Bail out mindsets and remedies

Sometimes my brain will flick a switch and bail out. Just like a wrestler tapping out of a choke hold, when my stresses build up and become too much, the brain seems to automatically hide from responsibility. It searches memories for simpler times and childhood. Sadness creeps in. The search for distraction and pleasure creeps in. It bails out of life. This happens quickly and quietly.

Inevitably when this happens, and when I take the time to look at my life, I will see a pattern emerging. Usually this “bail out” mindset happens when I haven’t looked after myself in one of three ways. Either I haven’t done any exercise in a while, I haven’t done anything artistic in a while, or I’m not sleeping enough. Or some combination of the three.

So yesterday my brain bailed out. So I ran in the afternoon….yes….endorphins! Then i went to bed early. Today I’ll try find some time to doodle on the guitar or work on the podcast….Yeah, the podcast I reckon.

Do what you can. Which is more than you think.

The price of art

Art is subjective. But to my mind, as an artist the price you place on a piece of art is reliant on three major drivers – marketing, reputation and purpose.

Marketing – this boils down to the things that can be defined and measured and tracked. Who is the piece of art aimed at? What is the minimum viable audience? Who is expecting your message as something anticipated, personal and relevant? The clearer this is in your head as an artist, the easier it is to price your work.

Reputation – this is linked to perseverance and track record. The idea of showing up and consistently shipping what you say you will ship is important when you need to put a price on your work. With each promise you keep, your reputation is solidified and this gains you a most valuable form of currency in the internet age – attention. Wit attention comes pricing power.

Purpose – Are you trying to change the culture, and by how much? A couple of examples run through my head:

  • Your purpose may be not ambitious enough – As an artist, you are well known as a ‘reproducer of the masters’. All you ever do with your art skills is reproduce Van Gogh paintings for tourists to buy as cheap mementos. In order to remain relevant to your chosen market (and it is a choice) you have to keep on churning out the sunflowers and keep the pricing at a level defined by the going rate for copies of others’ paintings. It’s not changing the culture, it might make you a living, but the prices remain low and the labor required very high. In essence you are a factory selling a commodity.
  • Your purpose may be too ambitious – a performance artist wants to rid the world of human trafficking through the clarity and poignancy of her message. Dancing and reciting her viscous poetry on the street corner, she ends up shouting at passers by who do not give her much attention or currency. Her stated purpose was too broad and difficult to achieve. Her market is not refined enough. Her price bottoms out.

What makes you pay a particular price for art?

Keeping it alive

Daily life can most often be distilled down to a single question: should I keep this alive?

Whether it is a pet fish, a job, a relationship, a website: burn the dead wood.

And possibly the goldfish??

Happy Tuesday chimps.

Pull it back

Recover from that setback, that fall from grace, that injury.

Given that entropy rules, and the world naturally falls apart, recovery is perhaps the most important thing we can strive for. The only thing to strive for. Recovery from whatever is wearing you down – be it lack of sleep, lack of money, lack of fitness – this is really all we have.

In the road to recovery you are either getting better, or you are getting worse. There is no steady state. Time marches on and age is a bitch. But free will allows you to fight back and recovery time after time. So recover. Do it for yourself and do it every second of every day. If you stop trying, then you lose.

You’ll still lose eventually. But recovery from all the bumps along the way is where potential is met and where the great moments are found.

Pull it back, until the next bump comes along.

Play Games

Playing games is important to me. In my life, Games come up all over the place.

If I find something difficult then it helps me to think of it as a game. This approach makes things less stressful and lowers my anxiety. Elon Musk says we might all just be living in a simulation. Sometimes it helps to think of life in that way. A few examples of play as it manifests in my life:

  • Playing with the kids at whatever game they have going
  • Treating menial parenting tasks as a game
  • Comedy and conversation with friends
  • Computer games
  • Sport and exercise including data on health
  • Social media accounts
  • Music – listening and playing music is a beautiful game
  • Work
  • Podcasts
  • Blogging 😉
  • More and more I see life as one big bunch of games to play.
  • Some people are not good at playing. Doodling, Riffing, Games, Jokes, Humor are seen as a waste of time. I can’t understand this approach to life.
  • Happy Wednesday, chimps.
  • Podcast ambitions

    Today I am starting to work on a new series of podcasts for the blog.

    This is a misleading statement because as yet I don’t know what it’ll be about, who will be on it or how many I will do.

    Perhaps more accurate would be to say I am starting to think about starting to work on the podcast!

    One idea is to use the blog itself as a resource, looking back over the most popular posts I have written and use them as a guide for podcast topics.

    But like I say – still early days. So watch this space, and prime your ears in the meantime 🙂

    Happy work environment

    A big, broad work desk. In a quiet and comfortable office. My ideal workspace is clear of clutter and has access to the net and electricity for the laptop. There’s light enough to see. It smells nice. I have art on the wall.

    Setting up my office and desk multiplies out over months and years. Over time, being comfortable at work adds up to a career and my own personal health. In many corporates we are not given the option to customize our workspace, which is a shame. I’m very lucky to have an office at home which I can adjust.

    Like anything, a work space is subject to atrophy and creeping chaos over time. Clutter builds up in the most annoying way. If the size of the desk is wrong, or the seating is bad, or the connectivity options are not there it can have a huge impact on what I can achieve on any given day. The balance needs to be maintained or else it will fall apart. Next time you sit down to work, have a run through your senses. What does it feel like, smell like, what can you hear? What can you see around you? (lets assume you eat somewhere else and leave taste for now!).

    At one point, I had a bad work chair hurting my back, there was not enough light to see properly, and dead rats in my office roof were stinking the place out. I was one step away from a human rights violation in my own home!

    A new roof, some lighting and an ergonomic chair means my big, broad work desk is far more inviting. I have art on the wall. I have music. I have electricity. I have the internet. Most satisfying.

    Roofing

    The roof has been torn off my home office. It’s pretty fascinating to see what goes on between the ceiling boards and the roof itself. Fascinating and disgusting.

    Among the ancient insulation layers I found all sorts of wires, dead rats, and lots of excrement. A colony was living up there, listening to us perform our day jobs. After rats are poisoned and start to decompose, they turn yellow….who knew?

    It’s a good feeling to completely replace a roof. It feels like a fresh start.

    Here’s to fewer rats and more insulation.

    Working late

    I used to hate working late. However, now a days my life is so manic it’s a bit of a treat once everyone is in bed to just turn on some music and focus for a while.

    Streaming tunes fill my head. Streams of words and numbers fill my screen.

    All in the peaceful night.