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Do what’s popular or do what you like?



Many years ago, I was at the One of a Kind show in Toronto. As the organizers put it, this is “a community of like-minded individuals to exchange ideas, stories and objects through the culture of craft.”

I was talking to a photographer who specialized in landscapes. I noticed they fell into two distinct styles. One was the stereotypical sunrise/sunset, and something you might see in a poster shop. The other was very ethereal, almost abstract.

I asked him about the difference, and he explained …

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The wrong way to get motivated

watching TV war movie (military jet) with feet on table, eating snacks


Start your day by not preparing anything the night before. Don’t ruminate or research anything. Make sure your workplace is messy and unorganized. Don’t clean your workplace the night before.

Wake up late. In fact, set your alarm and hit the snooze button 3 or 4 times. Heck, hit it a dozen times. When you get up, go watch TV for awhile. Don’t even shower or make breakfast. Just lounge around in your pyjamas. While you’re at it, play some video games, or watch cat videos.

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Can sleep jumpstart a stalled creative mind?



I recently read about a study that concluded stress can promote poor sleep.

In other news, studies show that a healthy diet will help you live longer.

There’s no doubt that poor sleep will wreak havoc on all kinds of stuff, not just your creativity. I remember far too many all-nighters when I did agency work. We’d be there at 3AM, staring at our monitors, and each other, trying to develop concepts. I remember my Creative Director saying, “There isn’t enough coffee in the whole world.” While some people crave this kind of work, I will say it isn’t for me. Personally, I find this the absolute worst time to be creative.

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Are you an amateur or a professional?



My high school art teacher, Mr. Medford, had a unique approach. He split his class into two groups. The first group may have enjoyed art, but really wanted an easy credit. They weren’t interested in pursuing art as a career. The second group did have plans to make art their career.

The first group had a much easier learning path. Their workload and expectations were lower, but they still had a minimum bar to set. The second group had a high workload and much higher expectations.

Mr. Medford was separating the amateurs from the professionals. And while none of us were making money from our art, it was the mindset he wanted to cultivate.

I was in that second group.

Ask yourself—what group do you want to be in?

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When things seem tough, be nicer to yourself

driving lessons


For the past few months, my girlfriend has been taking driving lessons (that’s her, above). This was a big step for her, as I know she’s a perfectionist at heart. She admittedly takes mistakes rather hard, but only because she wants to do well. If she had a button to put all the driving skills she needed into her head, she would push it. She also doesn’t want to let me down, which is sweet.

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