Basic Training (Communication Basics)

Here at timotheories I believe it’s important to provide you dear readers with a depth and breadth to my content which is fairly uncommon in many blogs of the day.

I write about the arts (music, film, events), share global wisdom and learnings I’ve uncovered on how to maintain and flourish as a creative professional, and build lots of stimulating content about the value of art, often focusing on the medias of movies, table top gaming, and interviews with salt of the earth artists. I follow a monthly schedule to ensure I release a lot of quality content: written and video.

One of the reasons I do this because I believe that good communication is one of the key skills you need in life. Another of the reasons I have this workflow down pat is because good teachers and leaders practice what they preach.

#sobasic

So many of the lessons I share are cyclical,  the kind of stuff you’ll hear over and over in your life and which you really need to learn, those things you run away from until you finally own up to your obstacles and face them head on. It’s one of those theories that is so compelling when life is going great, but difficult to accept when you’ve just been handed a shit sandwich after life pummeled you and then ran over your dog.

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.

Pema Chodron

I found this quote from Pema Chodron, an American Tibetan and practising Buddhist. One who happens to be both an ordained nun and acharya. In case you’re wondering what an acharya is, it’s someone who is a senior instructor in religious matters. They teach the next generation of monks and nuns, and are generally expected to stay put, rather than wander the earth as so many Buddhist monks do.

Communication is at the root of us facing our fears in life creative cuties. As soon as you recognize that other people aren’t actively trying to limit your actions, but rather further their own lives (just as you do), it becomes way easier to recognize that the EST models of life are a real thing – exist, survive OR thrive.

As I mentioned in my first post on communication, there are seven aspects of communication to consider and make crucial in your life – clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous. I’m not going to spend the rest of this post outlining how those aspects all work and what to do with them, though I can see that becoming a future series down the road, if I get enough interest from you fine folks…

Instead I want to go over the basics of communication.

All About That Base

I found this really cool chart from Psychology Today which demonstrates how communication works. I’m not sure if they made the chart themselves or got it from somewhere else, but kudos to whoever came up with this diagram. It’s on point.

You see friends, communication can happens with multiple people simultaneously, but more importantly it is always a process that happens between a sender and a receiver. I could be delivering a presentation to a group of fifty people, but no matter how many people I present to, I am conducting individual communications with each party in the room.

So while nineteen people could understand the message I am relaying about marketing, one person might shut down as soon as I mention how we need to use more third party services as an annual media mix. This is because as the sender I have a responsibility to consider how I encode my message for the receiver and to be sure I truly understand the subject matter I’m speaking to. If I have complicated thoughts and feelings about the topic, I may not explain myself well, and so the listener is more likely to miss the message.

Now from the perspective of the receiver, a few things could happen which led to the misunderstanding. They could have not really been listening to the message for one, and for two, they might not have the comprehension skills needed to decode the message, but refuse to acknowledge their limitations. Which is a whole other loaded challenge of its own. And third, by adding a separate meaning to the message from what was intended. i.e. the person might think I’m suggesting incompetence in them and by stating we should hire more third party groups, I am affirming to the receiver that I want another company to support the workload because they are more talented.

theories Summarized

All that said, communication is most definitely something we can all learn to do better, and while it is a two way street, as you become more competent you’ll succeed more,. That means choosing your words and expressions more carefully, as well as being aware of your shortcomings in communication AND asking others to explain back to you what you’ve shared. Then you can expect to have better results getting help with editing your videos, distributing your brand new EP, or booking that photography shoot with the paint night lady.

It might not be a basic instinct, but communication really is key to success in the arts, and business in general. Just a theory I have.

Tim!

Art Tricks, Money Traps (Work-Life Balance)

We did it dear readers. We finally got through it.

We made it to the end of my series on the Wellness Factors of Life, AKA addressing the OECD index, or if you prefer, the Postconsumers series. What started out as a wild bid on my part in considering how to live a life with less and yet fuller than you could ever imagine, is now closing out with a topic more then fitting – work-life balance. The last factor that can directly effect your over-all state of being in this world of ours.

Because let’s face it, the average global citizen doesn’t even realize they have a creative component of who they are. Creativity that should be nurtured like all of the other things.

Your creative spark absolutely needs to be considered, and it connects quite well with areas of health, spirit, work, family/friends, environment, and personal fulfilment. When all of these things come together, your life will sing with excellence. Or maybe it’ll all fall apart if you ignore any one of those things for too long.

Yikes, that is a depressing thought to fathom. But I’ve been there creative cuties, and yes I may share that story in full one day. The story which led to one of my greatest theories on the importance of pursuing your purpose, it could be a campfire theory even, but not today is not that day friends.

I’ve got a different kind of wisdom to impart.

But first, let’s put a cap on that pen, and bring out the fundamental of life once more.

The Bare Knuckle Necessities

I’m going to make a bold statement.

You cannot achieve the perfect balance of life:
career (work),
spirituality (spirit, creativity),
space (home, studio, environment),
relationships (romantic, family, friends),
health (exercise, meditation, reading),
and fulfillment (hobbies, recreation)

All of these are noble pursuits, and completely attainable, but most definitely not all at once, and never more then two or three at a time. I know you’ve tried to accomplish this on your own, and you may have even fought against the theory because you wanted to disprove it. But like many idioms, adages, and metaphors of life, life hits back, over and over.

It’s not about besting life friends, it’s about taking it all in, giving it your best shot at a few areas at a time, and then continuing onward.

So for you that might mean getting a grip on health, and career for quite a while. At least until you’ve seen some positive gains and have set up some new healthy habits for yourself. I’m not going to devolve this post into going over theories I’ve discussed before on health, productivity and habit setting, but those topics do exist on timotheories.com. This is about you being okay with striving for progress in certain areas, and then moving into progress in other areas.

Automation Station

Effectively you are creating rhythms and routines for yourself that your body, mind, and soul will be grateful for. Think about it for a minute, we are so comfortable falling into the same shitty habits every day after work? Ever wonder why we do that? Hint: it’s not because we want to.

Instead of beating yourself up because you didn’t do everything on your list today, focus on a few things to accomplish each day and follow through on them. Once the systems are in place to make those good decisions a reality every day (usually after a 90 day commitment), you will eventually create your own ideal, and balance will now have a new meaning.

It becomes less about having everything in equal measure, and more about shifting attentions on these areas of wellness as needed. So put the time in, build your lists, schedule tasks, and make one concrete action towards your area of focus each day. As Rocky says, that’s how winning’s done.

For me, what that means right now is making art every week, and marketing my business. Those are two simple things, but I’ve been neglecting them for relationships, work, and health. It’s time to focus back on the art and my own purpose.

theories Summarized

Artists of all stripes have to face the same pressures of work-life balance as do those that ignore the creative path. There is nothing wrong with going one way or the other, but when you make art, never assume your failings at balance are due to the pursuit of creativity – we all struggle with this. Skill, determination and a commitment to improvement are essential in moving towards success within the arts, as is true of any field.

The difference is that your path is not set in stone, therefore the risks and rewards are much greater. But I have a theory that you already know what you need to chase.

Tim!

Danger! Danger! High Voltage! (Safety)

I know what you’re thinking. 

How can making art be dangerous timotheories?

But what if you wanted to cut a piece of wood? Or lift some clay bigger than 25 pounds? What if you decided to use aerosol cans to seal your work?

Believe it or not art can be dangerous.

Art can be dangerous, and not just for the obvious reasons of ridicule, failure and self-loathing. There are safety risks of health and wellness to consider too. How you deal with the myriad number of ways that this problem could unfold, is really up to you, but there are lots of good habits needed to be relatively safe in the process of art making.

Its all relative, after all.

That’s right, not only can painting have ill effects upon the human body, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, photography and even drawing require that you think about work safety in your environment. Yes its important to get into the zone, strike while the iron is hot, you have inspiration, and a host of other trope-ish bullshit, but living a full life will work wonders for your productivity.

A Safety Net

Some of the most common risks while in the midst of a creative endeavour are related to physical hazards like precariously placed equipment, blocked traffic routes, poor ventilation for aerosols, improper protection from chemicals and flammable materials, but electricity and power tools need to be created with care as well, but I managed to find an extensive guide from Princeton University of all places, which will guide you on your way to proper care and maintenance of your art equipment.

Artists use so many of the same hazardous materials as people working in industrial settings, but unfortunately so many artists are ill-prepared with little to no training on how to use the products they buy or the risks associated with using said products.

Not all companies are going to do the work and properly label their products with hazard warnings or explanations on how to use them. It might not seem like fun, but spending the time reading warning labels and doing some research about how pure pigment works versus binders versus water-based paint versus oil-based paint could save your life.

Safety In Numbers

Yes, it seems like a grueling and arduous process to get through, but terminal problems can easily arise from leaving oil based paints on your skin for too long or from inhaling aerosol paint because you didn’t feel like wearing the proper mask or using a well ventilated space.

This list of essentials will get you through most challenges, but an intimate understanding of your tools and safety equipment is something I cannot teach you in one post.

1. Emergency phone number list by your phone!
2. Spare charger for your mobile phone and a land line for emergencies
3. Fire detector(s) and a fire extinguisher
4. First aid kit. Don’t skimp on this!
5. Windows that allow for ample fresh air and/or easy access to outside air for ventilation
6. Emergency exit(s) – located near your studio space
7. Running water – in your studio or close by with easy access to it
8. An eye wash station and emergency shower – for chemical exposure
9. Electrical outlets away from open water sources, and water sources in the space
10. Waste disposal for toxic substances, flammable substances and a sealed storage area for them
11. Fire blankets
12. Exhaust ventilation system – for anything aerosol or airborne

 

The Safety Dance

And just for fun, consider telling a friend or loved one when you’ll be working, what you’ll be working on and how long you expect to be in the studio. Because who knows, maybe something happens while you are in the studio and you can’t get to the phone or any of your safety gear. That loved one could be the difference between being crushed by something heavy, bleeding out from a saw accident or simply being attacked on the way home at 2 am.

Again, I realize these are not nice things to discuss, but they are absolutely necessary if you are going to be a professional creative. And it’s worth a lifetime of occupational health.

timotheories Summarized

With all of that said, this was yet another example of the OECD index of needs at work, so thank Postconsumers.com for providing me with the topic of Safety to address with you, my dear sweet readers. I hope this post has been informative, and maybe a little too brief, but I promise you, there is a wealth of information out there on art safety, and even a few theories on how to implement it.

But stay with me as we address those examples in future months.

Tim!

I’ll Be Back, and Arms, and Legs (Arnold, Successful Body Building)

This is a story in progress.

It’s not finished yet because… well, I’m not dead.

That’s what I said the first time around, when I wrote the that initial entry on one of my personal heroes, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And I have gotten better since December, I’ve slowly but surely increased my capacity for greatness – through writing, reading, disciplined meditation, clean living, and creative pursuits. And especially through exercise.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a great example of someone who goes after what he wants. I’m paraphrasing but here are some examples of things Arnold has said.

I want to be the greatest bodybuilder in the world. Done. And he went through the rungs to get there. Then he decided, I want to be one of the great movie stars of his time. Done. Thank you Arnie for being The Terminator, and all of the other action hero roles you’ve taken on. And also, he decided, I want to be the governor of California… Guess what? Boom. Done.

Arnold demonstrates that with hard work and following key rules, you can have success. As he famously said in his six rules to success speech,

none of these rules work unless you do. Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.

 

 

6 Rules of Success

But what are the six rules of success? Well of course, let me lay them down for you, real simple like.

  1. Trust yourself – Many young people are getting so much advice from their parents and teachers and everyone. But what is most important is that you have to dig deep down, dig deep down and ask yourself, who do you want to be? Not what, but who. Figure out for yourself what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it may sound to other people.
  2. Break the rules – Not the law, but break the rules. It is impossible to be a maverick or a true original if you’re too well behaved and don’t want to break the rules. You have to think outside the box. That’s what I believe. After all, what is the point of being on this earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble?
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail – Anything I’ve ever attempted, I was always willing to fail. You can’t always win, but don’t be afraid of making decisions. You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision and you know that it is the right thing to do, and success will come. So don’t be afraid to fail.
  4. Don’t Listen to the Naysayers – How many times have you heard that you can’t do this and you can’t do that and it’s never been done before? I love it when someone says that no one has ever done this before, because then when I do it, that means that I’m the first one that has done it. So pay no attention to the people that say it can’t be done. I always listen to myself and say, “Yes, you can.”
  5. Work Your Butt Off – Leave no stone unturned. Mohammed Ali, one of my great heroes, had a great line in the ’70s when he was asked, “How many sit-ups do you do?” He said, “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it hurts. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.” That’s what makes you a champion.It’s important to have fun in life, but when you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there is working hard. Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that. But if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work. None of these rules work unless you do. Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.
  6. Give Something Back – Whatever path you take in your life, you must always find time to give something back, to your community, your state or to your country. Reaching out and helping people will give you more satisfaction than anything you’ve ever done.

     

But he only developed these rules by standing on the shoulders of his own giants, and let me just say, one of Arnie’s heroes should be yours too. Ever heard of Reg Park? The original italian stallion? Except he was actually British.

The Original Hercules

There have been a number of films representing the greek god Hercules, but the one that caught the attention of a young Schwarzenegger was Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis (1961), starring Reg Park in his film debut.

Reg Park was an English bodybuilder, businessman and actor. He inspired Schwarzenegger to become a bodybuilder, so if his regimen for beginners can work for Arnold, then it’ll work for us too.

You see dear readers, I’ve been exercising for almost a year straight, alternating between strength and core training (M/W/F) & cardio and meditation (Tu/Th). And while I don’t want to make this post about exercise, because I easily could break down the exercises portion of The Education of a Bodybuilder, instead, I’ll leave this here for those of you so inclined to read it. The writer is on point, and breaks down the exercises of the book really well.

theories Summarized

 

On this wisdom of Wednesday I leave you with something to ponder, what’s stopping you from committing to exercise time? I have this theory that health, wealth, and happiness are within reach creative cuties, but like Arnold says, remember the six rules.

You can do it. I believe in you, for you too are destined for great things.

Tim!

Picture Perfect Cravings (Tony Litster Success Stories)

Everyone loves a good success story. It stimulates a part of our brain that is linked to the reward centre. It’s likely why motivational speakers have been really populariz over the past 70+ years, at least in western culture anyway.

Quite a few years ago, I got serious about the teachings of man by the name of Tony Litster. I could have selected from many different coaches, gurus, and experts, but I landed on him. Mostly be accident. Tony Litster is a success coach, who focuses on success over addictions, namely pornography. Now, I’m no chicken, and will admit that I have struggled with this exact challenge in the past.

In fact, I bawked at the idea that I’d ever find someone who understood the struggle. But then I found Tony.

Tony Litster Straight Talk

Litster teaches that pornography addiction is quite often a result of the shame cycle, which comes out of childhood challenges and continues right through our adult lives.

The shame cycle makes you believe that your self-worth is tied directly into what others think of you. And that’s just not true. Each of us is invaluable and infinitely worth our lives. Learning to separate yourself from your behaviour, and more importantly, your behaviour from your sense of worth, is what allows you to move away from stimulants like pornography that ultimately do not satisfy. How you do this is by reinforcing the new idea of who you are:

One of the ways is by speaking positive belief statements to yourself, and repeating them over and over again (through recorded tracks set to classical music) – positive affirmations.

Another way is through meditation, which means settling into exhaustion for only a brief period of time, and then allowing yourself to experience all of the thoughts racing through your head while you focus on breathing in and out.

A third way is through regular and exciting forms of exercise. This could mean time at the gym, rock climbing, playing team sports or preparing for a marathon.

But there is so much more that he teaches then those three concepts. From drinking lots of water regularly, to maintaining a neutral pH balance, to visualization routines, to paying off high interest debts, this guy is in it for the long haul. He really focuses on dwelling within reality, while dealing with the chemical imbalances of serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin that result from a lifetime of pornography addiction. Better yet, there are effective ways to combat these high levels of chemical stimulation from porn watching…

Biological Peacekeeping

Adrenaline is easily fed through competition – sports, games, exercise or frightening activities like public speaking. Serotonin can be kept in check via meditation, and also by practicing Yoga. Lastly dopamine is released when we get creative – writing, playing music, painting, and using our imaginations.

Seems simple right? But it’s just another example of the importance regular exercise, meditation, and creativity play in a balanced life. I only discovered that my body was out of balance because I was constantly drawn to watching pornography whenever I would come home from work, and my girlfriend at the time couldn’t really understand why I struggled with this compulsion (read: the shame cycle). It stemmed from challenges of my youth, which probably deserve a whole other post to themselves, but this is just another layer to purpose of timotheories, and why digitally curating at heart is essential for me to live.

If I didn’t make art, take care of my body, and my mind, I’d be a hot mess. And no use to anybody.

theories Summarized

Maybe this post would’ve been better served for a timely Thursday entry, but when I sat down to write this afternoon, and saw the topic Facebook Success Stories, I thought to myself, no one really cares if I share success stories from other people. You’re all here because of my authentic experiences, and at the core of my stories are tales such as this one that I’ve hinted at. Picking up the pieces and fighting against something which I did not want for myself was imperative dear readers.

My theories all stem from this desire to live a life completely chosen of free will, and pornography was limiting me from doing just that. So I to you without motive or expectation, #liveyourlife and you will learn to #loveyourlife.

Tim!