The Applause Factor: Why Do We Need People’s Seal Of Approval To Create Great Art?

Picture of a Perfume Bottle

Bottle Landscape: Composition 1. digital photography. For more examples of my photography please visit http://www.acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

Perhaps it is deeply ingrained in us to want and seek approval from our peers.

As tiny children many of us learned that our artistic talents would inevitably serve as a vehicle to generate the response from others that we felt, at least at some point, we badly needed, but do we still require public adulation in order to create meaningful art in a landscape of mass produced, simulated authenticity?

While constructive criticism is meant to be productive, often leading us to question the how, why and where we create art, do we always have to remain in comfortable agreement with the dictates of our present generation of thinkers?

Indeed, great art has been created during the most turbulent times.

The willing participants of a variety of art movements throughout the decades have often encountered intense opposition to their candid interpretation of the historical era in which they lived.

We all know that a great deal of growth involves risk.

The courage to take that risk in an often hostile, cutthroat environment leads many aspiring artists to despair as they try to predict what popular art critics will esteem.

Some artists value sustained attention on their artwork to such a degree, that they unapologetically hand over all control of their creative output to what they perceive is the reigning art intelligentsia.

While these artists may initially experience the attention that they desire (their Warholian fifteen minutes), eventually, they regret trading their unique artistic vision for the limited creative expression that they are allowed to have in order to maintain representation.

The galleries will sell what the market will bear; when that market does not currently include the work that certain artists produce, these particular artists find themselves confused, overwhelmed and unable to financially back the work that they are passionate about producing.

Not all art stories end the same way though, some artists are able to address their niche audience successfully while earning a decent living.

However, no matter how much artists wish to take mass consumer culture out of the mix, we are still forced to deal with the bottom line.

When we are young, naive, and fresh out of art school, we dream that we can “have it all”, without compromise, but the real world shows us that art is as much a business as real estate.

If this fact leaves you disenchanted with the idea of sharing your art with a public that may or may not always be ready to receive it, you’re in good company.

If artist’s wish to survive professionally, they will often find themselves compromising at some level in order to adapt to the current art market.

When considering these factors, artists feel like applause equals sales which results in a thriving business, yet this is not always the case.

Some works are critically acclaimed, but they do not sell well in the marketplace because they are unable to generate the kind of mass appeal that results in a sustainable income.

However, these works are considered great because they immediately address issues that are relevant socially, politically and historically.

On the other hand, some artists produce decorative art that the general population can easily appreciate; therefore, people are more likely to purchase work that reminds them of things that hold a special place of importance in their lives.

Work that reminds people of family, friends, beloved pets or special travel locations that they wish to visit or have visited in the past receive a different kind of applause which does in fact result in sales.

The natural birth and death of art trends will facilitate the opening and closing of small galleries hoping to ride the temporary wave of “latest discoveries”.

Should you create art exclusively for fabulous yet fickle collectors who are often highly influenced by well-established art world agents and gallery owners?

Will you join the ranks of decorative artists who produce design oriented works with the sole purpose of beautifying homes and offices?

Could you produce thought-provoking works that challenge the prevailing opinions, lifestyles, and attitudes of the current culture in which we live?

If your expression is not authentic, is the brief period of admiration you experience really worth it?

Whatever artist that you decide to become, (whether you make the majority of your money from art production or you choose to rely on another profession for additional income), you will never feel completely satisfied with your artwork or your role as an artist until you have enough guts to pursue the type of art that you have always wanted to create.

In time, you will find your audience, it may not always be big, but it will be a genuine.

Happy New Year: What Can We Expect in 2015 ?

Orna-mental Op Landscape- Rose

Marisa D. Aceves. Orna-mental Op Landscape: Rose. digital photography. http://acevesart.com/

As this year comes to a close, we may choose to take this time to reflect on what we would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve done.

Then we could. . . .

I don’t know. . . kick ourselves in the butt for only accomplishing some of our goals.

However, this would just be yet another pointless exercise because all the things we did or didn’t do this year have past.

Now we look forward to 2015 with all the excitement, victories, opportunities and downers it will bring!

Until then. . . .

I am wishing you all a wonderful, productive, and artful new year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why Thinking in Absolutes is The Grinch That Could Steal Your Creative Christmas

Orna-Mental Landscape 1

 Ornamental Op Landscape 1. digital photography. 2015.

To view more of my work, please visit http://acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

Artists are peculiar creatures.

When you’re an artist, you use your active imagination to create works of beauty, works that  speak the truth, and question the nature of reality.

You can also use that same imagination to torture yourself by adopting a fatalistic attitude toward your life, artwork and relationships.

When things are going well you are able to reach your goals easily, colleagues, friends and strangers compliment you on your work and your confidence soars.

You tell yourself that you can go anywhere and do anything you please.

Life is beautiful because you’re the art star you always wanted to be.

This sudden surge of self-esteem leads you to take on an enormous and costly project that might be a little beyond your present abilities.

A series of things go wrong.

You try to shake it off, but you feel the irritation growing.

You’re over budget and your clients are breathing down your neck.

Nothing seems to satisfy them.

The project fails.

You kick yourself.

A barrage of negative thoughts run through your head as you try to recover what little self-confidence you have left.

Did you make a horrible mistake?

Have you chosen the wrong career?

Will you ever experience the high of success again?

In order to try to curb this relentless cycle of mental flip-flopping, you must learn to address the individual issues in your life and art business that cause you to view things from an “all or nothing” perspective.

While “thinking in absolutes” can’t easily be dismissed, you may take important steps to minimize the effect it has on you and your art business.

Here are some tips that you might find useful in combating this extreme form of thinking:

1) Stop Taking Yourself and Your Business Too Seriously- While it is important to be a responsible business owner, you can’t get so wrapped up in art production, awards and figures that you forget to focus on meaningful, positive relationships.  When artists fail to learn the art of communication, they don’t know how to deal with project failures or how to smooth things over with unsatisfied clients.  A great sense of humor goes a long way. If you can laugh at yourself and your past mistakes, you can gain the confidence to seek help when you need it without giving in to time sucking negativity.

2) Failures Are Not the End, They Are the Beginning of The Learning Process- When I am tempted to beat myself up over a failure, I try to recall the man that created the Dyson vacuum cleaner.  He went through several unsatisfactory models before he arrived upon the design that would eventually make Dyson a household name.  If you view your failures as just steps to finding out what will work for you and your art business, you will begin to see them as opportunities for growth. There is risk, as they say, in everything.

3) Don’t Underexaggerate or Overexaggerate Your Abilities- When it comes to your art business, know your strengths and weaknesses.  The success of a current project may make you feel like you can attempt anything, but you need to be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t do at this stage in your career.  If you are entertaining taking on a more complicated project, I urge you to do your research to find out if you have the skills and budget you will need to finish the project successfully.

4) Rethink your Business Strategy- When you are experiencing difficulty with certain aspects of your business, isolate those areas that are causing you the most problems and take steps to improve these areas.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help with organisation, business relationships, and artist technical problems etc. When you are aware that you are trying to solve a problem that has been bothering you for a long time, the anxiety associated with that problem may lessen.

5) Be Humble yet Hungry- Constantly bragging about your successes or thinking that some success makes you a master in your medium or genre sets you up for extreme disappointment once reality sets in and you begin to find out that you know a lot less then you thought you did.  Instead, let success motivate you to improve your skills while understanding that you don’t know everything there is to know about art.

6) Don’t Be Pessimistic, Be Positive Yet Realistic- I know there are probably many dreamers out there that would like to personally shoot me for making this statement. However, I believe that there is truth in such a suggestion. There is nothing wrong with a positive attitude or dreaming about what you’d like to achieve in the future, but reality teaches you that things happen in steps, not all at once. When you ignore this fact and something goes wrong (eventually it will), then everything appears to fall apart and you find yourself descending into negative thought patterns again. This only makes the situation worse. It is easy to fall into extreme optimism and propose pie-in-the-sky solutions, but when those fail, your optimism goes with them and you are ready once again to visit melancholy land. Be aware of all the obstacles that you will encounter as you learn the skills you will need to reach the goals that you dream about. Approach these in a healthy, but realistic manner, knowing that somewhere along the way, things are going to get tough.  However, you can seek the help, do the research, put in the hard work and practice it takes to overcome them. Unrealistic thinking and approaches to your art business set you back instead of helping you move forward.

7) Learn to Love Problem Solving – When problems arise, try not to give in to frustration.  It’s natural to want things to run smoothly.  When they don’t, it is easy to blame yourself or others around you.  However, every job has its difficulties.  Choose to start seeing obstacles as welcome challenges.  Each challenge offers you the opportunity to learn a better way to approach the situation you encounter.  The second time you experience a familiar situation/problem, you will know what to do about it.

The majority of extreme thinking results from an unrealistic perception of ourselves, our abilities and the world around us.

Once we understand how to properly view our current situation, we can come up with more effective ways of dealing with the problem of “thinking in absolutes”.

Keeping Up With The Artist Joneses: How To Stop Playing The Comparison Game And Embrace Your Learning Curve

Marisa D. Aceves. Pigment Landscape 5. digital photography. http://www.acevesart.com/

It starts out innocently enough.

You need a website.

You pay for one, set it up, post your artwork and celebrate.

Shipping is next on your to-do list.

You gather the materials, price them and put the packages together.

Next you weigh the packages, do an internet search for UPS and methodically figure out the shipping prices nationally, internationally or both.

You post these to your website with your written shipping and return policy.

Then you celebrate.

When someone visits your website, you’re overjoyed because out of the billions of artist websites that are on the web they found YOU!

Suddenly you get the bright idea to check other artist websites to see if you’re doing it right…..

and then………………………………………………………………………………………

It begins, the comparison game.

*In America, we like to use the term “Keeping up with the Joneses” to describe our tendency to unfairly compare ourselves to our neighbors, then rush to compete with them in a mad, vain effort to boost our self-esteem.

How The Comparison Game Begins To Steal Your Victory and Joy

At first, everything seems possible.

However, after looking at a number of other artists’ websites, slowly you begin to realize your handy, minimalist website isn’t quite as sleek and impressive as the day you created it.

They have an upgraded sight so in order to compete you need to upgrade.

Big sigh….

You know that the bell, whistles, plug-ins etc. will cost you.

Another big sigh…

Your shipping policy isn’t clear to potential buyers.

Theirs’ is a marketing masterpiece; they have plenty of satisfied customers.

You will need to rewrite yours.

Yet another big, fat sigh….

The other artists have a decent amount of visitors to their website; now your rejoicing over the one visitor you receive a week begins to strike you as ridiculous, even pathetic.

If you want people to take your business seriously it is necessary that you have the traffic that they have.

Ahhhhh…. but how do you acquire it.

As the waves of sadness and desperation begin to set in, you decide to seek advice from the blog and website traffic gurus.

Surely, they can solve your problems.

When you visit their sites, they inevitably point you towards social media platforms to advertise your art business.

A ray of hope pierces through your melancholy until you quickly discover that unless you know the requirements for increasing traffic for each individual platform (hashtags, keywords, coding etc.), it is going to make little to no difference in your website visits or sales.

You visit other artist websites that propose to tell you how to sell your work.

Now you know you’re among friends, at least that’s what you tell yourself.

Then the host of the website craftily tells you that content marketing is your main problem.

All you need to do is become an excellent copywriter, because if you can’t write, everything will fall apart.

No one will want to stay on your website or blog if you don’t entertain them 24/7 with your literary brilliance.

What do they do to help you?

They direct you to a copywriting website to teach you how to blog.

By now you are spending the majority of your precious time researching how to get people to your website instead of creating intriguing, quality work that makes galleries and collectors take notice.

If you haven’t had the privilege of experiencing this phenomena then let me warn you; it does occur frequently.

If you are following the above example in merry exasperation, then know you are not alone.

Of course you want a sleek professional website with a healthy amount of traffic, sales through the roof, plenty of press acknowledgement and social media fans that help to lift you up by spreading your art all over the internet.

Who wouldn’t want this?

It’s easy to sit at your computer and sulk because you don’t have the career, the website or the level of support that you want, but are you forgetting one simple bit of advice?

Looks can be deceiving.

Not everyone on the internet that appears to have it all figured out actually does.

Often, it is unrealistic expectations coupled with conditioned perception that makes you want to believe that you are the only one who has to learn new skills.

Consider these points.

*You can’t always know how many hours, months, and years of study, networking, and researching it took other artists to get to where they are now. Referring to their curriculum vitae and press coverage may give you some idea of their level of experience, but it is just a small piece of  the whole picture.

*We are all in different stages of our art careers. Some artists are just beginning their careers, others are mid career or well established veterans. It is important to acknowledge how we feel about our current situation. Nevertheless, if we want to someday arrive at a greater place of understanding in our art careers, then we must go through the  process of learning no matter how slow and excruciating. Learning new skills doesn’t have to be angst ridden if we can just go a little bit easier on ourselves and maintain a positive attitude about our mistakes.

*Know were you fall and pick up the skills necessary to proceed to the next level. Few people like to admit that they don’t know everything they need to know to market their artwork.  However, refusing to admit that you need help in areas were you have less experience ensures that you will remain in the same frustrating place you were last year.

*Remember, other artists could easily visit your website, see your work, gallery exhibits, and education and be just as intimidated and deflated as you sometimes feel when you visit the sites of other more experienced artists. It’s all relative. There is always someone ahead of you and someone behind you; decide today to enjoy and make the most of each milestone in your career.

Trying to imitate the success of others so that you can feel better about yourself only leaves you feeling empty and unsatisfied; nothing is ever good enough.

If you decide to proceed like this, nothing ever will be.

Fortunately, you don’t have to remain a victim of the comparison game. You can make the decision today to try to be the best that you can be at any point in your art career.

How To Protect Your Work From Art Vultures Part 2: Watermark Software

An abstract photograph of foil floral wrapping paper

Marisa D. Aceves. Foil Landscape (Red). digital photography. acevesart.com

*Note: The watermark shown on the picture above is simple, faint and transparent. However, if you prefer a more opaque, stylized watermark there is software out there that can help you to achieve the look and feel you desire.

Last week we discussed the need to protect your artwork from misuse by obtaining a copyright.

I attached some useful links to articles containing information on copyright as well as copyright registration.

After you have acquired copyright protection, you will want to let other people viewing your work online to know that the work is copyrighted.

You can do this through the use of watermark software.

Not all watermark software is created equal; some offer better protection than others.

However, a little protection is better than leaving you work unprotected.

Here is a list of links were you can either purchase or download free watermark software:

Free downloadable watermark software-

Pros- The watermark software is free and according to most descriptions easy to use.

Cons- You have to be careful with free downloadable software because in some instances they can attach spyware, adware or viruses to your computer. If you are using free watermark software from a website, the work that you upload to the website for watermarking may be vulnerable to hackers.

 Free Watermark Software & Sites to Watermark Online – Louise Myers of How – To Graphics has generously compiled this online list of free watermark software. Make sure to check it out as a viable option for online use, especially if you’re on a budget.

Creating The Copyright Placement Action In Adobe Photoshop – If you would prefer to use photoshop to watermark your images, this is a helpful how-to article.

Gimp Tutorial #17 How to Create a Watermark Text – Don’t have Photoshop, no problem. You can download the Gimp photo editor free.  This handy tutorial will take you through the steps to create a watermark for your images.

Gimp Free download for Macs – If you don’t have a PC and own a Mac instead, you can download the Gimp photo editor for Macs using this link.

Excellent watermark software for purchase 

Pros– Even though you have to pay to use the software, there may be other added bonuses. You may not be as susceptible to the spyware, adware and viruses that can be attached to free software. 

Cons- You have to purchase the software. Sometimes, it can be a bit pricey. Also software available for purchase may only be compatible with PCs. Although you can purchase software for Macs as well.

SoftOrbits Batch Picture Protector Only Compatible with PCs

Visual Watermark Software Both Mac and PC Compatible

Aoao Photo 

Don’t Let Them Stuff Your Turkey, Protect Your Work From Art Vultures Part 1: Copyright Infringement

Copy Pigment Landscape 2

Marisa D. Aceves. Pigment Landscape 2: digital photography acevesart.com

There are different types of birds, birds we watch, birds we eat and birds that could potentially eat us if we leave ourselves open and vulnerable.

Which category of birds would you like to flock with?

Most of us would never dream of admitting that we have at one time or another, in the course of our art careers, left our work open to art vultures.

Everyday the internet is populated by students, professional artists and Saturday night dabblers looking for ideas for their art.

Maybe today, they’ll finally find what they are looking for.

Perhaps their next successful sale will be YOUR art.

Does this scenario scare you?

Does it make you angry?

IT SHOULD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Understandably, you might still be in a state of denial.

At first you may think that what I’m proposing is stupid and paranoid or a variety of other colorful expletives, but copyright infringement happens all the time.

The unauthorized use of your intellectual property is probably one of the biggest betrayals of your trust, yet this current age of information gives a variety of individuals with questionable intentions easy access to your artwork.

How can you protect yourself from the misuse of your work and the potential loss of future income?

You must first familiarize yourself with copyright law.

According to the website Lawmart.com, the definition of copyright is as follows:

“Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phone records of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevent others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine. Copyrights are registered by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.”

For additional information check out this link to the Lawmart article Copyright vs. Trademark vs. Patent http://www.lawmart.com/forms/difference.htm

What many artists fail to realize is that if you are found guilty of copyright infringement, you can receive a jail sentence.

Here is some additional information about copyright that will help to keep you and your work safe.

 How to Apply For a  U.S. Copyright 

 How to Apply For a Copyright in the U.K. 

 How to Apply For a Copyright in Canada 

How to Apply For a Copyright in the Philippines

 How to Apply For a Copyright in India

 Copyright Registration

 Copyright Infringement 

How to Report Copyright Infringement

What Are the Penalties for Online Copyright Infringement?

There is more information on this subject that I have not yet included.  I will try to make sure to update and add to this information as soon as possible.

If you have any questions regarding this link article on copyright protection please contact me.

Feel free to share this post with anyone that you think may need it.

If you are familiar with this subject and have knowledge or expertise to add to this article please let me know!

The Best and Worst Thing You Can Do For Your Creative Business: Why People Pleasing Isn’t Pleasing People

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Marisa D. Aceves. Aquamarine Composition 2. Digital Photography. http://www.acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

 

As artists our greatest hope is that people both value and appreciate our work.

Perhaps our deepest fear is that no one cares about the work we produce; we are painting for an audience of one.

While we many of us work diligently on our marketing campaigns, we begin to entertain that dreaded question that often keeps us up at night:

“Who is my audience?”

It becomes clear that in our search for individuality (a definitive style, subject matter,etc.), in order to be something to someone, we can’t be all things to all people.

Yet sometimes, our need to please everyone sends us in a million different directions as we desperately try to corner every conceivable market. 

Many years ago, I had a friend who placed all of his self-worth on wether or not people liked him. Whenever we met someone new or spent quality time with one of his old friends he literally morphed into the person that he believed that they wanted him to be. He would always let me pick the places were we should go, but he never would make a decision as to where he wanted to go.  I strongly believe that during this period of his life, he felt directionless. Eventually, he grew to resent the fact that he was losing himself to other people’s agendas. As controlling, manipulative people began to enter his life, I saw less and less of the potential writer who was full of wit and more of the suffocated “yes” man that he had agreed to become. 

Trying to please everyone around us is almost always a recipe for disaster.

Inevitably, we lose ourselves and our self respect. 

An incessant need for outside validation can often override our unique vision. 

Defining our work may set us apart in the marketplace, but not every marketplace is right for our work.

We do want to please people, but we don’t want to become a people pleaser in order to get there.

So what is the difference between people pleasing and pleasing people?

PEOPLE PLEASING 

When we fall into people pleasing behaviors, we want everyone to love our art, but not everyone will.  

In order to counter disapproval, rejection, lack of interest in others etc., we try to graft aspects of their likes and interests onto our work or we create work in a myriad of styles without committing to one.

 The end result is that we drown in a self-imposed prison of miscellaneousness. 

We don’t give ourselves the chance to discover who we really are or what we believe. 

When we finally do commit, we commit to things that simply don’t interest us or things that take us away from where out focus needs to be, our art.

We become easy targets for manipulative people who have their own agendas.

When we become attached to them, their reputation follows us as well.

People pleasing doesn’t please customers either.

If prospective customers can’t get a sense of who you are and what your work is about, they won’t trust you or your business enough to develop the kind of connection necessary to result in a future sale.

Basically, people pleasers find they lack vision and focus.  They develop both personal and career resentments as they sense that they are slowly losing themselves as a result of their fear of losing other people.

 

PLEASING PEOPLE

Pleasing people is quite a different approach.  

Eventually, we find our audience when we know who we are and what we like.

We make no apologies for our differences, but use those to fuel our creativity.

We don’t try to speak to everyone, rather we are content to address those who share our interests,  tastes, and beliefs.

Listening to constructive criticism is viewed as an important part of our development, but we don’t necessarily feel that we have to apply all of the suggestions we are given.

Happiness occurs when we make time for others, but we don’t let their schedules run our lives. 

We are able to say “yes” to some opportunities and “no” to others without burning bridges.

We carefully listen to what our customers and supporters find valuable, while correcting those things that slow down our business or keep it from being profitable.

With this knowledge, we can approach future business opportunities not with a people pleasing victim mentality, but with a self-assurance and preparation that helps us to please the people we are meant to address.

 

 

 

20 Strategies for Overcoming Stress in Your Art Career

2121211There’s nothing like coming up with something that is considered wonderfully creative (maybe even genius), but what happens when stress from outside factors gives your otherwise squeaky wheel of creativity a swift kick in the rear?

 

Many of us would prefer to avoid the topic of stress because basically, it stresses us out. However, coming to terms with job related stress is a necessity for our mental health, physical health and the health of our business.

 

Coming up with a helpful list of creative solutions to combat art job stressors ensures that everyday annoyances and career disappointments won’t get the best of you.  Keeping a list of de-stressors available doesn’t mean that you’re weak, it simply means you’re organized, self-aware and prepared to deal with life’s unexpected complications.  Here are 20 strategies to help you overcome negative stress and set you bacon the road to calm, clear and creative:

 

1) Refuse to fret needlessly over things you can’t control – We cannot always determine the outcome of certain events. While showing up prepared to meet life’s challenges increases you chances of success, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll always win the prize.  Do your part to the best of your ability. Then make the conscious decision to focus on something else.

 

2) Go ahead and take the occasional break; it won’t kill you – Some of us agree to become workaholics because we have fallen into the false belief that if we allow ourselves a little break, people will think that we’re lazy.  Slacking off aside, proper breaks often help to you to “reassess the situation” so that you can approach your work with a fresh perspective

 

3) Quit playing the Comparison Game- Not everyone’s circumstances, level or talent or experience is the same. So why even go there.  Instead focus on learning valuable skills to help you improve.  Each day, approach things with your best effort.

 

4) Don’t take on too many commitments- Consider the amount of work you can safely handle without if affecting the quality of your work, health or relationships.

 

5) Rely on the support of friends and family- Don’t neglect the people that are there to encourage you.  Knowing that there are other people that have at one time, shared your aggregation helps you to realize that you are not alone.

 

6) Don’t let others put unnecessary pressure on you or steal your joy- Sure their are bullies out there in every nook, cranny and profession, but why give them your day or your week.  People have their own agendas.  It is very easy to sucked into their manipulations, but is it good for you? Learn to politely say no to things and people that you know will harm not help you.

 

7) Stop sharing your problems with people you don’t know- Sometimes we set ourselves up by giving others the ammunition to use against us.  Remember that art is often a “cutthroat business”.  Sadly, some people will use your weaknesses, worries, and fears against you.  They naturally do what they believe is necessary for their own survival and benefit, not yours.  With the exception of sharing with the most trusted family members,friends and professionals, keep your mouth shut and your ears open.

 

8) Curb multi-tasking; it’s overrated- Everyone loves to say I accomplished all these things in a short space of time, but when the quality of your work and relationships suffer, it’s time to slow down and cut the number of tasks that you normally perform in half.

 

9) Don’t get stuck in the past, stay in the present- So many of us operate on what we used to know rather than on what we currently experience on a daily basis. If “old tapes” from the past are preventing you from making better decisions in the present (ex decisions that have the potential to move your career forward), mentally seal these negative thoughts in a time capsule, bury it, and never look back.

 

10) Concentrate on learning, not winning- When you concentrate on learning concepts instead of always winning prizes or accolades, you remove the emotional stress of always having to best others as well as yourself. The positive result of this is that doing so can add additional interest, vitality and depth to your artistic vision.

 

11) Don’t forget to ask for help-  It’s O.K. to pass certain tasks on to others that can do these tasks faster and more efficiently. Then, you can dedicate more time to your art and your business plan.

 

12) Don’t place all of your hopes and dreams into one possibility-  This could be a recipe for depression if you’re fist plan goes bust.  Instead, concentrate on coming up with more than one plan, gradually adjusting to life’s challenges.  In other words, be flexible.

 

13) Stop missing out on sleep- Getting some much needed “shut eye” decreases stress and helps to improve your overall well-being.  When you suffer from lack of sleep, social, physical, and cognitive abilities are impaired. Sleep makes you more productive.

 

14) Don’t focus on all the things that could go wrong; instead plan ahead- Expect the unexpected and make plans for how to deal with difficult situations that might arise.

 

15) Address the areas that are causing you stress- For example, if you stress over money, try to come up with a budget.  If you stress over transportation, research the different modes of transportation in your area.  When you begin to see that their are reasonable solutions to your problems, your stress level diminishes.

 

16) Encourage others and encourage yourself- When you help others as well as yourself, it improves your mood and outlook.

 

17) Don’t try to do things all at once- Breakup large tasks into smaller goals so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

 

18) Don’t be oversolicitous- Helping others is admirable, but when you take it to the extreme, you become “wait-staff” minus the paycheck.  People begin to disrespect you and even take advantage of you.  This can lead to excess pressure and resentment as you begin to feel used and unloved. Be generous with your time and gifts, but don’t become a doormat for users and career opportunists. Let others know you have limits.

 

19) Spend more time with positive, caring people- Their positive outlook and behavior will rub off on you and eventually become a good habit.

 

20) Avoid users and narcissists- When you invite users and the self-obsessed into your life, the only thing you find time for is them. The only thing they find time for is them. See the pattern. Treat them with respect, but don’t get involved.

 

Keep these items close at hand. Use them as an important part of your de-stress arsenal.  If you feel yourself slipping back into old habits, don’t fall into self-blame. Reconsider the situation. Respond accordingly and get back on track.  Remember that positive life changes take time.