you can choose to do the same things with the same things or make other choices. With more choices available to you, you can make better choices. Better according to who? You!

Be mindful of your creative process. Make this a habit and you’ll transform your life.

Read my Meditation resources here.

Read more in my Creativity Resources.

Learn more in my Creativity Workshops.

Take Notes

December 1, 2018 | Leave a Comment |

Alignment XVI

 

There are so many reasons to write! You don’t have to write professionally to experience the many benefits writing can offer you. Remember, while few people write professionally, everyone writes, most often to help them do their work. While you may not consider yourself a writer, you already write. So write more!

Here are four reasons to write.

1          Retention

Writing will help you remember things. Most people can only hold seven things in their minds at once. When new information comes in, old information is lost – unless you write it down. You’re 73% more likely to remember and act on something if you write it down. (If you type your notes, this number drops to 39%, which is still much better.) Part of this stickiness comes from finding the words that work best for you, so use the language that you’re most comfortable with and that means the most to you. You probably have a to do list professionally, so why wouldn’t you use one to help you excel in your creative life too? And there are times when everyone needs a checklist. (Atul Gawande Checklist Manifesto shows how doctors used checklists to reduce hospital deaths and complications by more than 33%.)

2          Clarity

Writing helps you see more and see more clearly. Like any creative discipline, writing encourages closer observation. You note more things. You note more things about the things you note. Unlike photography, which encourages observation of things you can see, writing can also help you observe things you can’t see like your thoughts and emotions, interactions within relationships, and processes unfolding in time. When you find the right words to describe something you understand it better.

3          Productivity

Writing can help you find more ideas. When you unburden your memory those mental resources are freed to do more things. You’ll become mentally freer and more energized. It’s important to file your notes in an easily retrievable organized system that you trust, otherwise your mind will continue trying to remember everything, which no one can do, not even the gifted who have photographic memory. Once you see what you’ve written new ideas will come to you. You can accelerate this process by playing word games. Alex Osborne’s acronym SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put To Other Uses, Expand, Reverse) is a mnemonic device for a series of mental operations you can use, each of which is capable of leading to countless new ideas.

4          Organization

Organizing your writing helps you get organized. Often the process of taking notes isn’t linear, you simply let it all out. When you revisit and reorganize your notes you make even more sense out of your observations. Lists help you identify steps in a process, set priorities, and identify more important items. Remember, you can also use size, color or graphic symbols like underlines and stars to make some words stand out more than others.

Take Notes With Images

Images and words can create a wonderful synergy. Include an image with you written notes and you can dramatically increase the amount of information you record and how memorable it becomes. Some things are better noted visually rather than verbally. If you can see what you want to make a record of then a photograph can very efficiently make a note, often one full of detail that would take more time than necessary to record. If you need to make a visual note and you can’t photograph it, make a doodle instead. Diagrams can be particularly useful for recording processes (vectors, paths, timelines, etc) and relationships (maps, graphs, Venn diagrams, etc)

Audio ?

What about taking notes with audio? Audio is helpful if you need to make notes hands free. Otherwise, it takes time to review audio as it’s played back, so it’s not the most efficient way to take notes. However, if you are having a conversation with someone and you don’t want to interrupt the flow by taking notes audio is quite useful. Nothing records intonation and inflection like audio does. And on those rare occasions where you want to note the particular sound of something, once again there’s nothing quite like audio.

Avoid Perfection

Remember … Perfect takes time, so for this purpose it isn’t. It’s a distraction. Be more productive. Satisfice. Think of your notes as a place to record and explore your observations – not the way you’ll present them to others. With this realization you’ll be freer about what you record and how you record it. And that’s the point.

Make notes, lots of notes, and keep doing it. You’ll find the time you spend not rushing to finished results will make what you produce better in every way. Besides, it’s fun!

 

Read more in my Creativity Resources.

Learn more in my Creativity Workshops.


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