Self-improvement: resourses, sharing experience
I thought it would be cool to share titles of books on self-development which we found helpful and worth reading.

I was very inspired by the book Mastery by George Leonard that I've listened to several months ago. Great stuff to read for people aiming for proficiency in any field. Learned about it from Elliot Hulse and Inpursuitofart youtube vids.

Today I finished listening to Getting things done by David Allen, picked some useful tips to follow. Learned about this book from Dan Warren's stream. Actually, it was the chapter "Why smart and creative people procrastinate the most" that made me create this thread at all :D

I also found The miracle of self-discipline by Brian Tracy helpful, use some techniques from there.

Ekchart Tolle, Power of Now / Stillness Speaks
Still like an artist by Austin Kleone
Slipstream Time-hacking by Benjamin P. Hardy
Deep Work by Cal Newport
So good they can't ignore you by Cal Newport

These are some awesome suggestions, definitely going to check them out.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was fantastic as well, very long however and involving.

On my do-not-bother list is the 80/20 Principle, the whole book can be summarized as, 20% of your work makes 80% of your profit, focus on that. And 20$ of your effort makes 80% of your result. Repeat that for 8 hours and it's the book.

Just read Mastery by George Leonard - and I must admit - it has shifted my fundamental outlook on life! The journey is to be savoured above the destination! Thanks for starting this up Neo :).

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook

Mastery is a pretty cool book, I also recently read the power of habit which was not only helpful but a fascinating read into not just how people but entire cultures habits work.

I read Mastery last year as well, and it's one of the reasons I'm still pushing through art struggles :)

Recently I read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as well, I wouldn't agree it's only about 20/80 principle. For example, the resource/result balance is a very important concept, I just realised I cannot explain it well so I probably must re-read this part. It also helps long-term and short term scheduling and prioritising stuff a lot.

One of the best books I read on the subject is The compound effect by Darren HARDY , free here It's about building habits that we need in small steps. And there's a lot of energy in that book! 
Well I'm writing this post now because several people asked me how I organise my day. My way of doing it evolved within about a year. It's basically a mix of stuff from all those books I read adjusted  to my needs. It would not fit everyone,  but I will still share it as long as I promised to. 

  1. Long-, mid-, short-term planning. I do not only organise my day, but also plan a year, month and week. I write main goals in such areas as art, job, health, family and how/when I'm going to implement them.It's mainly an idea from Covey's book. I  try to spend a bit of time to evaluate if I did well at the end of those periods and adjust my plans within those periods if everything goes not as planned.
    Vitaly Bulgarov said in an interview he has every 15 mins of his day planned, I'm not that proficient :D
  2. Prioritising tasks. It's in every book I read on the subject. 
    I write A for urgent job tasks, and art ones if I take part in some challenge and DL is soon. B is for non-urgent but important tasks that delvelop my skills in long-term. Covey and all other authors say we must devote time to B. For me it's my art studies and projects.  I write S for sport, although it's also B in fact.I also write H for household and other stuff, it's not from books, but this stuff has to be done as well.Sometimes I also write C for tasks which would be good to be done if time remains and E for the ones I definitely nust not do, for example  watch a TV series.For those who don't want to read books  here's an awesome article on procrastination that Amit shared back in the day.
  3. Morning and evening routine. Every person that achieved great results in any field that I heard of has routines. I mean EVERY one, it's crazy. So I decided to give it a try, as well. It works because if we do same stuff on a daily basis at the same time, it becomes so natural that does not require any power of will at all. And we also program ourselves in the morning to stay efficient all day. You can listen more about it in The compound effect and in a Keys to a perfect morning list by Benjamin Hardy here
    So, I wake up early at 6-6.30 (well, I'm not perfect yet and sometimes I don't but I almost always do). It's not that early actually, I heard  that Bobby Chiu wakes up at 4.30, Jama Jurabaev at 5, Darren Hardy at 5 as well. The reason why it works might be that this early nobody would disturb you, and you can spend an hour or 2 doing what's important for you.I personally stretch for 20-43 minutes, think of my most important tasks today/this week/etc., sometimes re-read or write my long-term vision quickly. Then I do meditation for 2-12 minutes and Schmarzenneger's vacuum ABS excercise which takes about 2 mins.  The idea of meditation is from The art of learning  book by a world chess AND tai chi champion Josh Waizkin.Then I eat 6 nuts and spend 20-43 minutes studying art or doing a current art project. Cause I like to have a company for a proper breakfast and nuts keep me alife till then :)  My personal  evening routine atm is to practice 3D for 25-43 m, write a plan for tomorrow and learn Hungarian for 5-15 minutes, but sometimes I manage to do some 3D earlier.
  4. Focused work and breaks. I like 43 minutes work and 7 minutes break using a timer. Brain scientists say we focus best for 10 or 45 minutes periods, but I heard 43m from Eliott Hulse and just liked it. In the free Learning how to learn course on Coursera they explain real well how focus/break strategy works againsst procrastination, they recommend to start from 25/5 mins.
  5. Tracking progress and time. Awesome idea from the Compound effect and Amit's video. I have some trouble with tracking art progress though, it's much harder than tracking work out results, would be great to hear how you do it guys. 
  6. Tools are not that important as brushes in Photoshop :), but I just loved Evernote, I have a year of free subscription from my mobile operator.  Peper is awesome, but I tend to chicken scratch sometimes or lose it, or have several notebooks, and this way I have all my notes in one place and systemised, and I can take photos of my hand-written notes there as well. There are a lot of free apps for notes and planning as ell, I mean I don't want it to sound like too much of advertisement :)
Of course I'm not perfect and slack off sometimes. But those resources and strategies help me a lot to keep going. Hopefully this will help someone as well.

I kinda wanted to make a new thread, but this existing one is better.

Basically, I wanted to talk about an experience I've been having lately, of learning not to take constructive criticism too seriously. Not personally. Seriously. As well as learning to shelve feelings of self-doubt, fear, and discomfort.

I've had a sketchbook here for awhile, but not as lengthy as the one from concept art. And there comes an influx of helpful advice to take every piece to the next step.

But, any community is going to have contention, even on advice-giving. Right now, there is a solid direction I've been told I need to do: make original stuff. I kept thinking I needed to put down the references and get to drawing from my head. But, that's a drastic cutoff that I've learned doesn't work so well for me. It's making that transition from observation to imagination.

I find I've been learning most by combining the two. Yes, figure drawing, but also putting in elements that fit, or changing the figure so it's not a direct copy, but an interpretation of the form.

And I feel this is the best way I'm learning so far.

I'm writing this on my phone, so I'm going to add more to this when I get home.

Okay, I'm back.

So, my biggest problem became taking people's advice too seriously, and trying to do absolutely every single thing everyone advises me to do. In fact, this issue became so prevalent in my life, because I was also taking not-so-constructive advice from a highly abusive and controlling source. Now I'm trying to learn what to take to learn, and what to leave behind.

And I think that's an important part of the pathway to learning anything. It's that there are certain things to take full on, and others which will come from the things you take full on. Everyone has their own way of learning.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has taken several months on, and several months hiatus when it comes to drawing. And when I came back to it the latest time, my head was swarming with good advice. "Oh yeah, people say to do it this way." Or, "People say to do it that way.."

And suddenly, I'm not 'letting it happen' anymore.

I remember when I frequented and re-read Rapoza's old "Mr. Delicious" sketchbook from Quite often, he'd be doing his exercises, and all of the studies, and the hard work. And there'd be critiques, and there'd be comments. And sometimes, he'd say something like, "I see what you're saying, but I think I need to do it this way for now, and move into that." And that's what I mean.

It's so important to individualize your own lesson plan. And even though I'm going to school now, I'm still seeing this as self-learning, because nobody else is doing the learning for me. I'm using school time, my own time. Every time I've got to get better. And the way I learn the material is going to be with an open mind, but I have to let myself process it in the right order-- The order that I am individually prepared for. If I'm not prepared for it, I won't learn it.

That said, my story might be unique. I have ADHD passive type, so the way I learn is different from most. :)

More recently, it's been shown in a few studies that there is a strong emotional component to ADHD. I call it the 'ugh' emotion. Everyone experiences it, but those with ADHD and similar cognitive learning disabilities experience it more frequently.

"UGH. I DON'T WANNA." Against all reason. I know this is what I want to do, but uugghhh... So much work. And UuuUUGGHH... Self-doubt.. And UUGGGH.. Sooo uncomfortable. I'll rely more on references, I won't test my memory--

Shelve it.

Push it aside, take a deep breath, hold that breath, and just DO IT like Shia Labeouf said. Scream if you've gotta, but do it. Pretend the ugh doesn't exist. Ignore it, or pretend you're experiencing a different emotion. Imagine your way out of it.

And most importantly-- NOTICE that's what you're feeling so you can shelve it properly. When you get the UGHs, look at them-- See what it is that you've gotta do. Break it down into simple parts. Tackle it methodically. Start for 5 minutes if you have to, a lot of the time, you just keep going anyway. But, start. Don't let yourself not do it. You're not allowed, because this is what you want.

UGH is just a signal. It's a brick wall. And every single UGH is a learning opportunity. Each one is crucial. Willpower is finite, yes, so do it a bit at a time. But, do it.

A couple of videos of inspiration about brick walls, and fear.


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