Film Personality Tests? (Cross Talk Ep. 11)

Have you ever taken one of those standardized personality tests, dear readers? You know the ones – Myers Briggs, Jung, Eysenck, Keirsey, Rorschach, True Colors. The list goes on, and on. There quite literally dozens of these tests. Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, some of these tests are rooted in psychological practices and some are less so.

I know it’s incredibly surprising to learn that the list you love might be coming from a pseudo-science. But #realtalk. People lie on the internet.

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People love to take tests that might reveal some insight that has supposedly been hidden from them. They get really excited when they find a quiz about Game of Thrones houses, the Marvel hero they are most like, the Harry Potter patronus they should have, and heck, even the most commonly used words that are associated with their identity, based on their first name, of course. Now I recognize that most of us realize there is little validity to these pop culture related tests(at least I hope most of us), but people have fun with them. So no harm, no foul right?

Well like anything in life, the answer is mostly definitely going to be… it depends.

If you’re taking these tests to reinforce some deeply rooted ideas you have about life, then I can most assuredly tell you that you need to check yourself, before you wreck yourself. On the other hand, if taking these tests reminds you to be a better person, than I won’t stand in the way of progress.

But let’s consider another challenge with tests like this; they often make sweeping generalizations, ones that mean almost nothing intelligible. So there’s that too. Which is why this episode of Cross Talk is going to flip all of that on it’s head. We’re going to use movies, to showcase why certain movies give you emotional triggers, common generalization people make about films, how making judgments about peoples tastes in movies can hurt, and some insights into your personality versus your tastes in movies.

This is episode eleven of Cross Talk, and like any good personality test, it’ll make you laugh, smile, and think. That afterglow will be worth it, you can count on it. But don’t take my standardized word for it – Retake the test later and (C) what I would say if you chose (A) throughout.

I’m out of theories once again, but please check back tomorrow for an album review by a mathcore band… Whatever that means to you. Please comment, subscribe, and share this with friends. We want to hear your feedback!

Tim!

Quality Assurance (How To Be Authentic)

Authenticity can be difficult to achieve in the arts, whether you are a painter, a musician, an actor, a writer, a photographer or designer, the list of creative professionals this concept affects and is effected by goes on and on. Authenticity is especially difficult if you are a historian, collector or curator. Questions of who authored the work, when it was made, and its relationship to the culture it’s associated with abound.

And what if the originator isn’t in question at all, but quality of the work against said genius and their oeurve is in question? That’s a tough question too, but believe me I haven’t even addressed one of most difficult questions just yet. The one which I suspect most of you were leaning towards when the word first came to mind – how sincere, thoughtful, and genuine the output of the work is and whether the artist is demonstrating passion in their efforts. That question is one for the ages and something I struggle with too.

Feel like I’m writing a lot of nonsense already dear readers? That I’m going over your heads? That’s because I haven’t even touched the subject proper yet, and we’ve already uncovered a number of definitions and issues with the topic at hand.

This of course is because no matter what level of investment in the arts you ultimately have, the word authenticity itself is difficult to define and important to address in context.

But for the sake of fleshing out an argument, let’s take the definition which I indicated many of you were leaning towards to begin with. Merriam-Webster defines authenticity as follows –

authenticity – true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character

Now as an artist, a lover of language both visual and written, I thought it would be fun to run an exercise to break down the definition and build it back up again, in case there are some outliers in our midst. Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say about the words which make up the basic definition of authenticity, as it relates to the individual, in particular the artist.

true  –being in accordance with the actual state of affairs

personality – the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people

spirit – the inner quality or nature of a person

character – the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves

Now let’s add that definition back in, with a little more detail (my highlighted selections above) and see what happens with the results.

authenticity – being in accordance to one’s own emotional qualities, inner quality, or the way someone thinks

If you sit with that explanation for a minute, it gives a true picture of what authenticity means for an artist if they wish to be sincere with their work and marry that with passion proper. In fact, the words that help explain the word authenticity are composed of the same sorts of words themselves in their own definitions.

What that means for us is that there are commonalities and that at the root authenticity is about quality. Without proper quality something or someone no longer has worth.

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Let’s put it another way.

You see friends, I have this theory that in order to be authentic, you have to know what you are made up of, what your personal experiences have been. Then and only then can you start to address your emotional qualities, your inner quality or nature, and the way that you think about life and then act upon it. What this means for you is that you are fully capable of changing the world and participating in it, but you have to sort out your doorstep first.

You are valuable, but no one is going to sell your worth for you, you have to figure it out first, begin selling yourself and become part of the global marketplace. Sure there are experts who can appreciate potential, but they know just as I do, that the experience of sorting yourself out is invaluable, and has to come from within.

We’ll touch upon the subject more in future posts (in all forms), but for now, I’m out of theories friends. Share this with an artist and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. See you tomorrow with something melodic.

Tim!

How To Stay On Topic AND Be Topical (The Reading List)

Reading is cathartic, sharpens your mind, and expands your world. How it manages to do all of this is kind of amazing, but I’ve written about that before (see here, here, and here for recent examples), and it’s not really what this timely Thursday post is really about.

This entry is about another of my lifestyle goals as a cultivator of the arts.

You see friends, I’ve always been a lover of knowledge. Every personality test I’ve taken, every mentor I’ve had, and many of the compliments I have been given by generous humanly have usualy revolved around my intellect. I’ve spent thousands of hours of my life in thought and in the written word, so it kinda makes sense.

It’s a great comfort to me to read and I believe it is where a lot of my natural creativity lies. I’m very thankful for this gift and I intend to continue to use it to great effect. But I’ll be the first to admit, that creativity often comes from places other than self. Sure you can carry a creative idea through to it’s logical conclusion and exhaust it by repetition and personal exploration, but even more new ideas form through experience of the world.

Which is why I need to keep reading regularly, and read new things. As an artist, a curator of art and a practitioner of artist development, it’s my pleasure to share ideas with you dear readers. That means I need to find ideas in order to share them.

Buying a new album and film every week is a start, and participating in social media to build an empire is a good for discipline, but but I’ve always found that reading is the best way to spark ideas. Which is why I’ve decided to start The Reading List. It’s ambitious for sure, but it’s the only way I know how to flesh out a process, by dreaming big and digging in.

My goal for the rest of the year, and then for the rest of my life as I know it, is to read one book a month in a packet of categories. I’m going to start slow though.

To elaborate, I’ve grouped genres and topics, but will slowly expand outward until I am consuming at least 5 kinds of books a month. I already mentioned meta-reading, where I read a book, that I will also be writing about and how it relates to the act of reading, my relationship to the author I’m reading, and how my opinion of them and the work changes over time. I’m following this challenge concurrently with The Reading List to share some insights into the reading process and what I’ve learned from some wonderful authors.

And I’ve started with Ernest Hemingway. So let’s break down my crazy library sized idea for reading, and explore the possibilities and how it will benefit you, the readers of this blog.

I will read one book a month from the 5 groupings below, slowly expanding the number of books read so that I reach the point of 5 books a month. A book for each group:

  1. LIFE – Biographies/Art/Music
  2. LOVE – Classic Fiction/Non-Fiction/Graphic Novels
  3. LEARN – Business/Leadership/Self-Help
  4. LABEL – Philosophy/Sociology/Psychology
  5. LEET -The Internet

If I can get to the point where I read a book from each topic a month, I’ll be flying pretty high. You see, dear readers, if I can embrace the 5 L’s of LANGUAGE (my own idea), then I can contribute proper to your own education and personal growth in the age of the Internet – Hence the LEET grouping.

I think it’s a pretty neat way to keep myself accountable. But what do you think? I’m out of theories for the week, so share the post and leave me some feedback. Facebook and Twitter are most appreciated.

Tim!

The Secret Genius (Attitude Is Everything)

You want to be like Steve Jobs right?

Well, get in line dear readers.

Seriously though, a lot of people want to emulate the persona of Steve Jobs because he will always be remembered as a genius. That’s the way it is with great people; those visionaries and leaders who appeared at the right time and the right place and made it happen for themselves and conveniently for the world as well.

But what if I told you there is a theory floating around that geniuses don’t just appear?

That geniuses are a culmination of several factors? For instance, they are made up of things like genes, personality, ambition, environment, and effort.

Well you’d probably laugh at me.

Haha, you’re too funny timotheories, you think you know so much about theories and now you’ve finally proven that you don’t know jack!

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Well hold up there aggressive little buddy, I’m still in the process of making a point, and you are just being rude. So please keep your comments until the end of the lecture.

Let’s address the problem of effort first. There have been studies done which indicate that major breakthroughs, whether in the arts or sciences, only appear that way to the casual observer, when in reality it takes time, effort, and energy to produce mastery of skill(s). In other words, when you can understand the rules intimately, then you are capable of bending or breaking them.

Also consider that specialization totally kills creativity because you are operating within a limited palette while looking at nothing other than the subject in front of you.

Ambition and a healthy desire to discover need to be present.

Which leads us into my next point.

Whatever your conviction, you need to ask a ton of questions: which is another way of saying, keep your mind sharp. Go to the library and take out books on a variety of topics, then grab some audio books on language, and sign up for a course or a program. It doesn’t matter if you are getting a diploma, certification, accreditation or doctorate. Exercise your mind.

That also includes physical exploration by spending time in nature or on a retreat.

But what about your genetics/personality? If those are fixed then genius is limited to those born with certain traits. Yes, those details definitely make up a part – but if you are open to experiences, driven, aggressive and can learn to look inwardly, you have just found some qualities that will help get you there, and can be learned. Interestingly enough, environment can play a role too in that progression.

Educational institutions that teach us to learn something from whatever we focus on can aid in this process, which can often be uncovered in post-secondary. This article very briefly touches upon it, but essentially the idea proposed is that cultures which encourage new forms of teaching and education foster risk-taking and that is where genius can appear, when individuals or groups can focus their vision into expression.

But truthfully, no matter what your stage or status, we all have the basic blueprint needed to accomplish these steps. Environment is just one piece. Look at what Malcolm Cowley said about the subject,

Genius is vision, often involving the gift of finding patterns where others see nothing but a chance collection of objects.

Children naturally do pattern seeking that from the time they are born until it is slowly weeded out of them in adulthood. But if we can cultivate that curiosity as already mentioned and focus our efforts on the importance of openness to experiences, i.e. look objectivity, then we’ll be in a way stronger position to see things as they are, rather than how we have been conditioned to do so.

That is what genius is, focusing on your passion, applying knowledge and experience, and continuous and never-ending improvement of self as you live your life’s purpose. You’ll make a contribution to your area of purpose which no one else can, because of your unique perspective.

It just takes some re-training.

Which is why ultimately, attitude is everything. People think there is a secret to genius, it really comes down to attitude. If you are willing to put forth the right effort and combine it with the attitude that life is a process, not a goal, you’ll experience genius.

But what do you think? Please leave some comments and subscribe to support these posts! I’m out of theories for now.

Tim!