Psychology

One Thing Well

There are a lot of apps in the world that are renowned for doing "one thing well." They're often seen as the best in their respective fields, because the developer focused on a single problem and simply nailed the hell out of it.

Why not apply the same principle to ourselves as artists?

After all, there are a ton of potential roadblocks when it comes to doing creative work, many of them psychological. Maybe you're trying to juggle too many projects at once. Maybe you've got so many ideas that you can't even take the first step with any of them because you're overthinking everything. At some point, you've probably allowed yourself to become distracted from your work, even despite your best efforts.

We've all been guilty of these things and more. I think it helps to focus on a single issue and really tackle that one thing until you're at the point where the only thing left to do is slightly tweak here and there. Pick a single project and aim for perfection in that one thing before even thinking about moving onto something else.

Perfection may not be achievable – or else nobody would need to be creative anymore – but your work will be better for trying. This is what all efficient craftspeople originally set out to do: eagerly master that one skill, honing it day-by-day until it becomes second nature.

Don't allow your work to become diluted by indecision and inaction. Forget distractions. Focus on the task at hand and block out the rest.

Do one thing well.

Finding Your Own Meaning

Ever feel like your life has little to no meaning? That your existence is very likely non-essential, and the world probably wouldn't be much different if you weren't around?

Well, you're probably right!

Each and every one of us, even our celebrities and world leaders, are infinitesimal motes of life living on a speck of dust (relatively speaking) in a galaxy that itself is merely one of about 176 billion. Our ~100-year lifespans are practically nothing compared to the universe. Makes you feel pretty insignificant, doesn't it?

"Beautiful and Cosmically Meaningful"

New Scientist has a fascinating report of an ex-con who suffered a stroke and woke up having a newfound artistic sensibility.

“I'll paint three or six or nine pictures at a time. I see those numbers in my head all the time. Canvases became too costly, so I started painting the ceilings and the wallpaper and the floor. I can't stop painting and sculpting. Give me a mountain and I'll turn it into a profile. If you give me a bare tree I'll change it, so when spring come all the leaves will create the face, the mouth, the lips. Without hurting the tree.”

The mind can be a mysterious and often wondrous thing.

(via @pourmecoffee, who you should be following if you're not already)