Saturday 11 April 2015

Turning Keys, Unlocking Doors; How To Find A Mentor, Stop Working So Hard & Making a logo from scratch

As I look back over the last few decades of my life, which is something you can do once you're no longer in your 20's, I think of the moments I made some heavy duty decisions regards the next direction(s) to go in.

Sometimes it seemed that there was no one available to guide me. Maybe that's unfair as there were people around, but I didn't deem them to be available enough or experienced enough to point me in the right direction or provide me with the level of advice I needed. That could be plain and simple pride, or just a general lack of any real expertise in the vicinity.

All of this was before the internet became what it is today, and in fact we were just on the cusp on moving over to broadband speeds, if I remember correctly. The difference that makes, is that you can find your own answers on the internet today, to most questions you have via the search engines. But nothing can beat the warmth and emotive guidance another person can potentially bring to the table. In short, I needed a mentor at those times and it's hindsight that provides you with the clarity of  why you made the decisions you did, together with the challenges some of those decisions presented to you.

Fortunately, I became more willing to ask for help as I moved into my thirties and have some wonderful friends who can provide some great guidance and emotional support too, when needed. Having that support can make a tremendous amount of difference :-

This Is Why You Don't Have a Mentor

Try not to be mislead by the title, as it's about finding a mentor, rather than NOT being able to be mentored. In effect, you have to remain open and be willing to recieve the guidance and ( most importantly) actually APPLY IT to your situation or problem at hand. Feedback is also an essential part of the process and on a personal level, I've always given back to my mentors in the form of gifts and lunches, dinners and so on. For me, that keeps a level of karmic flow going, so there's a sense of balance; what goes around does indeed come back around.

All work and no play, as the saying goes, makes for a dull jack or jill. Doing nothing but work, can cause other problems too :-

10 Reasons to Stop Working So Hard

I wouldn't wish what happened to Mita Diran on anyone. If that isn't an absolute warning to 'kick back and slow down a little', then I don't know what it is. Overwork and the compulsion to work endlessly and (supposedly) tirelessly is something that has become a mainstream cultural issue. In the last forty years, ironically with the 'make life easier' exponential leaps in technological innovation, it seems we're working longer hours than our parents' generation ever did. It also seems that we're sleeping less and  taking more days off for sickness. A quick peruse of the internet should solidify the aforementioned assumptions, to avoid any doubt.

In short, we're working harder but not necessarily smarter. On top of this, combined with lack of sleep, higher stress rates and a more sedentary lifestyle, our diets are potentially not as healthy anymore either. Fortunately ( in the UK at least), there is a culutral adressing of these issues via reminding people using advertising campaigns to give up smoking, eat better and so on. This is then enforced with the introduction of  pragmatic remedies and solutions, such as herbal and homeopathic systems and solutions, etc .

There has also been a widespread increase in gyms and leisure centres in the last decade and some workplaces actively encourage fitness with on-site exercise facilities and healthier options at the workplace canteen. All the aforementioned, plus the proliferation of yoga and meditation classes and centres, can provide ample opportunity for everyone to participate in their own ability to rebalance themselves, should they be feeling some level of burnout.

And certain tasks, such as the ability to design something new, aren't going to be done in a hurry. Especially if you're not organised and are already tired or burned out :-

Watch a Designer Who Really Knows What He's Doing Create a Logo From Scratch

Aaron Draplin is a marvel. I loved the 'get real' approach of the video, which comes through even though there's been post-production to smooth and massage it all out. I also loved the way his archive material and previous works are around him in a state of 'organised chaos'. I can relate to that somewhat. You have all the bits that you need around you, in an organised state that you have set up, but to the untrained eye it may appear that everything is in a constant state of disarray. That's the whole vibe and that's how ( to my mind, at least), you get all sorts of inspiration on a constant basis. A lot of that works at a subliminal level, and if it gets in the way or becomes too 'in your face', there's always the old NLP trick of disappearing into a totally different environment to clear your mental space and get on with the job.

A lot of what we do in the name of work, rest and play, comes from our inner states. This is both conscious and subconscious, with both interweaving a path in and out of each other's realms. On a personal level, I've produced better work when I've not been in a lot of turmoil or the cliche'd 'tortured artist' mode. But everyone is different, and I will say that creating art of whatever sort, is a kind of purging. It's also a sharing of your gifts, talents and abilities with those in the world you chose to share it with. That's not always easy, but then how far or how much you share is something that once it leaves your hands, is in the hands of others.

And it's in the hands of others that art flourishes and thrives or gets left by the wayside. I'd like to believe in the former more than the latter. That's because I know how much heart and soul energy can go into a piece of work. Sometimes this is downplayed and other times it's ramped up.

Ultimately luck, karma and blessings have a part to play in all this, too. I may be a minority in thinking that, but looking at the people I've admired and respected over the years as high achievers, I think that's not the case at all. Thank god for that.

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