Being good at something.

I am a big advocate of New Year’s resolutions. We are creatures of habit, and we don’t often reassess those habits against goals or priorities. So NY resolutions are a cool way of analyzing ourselves, and then committing to behavior changes that align with our goals. While I have a few things I want to focus on this year, the two biggest are; learning new skills, and creatively expressing myself.

New Skills: I am going to write a whole blog post on my philosophy on learning, but suffice to say I feel like I am a bit lacking in the ‘developed skills’ department. Learning new skills and trying new things are pretty important to me (good liberal arts student), and I feel like I am finally at the place in life where I can think about things I want to try, and then put some effort into a select few. Someone I look up to in this area is my friend, Max Deutsch. Max is a fellow Product Manager at Intuit, but also a serial entrepreneur who does more cool projects in a year than most will in their whole lives. One of Max’s current projects is called ‘Month to Master’ where he is learning one new skill a month, at a ‘master’ level, for a whole year. So far he has learned to; memorize a shuffled deck in 2 minutes, draw a photo-realistic self portrait,  and solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 20 seconds. This month he will be learning to land a backflip. You can follow his progress with daily updates here: https://medium.com/@maxdeutsch. While I don’t currently aspire to any master level skills, Max shows the power of some sustained effort in areas you might not be comfortable. Flexing new muscles helps expand our mind, and keeps things fresh and exciting.

Creative Expression: Blogging is great, but at the end of the day can feel a bit limiting. It’s perfect for summarizing a time, sharing photos, making arguments, expressing opinions etc… However, it is not great for capturing really strong emotions, feelings, thoughts in the moment, abstract concepts etc…  On a personal level, living alone in a new place with all new people, naturally leads to a  lot of novel thoughts, feelings, perspectives. It’s a lot to keep bottled up, and so I have been eager to figure out new ways to analyze these things, and express myself. Something about the creative process is extremely cathartic and something I could benefit from.

So drumroll….. I decided to experiment a bit with drawing! I have been spending about 30 minutes a day  just looking at images of whatever I randomly decide, and trying to figure out how draw it with charcoal and graphite pencils. I definitely was not born with artistic inclinations (coloring in the lines was for suckers), so this is a very new space for me. The current goal is just to get comfortable with the process, and learn some basic techniques. Once I get to a place I feel good about, I will start thinking really hard about what I want to express and get a bit more creative with it. In the meantime though, I have been surprised by how relaxing I find the process, and how engulfed in the task my mind becomes. It has been strangely therapeutic, and a nice change from being in front of a screen all day.

As you can see, definitely a big work in progress, but I am actually happy by how some have turned out. I don’t really trust my hand yet, so there is definitely a shakiness to everything, but the hope is that I will get more steady over time. Next step is learning how to properly shade, and then to start working on human figures. Note: in general I am attracted to darker themed art.. not sure why, but I am particularly interested in darker, fantastical imagery.

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Images from Porter Robinson’s live show^.. (seeing him Tuesday in London:)

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Thats it for now. It’s a school night.

K

 

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