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Success Advice

What You Can Learn From “Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Speech

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One of the best speeches that will teach you about life is Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Video on YouTube. I haven’t watched it for some time and was inspired to revisit it after watching a great piece of artistry online. The art that stood in front of my eyes was a group of glow in the dark drones that was combined with beautiful, female, western dancing.

It was truly magnificent, and it made me feel like I was in another world in a far away galaxy. For that moment, everything I was thinking about and all my troubles seemed to disappear – that’s what good art does.

Everything you do in life should be treated like art. Art is something that you respect and something you care about. Your life’s work should tick both of these box’s; otherwise, you will never be fulfilled. Lack of fulfillment is a steep descent into a dark hole of failure that you may never get out of.

So with that said, here is my twist on the 16 lessons you can learn from the “Make Good Art” speech by Neil Gaiman:

1. Make it up as you go along

We have become obsessed with planning our lives and wanting to know how everything is going to turn out. Sometimes, when something doesn’t turn out it can pave the way for another amazing event to happen in your life.

Forget about wanting to know the future, take a moment to think, and then start creating the next few years of your life. Create something that is your art.

2. List down what you want to do and then go do it

Rather than follow a plan, list down what you want to do in life and then just go and do everything on that list. It will take you on an adventure that you will never forget, and you’ll be living life on your terms.

The list you write down should include some activities that involve you making good art and unlocking your creative side.

3. Rules only tell you what is possible

The problem with living life to a set of rules is that rules only allow you to achieve what is currently possible. Success is about doing what is impossible or what seems like a wild dream that will never be achieved. The game of life get’s even harder when you try and follow someone else’s rules.

“When the rules you live by belong to someone else, the goal posts will continue to change, and your life will become a cat and mouse game with happiness.” – Tim Denning

When you forget about having rules you can achieve what seems impossible. That’s how the winners become so successful, and that’s why everyone recognises who they are. No one wants to give a standing ovation to someone who followed the rules.

Rules destroy creativity. Creativity breeds impossible adventures that take your life on a new path. Throw out the concept of rules, form some millionaire habits, and then go crush your goals to smithereens.

4. Ask questions – find out how the world works

Making your life into a masterpiece of art requires you to get some world-class strategies. The habit we all lack is to ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to sound dumb.

“Ask questions and learn from those who have achieved the different pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that make up your picture of success in your mind”

Questions require a creative mind to think about what’s missing and to track down the people that can answer those questions with a level of knowledge that is unmatched. Don’t settle for second best and use your hustle to ask good questions to those who have achieved their dreams.

5. Keep walking towards the mountain

Picture the mountain as the dream that your heart longs for. Whenever someone tries to take you on a route that bypasses the mountains trail by asking you to do something that is not you, say no. That mountain that you look at can only be climbed when you make good art to reach its peak.

It will take the creative part of your mind to find a way up the mountain, and it will use all of your physical capacity and emotion. There will be tough times as you try and climb the mountain but once you have reached its peak, the view of your dream from up top will make it all worth it.

Always keep the mountain in your sights by creating good art.

6. Only do things that feel like an adventure

Anything that feels like work will make you feel exhausted. Working hard at your passion doesn’t feel like work at all. Working on your passion feels like an adventure that you never want to stop being on. If you’re telling yourself each day that you have to go to work then you’re not creating art, you’re helping someone else make their art.

Your art is your own quest for adventure. Make that art the best damn way you know how and don’t ever give up!

7. Hundreds of bottles go out for every one bottle that comes back

Your life’s work involves creating lots of pieces of art that you send out into the world. These pieces of art are like putting messages in a bottle and placing them into the ocean in the hope that one bottle comes back.

When you are making art, occasionally one bottle will come back from time to time. Blogging is a great example of this. I write articles every day, and occasionally one hits the spot and gives me the energy I need to go to the next level.

As you become more successful, you then have the opposite problem; too many bottles will come back. At this point, you then need to become more focused on your art to narrow down the bottles that come back.

8. Don’t do it for the money

When you do anything in life only for money and then for some reason you don’t get paid, your mind can feel like you have nothing. If you make good art and do work you’re proud of then if you never get paid, at least you will have the art you created.

The lessons that will take you forward can only be learned from tasks that come from your art. Your art is your life’s journey and without it, you will be trapped in a maze of disappointment, resentment, and fear.

9. None of us know what we’re doing so enjoy the success

When you achieve success, your mind can tell you that you’re a fraud, and eventually the world will work out that you have no idea what you’re doing – none of us do. Don’t let your mind keep lying to you. Your success is a direct result of the art you make. There are no rules on how to achieve beautiful art that the world loves. So, make good art and enjoy any success you get.

10. Making mistakes means you are doing something

If you’re not making mistakes with your art, then you are probably doing nothing and not even trying to climb your mountain. There are so many couch commentators who can tell you everything about how your art should be created – none of them have ever created this so-called artwork themselves, though.

Increase your rate of failure and watch how beautiful your art becomes. Watch people admire you and be inspired by your influence. The art of “doing” is what will make you successful not the art of thinking about what you need to do.

11. When you feel naked, you’re starting to get it right

We all wear a mask, afraid of what others will think of us. The moment you take that mask off and reveal yourself to the world is the moment your art will become phenomenal. The more personal your story gets, the more people will love your art.

The art that doesn’t work out teaches you just as much as the art that causes people’s mouths to drop when they see it. Don’t be afraid to fail. Fail fast and move on.

12. When things get tough make good art

There are so many things that can go wrong in our life. We can lose a family member, have our heart broken by that special someone, or be turned down for the very art we love so much.

No matter what, make good art. Your art is what get’s you through the tough times and it’s what make’s the good times feel so amazing. Without your art, there are no good times. All there is without your art is empty space; empty time.

13. Time takes the sting away

Even if everything goes horribly wrong, you always have your art as long as your mind never forgets this one universal truth. The toughest of times can all be healed through the passing of time. Eventually, your heart will reform, and you will be back to your unstoppable self again.

Nothing lasts forever except true art. Your art, your passion, what you give to the world, and your love for other people are all you’ve got. They are the secret ingredients to the dream that makes up your mountain.

14. Start out by copying and then find your own voice

At first, you will probably start out by copying someone else’s art. That’s okay. The best example I have seen of this is Tony Robbins. Many of you probably don’t know that Tony started out by teaching the works of Napoleon Hill. A lot of Tony’s early work is based on the book “The Law Of Success.”

Through the years, Tony has transformed Napoleons work and made his own unique art. This would never have happened unless he started out by teaching Napoleons artwork first. It’s not about creating art that is different; it’s about creating art that is uniquely you. What do you have to show the world?

15. The Internet only makes your art better

The Internet, software, and data is changing the game. This is perfect for making art because it means no one knows what the future will be like, so you can focus on your art, and create the future yourself. When you realise that change only makes your art better, you will embrace it. You will develop that mental clarity that makes the clouds around your mountain disappear.

16. Pretend you can do it

What stops us from making good art is that we don’t believe we can. If you learn to start making your art and pretend you’re good at it, then one day you will be.

Look at me I’m no blogger. I just pretend I am and pretend my advice is good even if it’s not. In the end, if I believe I can be a blogger then I can be. All it takes is practice and time to be good at your art.

What does making good art mean to you? Let me know on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.
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Success Advice

Mindful Productivity: How Top Achievers Combine Focus and Balance

By being aware of your emotions, thoughts, and surroundings, you can work with your internal and external environments

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Mindful productivity

Your big-dream goals matter … but not at the expense of your health. (more…)

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Change Your Mindset

The Art of Convincing: 10 Persuasion Techniques That Really Work

The knack for persuading others can act as a catalyst for change, open doors, forge alliances, and effect positive change

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how to be more persuasive

Persuasion is not as complicated as it may sound. In fact, it is something that we have been practicing since childhood. Do you remember convincing your parents to let you skip school, asking your teacher not to assign homework, or persuading your boss to give you a day off? Well, these are just small examples of what persuasion looks like. (more…)

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Success Advice

5 Steps to Leveraging Industry Speaker Events for Career Advancement

Jumping into industry events is a smart move for your career, but there’s a knack to it

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How to advance your career by networking

Jumping into industry events is a smart move for your career, but there’s a knack to it. It’s not just about sitting in a room full of people. You’ve got to find the ones that fit your career puzzle, dive in while you’re there, and then make the most of what you’ve learned afterward. (more…)

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Success Advice

Overcoming Plateaus: 6 Powerful Strategies for Breakthrough Success

A plateau is not a full stop; it’s a comma that allows you to pause, reflect, and shift gears

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how to overcome obstacles for success

In the pursuit of personal and professional growth, plateaus are inevitable. They appear when progress seems to halt, despite your continuous efforts. But remember, a plateau is not a full stop; it’s a comma that allows you to pause, reflect, and shift gears. This article provides six powerful strategies to overcome plateaus and achieve breakthrough success.

1. Find Out the Root Cause

When facing a plateau, there is likely something causing you to sabotage your progress. Identify the root cause. What is sabotaging your progress? Examine your daily routine and how you spend your time. Are you wasting time on unnecessary activities? Or are you taking on too many tasks that you can’t handle?

Often, adding more tasks overloads your already tight routine and distracts you from focusing on the most important tasks. Therefore, often eliminating unnecessary activity will work to overcome plateaus. However, be cautious of not doing things right, such as tasks you have not yet undertaken or missing something. What actions do you need to take or improve to achieve your goal? Are you avoiding them, or have you not started yet?

2. Never Tolerate Problems

Once you’ve identified the root cause, never tolerate problems. If you tolerate them, you’ll end up staying stuck. You get what you tolerate. Once you recognize the problem you’re facing, never tolerate it. Instead, address and improve the situation.

3. Focus on a 100% Solution and 0% Problems

To overcome a challenge, it’s essential to plan how to get through it. Yet, people often find themselves asking, ‘Why is it bad?’ or ‘What is wrong with it?’ Questions of this nature limit our thinking, leading our brains to generate responses like ‘Because you’re not good enough’ or ‘Everything is wrong with you.’ These limited answers tend to resonate with the situation and drag you down further.

Instead, ask empowering questions without limits, such as ‘What is not perfect yet, and how can I turn things around while making a more positive impact?’ By asking unlimited empowering questions, you’ll shift your focus from the problem to the solution. Additionally, you will also notice that asking empowering questions can expand available options and allow you to see from an angle you couldn’t see before.

Focusing on problems rarely yields positive outcomes. The key to positive results lies in concentrating on the solution. The next time you face adversity and notice getting caught by unresourceful thoughts, snap out of it and direct your focus to a 100% solution and 0% problems.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford

4. Cultivate Success-Driven Traits

Identify the traits you need to have and get rid of to become the person you aspire to be. Consider your specific goals – for instance, attracting positive relationships. To achieve this, note down the traits you need to embrace, such as being open-minded, gentle, healthy, and treating others the way you want to be treated.

Cultivate a positive mindset. Simultaneously, get rid of traits like criticizing others, having a short temper, and engaging in unhealthy habits like taking drugs.

Learn from individuals who have achieved similar goals. Study their traits, both the ones they have and those they’ve consciously avoided. Implement these traits to align with the person you want to become.

Once you have your lists of traits to embrace and eliminate, diligently follow them. Place the list on your desk or the door of your room, ensuring you read it at least once a day to reinforce your commitment to these traits.

5. Track Your Habits

Carry a notepad to track your habits throughout the day, especially those contributing to plateaus, as well as your new habits or traits aligned with achieving your goals. For instance, if your root cause is excessive internet use, record instances of mindless scrolling on social media. Note when you engage, the emotional state prompting it, and the approximate duration.

Calculate the total minutes wasted at the end of the day. This habit tracking makes you aware of the emotions triggering these behaviors (stress, boredom, and frustration) and the time wasted.

Additionally, track positive new habits, like reading good books and exercising. Document what you’ve learned from the book and the time spent exercising. This practice helps you build new positive habits by enabling you to compare today’s results with those from yesterday or a week ago. 

Moreover, consistently sticking to new habits for around 18 months transforms them into lifelong habits. Even if you take breaks, you will find yourself naturally returning to those habits.

6. See Obstacles as Opportunities

Every obstacle can be an opportunity to turn things around. If the economy is in a downturn, it’s time to recognize it as an opportunity to thrive while everyone else is struggling and focused on the problem. If someone makes fun of you or causes you trouble, ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this experience?’

Alternatively, consider that the person underrating you is setting low expectations, which are easier to exceed. If your business receives a bad review from a customer, see it as free feedback that guides you on how to improve and take your business to the next level.

Always try to see different angles that others may overlook. This perspective can reveal aspects you might be missing. When you view a problem as an opportunity, it has the potential to foster growth.

In the journey toward success, plateaus are just temporary pauses, not dead ends. So, keep moving, keep growing, and make your breakthrough.

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