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!

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!

The Final Frontier (Appeal To Logic, Emotions, Ethics)

I think it was about a month ago, or it could also be four weeks ago if you prefer, that I started to address a complex topic about logic, emotion and reason. I began this investigation with the intent of fleshing out the details of what a creative passion should look like on paper (read:artist statement) and using my own artistic practice as a backdrop in the means of an explanation.

At the time I promised I would come back with a series of posts outlining my theories on how to accomplish this.

And so here we are.

It Is Only Logical

This stimulating topic we’re on is the three modes of persuasion, and sometimes known as ethical strategies or rhetorical appeals. Aristotle posited that the best types of persuasion are clearly demonstrated. The ways that we accomplish a successful persuasion are by showcasing good character through credibility (ethics), stirring up feelings (emotions), and proving a truth (logic).

So if we want to be successful artists, writers, musicians, et. al., then we have to build a proper case for what we do for a living, that way whenever we are approached by a stranger, and we want to leave a good impression, we can put together the best elevator pitch ever crafted.

After all, you care about your art right? You know that your unique voice needs to be expressed and the best way to accomplish that is by gaining positive attention and proper acknowledgment. And of course, you want to do it in a way that is authentic, unfiltered and real.

Thusly I have given you your first example of using the three modes of persuasion. And through the lens of logic.

A Logical Decision? Probably. But The Right One?

Now I do have to consider that the best way to establish this artist statement for yourself can be overwhelming, and given that we are are going to be spending a far amount of time going over this, I want to make it very clear what’s at stake here. Your integrity for one.

People are most like to identify with someone who looks like and talk like them. But this character needs to be trustworthy too. In films and television, this is why the lead character always has a strong reputation with the authority to back it up. If we look for characterizations of ETHOS we can quickly identify people like Dexter Morgan from the tv show Dexter, who has clear motivations, an a stong demonstration of his skilset, and because we experience his thoughts and feelings, it humanizes him and makes him seem like a “normal guy.”

But that’s kind of a creepy example, and I think I can do it one better.

Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy is the chief medical officer on the Star Trek Enterprise, he is a fourth-wall breaker when the other characters are making strong decisions. He serves as a moral compass for the trio of main characters by talking Kirk off the ledge and challenging Spock’s dry and cold approach to everything.

He is more human than Spock and less of a hero than Kirk, and he is most definitely an authority figure on the ship, who everyone defers to. One of the best quotes attributed to McCoy is the old “Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a [insert job of the moment]”.

I Don’t Believe In No-Win Scenarios

Without an emotional core, we have nothing to go on!

People don’t connect only to logic, nor do they respond to an authority figure just because they have a title, it’s the emotions that impassion a message and give a sense of humanity to whatever the topic at hand.

You know that because I’m fighting the good fight for all artists out there, and that I struggle with doubts but can carry on through passion and sheer force of will that I will make timotheories work and work for you. It’s about justice, imagination and painting a picture of a bright future for everyone that wants to make something beautiful.

PATHOS is for all of the artists who have a fire inside and will never give up. Or surrender.

theories Summarized

There is no way that well go over this all in two posts my friends, just I didn’t think it would happen in one post. But I do hope against hope that this is starting to come together for you.

In case the basic principles of the three modes of persuasion are not clear just yet, I’ll embellish on that Star Trek reference some more. LOGOS is probably the most obvious example and demonstrated through Spock, while I’ve just demonstrated that McCoy is ETHOS, and lastly Kirk is PATHOS. Kirk being the most impulsive and emotive of the three, he takes risks and always acts from instinct, experiences, and a sense of responsibility.

And as I’ve mentioned already, I have a pretty cool theory about how you can take the lessons from those three patron saints of Star Trek and apply their modes of thinking to your own work. But I need to power down for the night creative cuties. These theories don’t running on neverending battery.  At least not yet anyway.

Tim!

Death From A Thousand Papercuts (Self-help Books)

Self-help guides are everywhere. You cannot move within 30 links on the internet without hitting one. On top of that, there are over 240,000 self-help books available for purchase on Amazon. And I’m sure that many of them are fantastic, well-reviewed and considered best sellers.

But the thing is, none of these books are really essential reading. Almost all of them have the same ideas to express to you. You can summarize most of these ideas pretty easily and rather quickly if I’m going to be frank with you, dear readers. I read this great article a couple of years back and decided to summarize it’s summary of this idea for you. So which is greater the summary of self-help books or the summary of the summary of self-help books?

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I guess you’ll find out pretty quick won’t you?

12 Lessons From Self-help Books

No martter what the topic, there are commonalities for all tips of self-help and this list of 12 points should do the trick in laying it all out for you, the ever efficient consumer of information.

  1. You are in control of your emotions and can change how you feel. No one else can do it for you.
  2. Mirror successful people. If you follow the habits of the leader, you will adopt them and transcend your current lifestyle.
  3. The law of attraction is real. You bring into your life what you spend your time thinking about. So think on good things OR use affirmations to get you there
  4. Be present and avoid thinking about the past or future. With presence you stop worry and avoid anxiety.
  5. Leave your comfort zone. You need to evolve and grow through discomfort.
  6. Procrastination is bad – Have goals and to-do lists, work on what matters to get what you want.
  7. Accountability for your actions. Own the things you can influence and work to enforce them when good OR change them when bad.
  8. Value your unique qualities. Never compare yourself to others, instead compare your past self to who you are now.
  9. Treat yourself. Have fun, enjoy things you care about. Life experience is important.
  10. Have gratitude. Life is full of problems, but you turn them into opportunities.
  11. Positive self-talk. I can do this. Tell yourself that every time you have doubt.
  12. Visualize what you want. Visualization is a commonly recommended technique with positive self-talk. It is becoming increasingly popular in therapy as psychologists use imagery to not only work through problems, but change behavior. The basic aim is to see in your mind what you want. Advanced visualization incorporates sight with taste, smell, touch, and sound of having achieved your goal.

Should You Read Self-help Books?

With all of that said, you’re probably wondering if you should even read self-help books now. Well friends, I’ll be the first to admit that as I get older, my memory doesn’t seem to be improving, and in some cases, like for instance if I don’t get enough sleep, I definitely don’t remember things that I should.

So you know what they say right? Well no, no you don’t.

Seriously? I just made that point above and you’ve already forgotten it?

The point is this, motivation is temporary but discipline helps us with ingraining new ideas into our being, if you follow a pattern for more then 30 days it begins to take root and turn into a habit, but 90 days its your primary mode of function.

Even once you know the summary of all of these great books, it doesn’t mean you have the practice down to a science. And let’s be honest, the reason why the knowledge is so frequently referenced is because it is pretty useful for anyone really. After all, just because you read a summary, it doesn’t mean you had a moment of enlightenment, sitting with an idea helps in that process. But that’s just a theory.

 

Tim!