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!

Creative Parenting (Amanda Wall interview)

Last Sunday I shared a preview of an interview with an illustrator and graphic designer who I’ve known for a quite a few years. She is one of my personal inspirations and she regularly sets a high standard for commitment to her craft.

When I become a parent one day, I can only hope to be as gracious and dedicated to parenting, married life, and art making as this lady does. And she’s a few years my junior to boot.

That’s right, with an exclusive shoot, I’m ready to share the full length and well documented official interview with Amanda Wall.

In case you missed it last week, I wrote about a specific example of Amanda’s skill, which benefits greatly her ability to delegate regularly. No matter what she’s in the midst of this lady is committed – Amanda is a full-time freelance designer, who also stays at home with her son. She is passionate about life. That might seem super vague, but let me explain in greater detail; Amanda loves to produce work related to health and wellness, life events, social issues and the eclectic. She services clients from home, whether a business or an individual.

A graduate of Grant MacEwan University with certification in design and a diploma in illustration, she has been working in the industry for almost decade. And if you were to ask small Wall Riley, there are a set of credentials there that justify the title of Mom too.

Also, I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to try out on location interviewing for the first time ever with Amanda, so don’t be surprised at the different environment, embrace it. Her kitchen and dining room are really nice, and well lit. Don’t believe me? Hit the picture below to check it out for yourself.

Told you that was going to be a good one. Aesthetically pleasing, mentally inspiring, and otherwise entertaining, I couldn’t have asked for a better hostess my first time off campus. And Riley was very accommodating too, can’t forget to thank him for his patience.

But what did you think? Did you enjoy the theme this time around? Are you a creative professional with something to say? Hit me up for a chance to do your own interview and get your voice heard, because timotheories isn’t just about me, it’s about you too.

And special thanks for Amanda for being amazing, appropriate, and available to meet!

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!

Theatre Adventures (Fringe Festival)

When I was a kid my siblings and I used to love running around the department store, hiding from our mom, pretending we were ninjas, royalty, spacemen, and all kinds of other imaginary characters.

At the time, it made sense to shuffle through the crowd of shoppers and challenge our mother’s patience, but as we grew up we started to challenge that creative energies into various pursuits. I was interested in drawing and video, Ryan was excited about music and drama, Katrina was a poet and a piano player, and Neil was a lover of comedy and performance.

We didn’t know it at the time, but Neil was eventually going to participate in something much larger than himself, and become a member of a society of performance artists where his love of comedy and acting would make perfect sense for him. And now he is a regular on the Fringe circuit.

What the heck is Fringe timotheories?

The Surrey With The Fringe On Top

Well, every summer during the month of August a group of artists, performers, and curators get together to organize an international event that hosts over 800 creative types in something north of 200 shows across a 10 day period. That event is known as the Edmonton International Fringe Festival or simply Fringe for short. It is quite seriously the oldest and largest fringe theatre festival in all of North America.

It takes place in the heart of Old Strathcona and features a chain of participating permanent theatres of the area. For instance, The ATB Arts Barns, The Walterdale Playhouse, the Varscona Theatre, and the Catalyst Theatre are all staples of the event, but neighborhood churches and restaurants like El Cortez take on their share of performers in the system – which is designed to provide artists with a venue, technicians and ticketing services, all in all a great opportunity for those types of artists to get some more exposure.

The major goal of the festival is to promote theatre, but all kinds of artists put in bids to participate in the festival via the lottery system. Which is why the crowd is always so diverse every year, you aren’t guaranteed the same set of performers every year. The second goal of fringe is to promote the spontaneity available in exploring the festival and trying out all kinds of shows. There are festival guides available for purchase, show listings online and at the the venue ticket stations, and of course, festival maps to help you find your way.

The Edmonton International Fringe Festival can be found all throughout the Old Strathcona area from August 11-21 inclusive. Consider taking public transportation to get there as parking is limited and the streets will be PACKED! And if you want to check out my brother’s show, it’s called Drinking In America, presented by Ronin Theatre, and takes place at The Backstage Theatre. I’ve dropped the link for you here.

That’s all I’ve got for the week my friends, I hope you have an excellent weekend and I’ll see you on Sunday with a new Cross Talk episode!

Tim!