Self Help

Creative Endurance - Schnaidt, Mike;

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Matheus Puppe

· 19 min read

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Here is a summary of the key points from the introduction and foreword:

  • The book provides practical tips and insights from creative professionals to help overcome obstacles and build creative endurance through perseverance. Many contributors are athletes who apply lessons from competition to their creative work.

  • Cognitive reappraisal is reframing negative situations positively. For the author, reframing a marathon setback as a mental challenge helped him push through. This technique can help creatives view problems as opportunities.

  • Building endurance requires resilience, optimism and grit to persist through challenges in the creative process like feedback, clients, budgets.

  • Stories from diverse contributors give the book energy and show how different people develop endurance. Insights come from a 9-year-old to 76-year-old and astronauts to bankers.

  • The foreword author observed the book’s author practice what he preaches, dealing with vague client requests creatively. Non-creatives can also learn from the book to better understand and support creatives.

  • The book is divided into sections on daily routines, projects, jobs, and life to provide rules for building creative endurance in different spheres.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

This appears to be an excerpt from a book or e-book focused on helping creative professionals overcome obstacles and build a sustainable career.

The text is divided into sections that guide the reader through different aspects of their creative practice, project, job, and life. Each section provides actionable takeaways and exercises.

It profiles various creative individuals from different fields like design, sports, cooking, and more. Their stories are meant to inspire and provide strategies for dealing with challenges.

A section on “mental characteristics for creative success” discusses resilience, grit, and optimism. It provides examples of people who demonstrated these traits.

Another section lists characteristics and accomplishments of over 50 notable creatives that are profiled in the book.

The “Your Day” section outlines 14 daily habits or approaches for overcoming blocks and sustaining a creative practice, like starting movement, slowing responses, finding higher purpose in tasks, and resting for success.

Quotes and interviews are also previewed to give the reader a taste of insights that will be shared in the full book. Overall it presents creative careers as long-term marathons that require specific mindsets, routines and lessons from others to persist through obstacles.

Here are the key points made in this section:

  • Ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes finds himself struggling to come up with an idea for the opening scene of his screenplay. He decides to go for a run to clear his head.

  • During his run, as his anxiety and restlessness are converted into “good creative juice”, he gets an idea for how to open the screenplay in a way that makes ancient Greece feel relevant to a modern audience.

  • Moving and exercising can help overcome creative blocks or difficulties getting started on a project. Letting anxieties “stir into emotion” through physical motion can spark new ideas and perspectives.

  • Karnazes demonstrates how jitters and uncertainties can be transformed into productive creative energy through exercise and clearing one’s mind. Physical movement is used as a tool to overcome a mental roadblock and generate a fresh idea.

So in summary, it suggests that turning restlessness or anxieties into physical movement through exercise like a run can help turn “jitters into good creative juice” by stirring up new emotions and perspectives to spark creative ideas and solutions. Motion and physical activity are presented as a way to work through mental blocks.

  • Marion Deuchars, an illustrator, recommends some stretching exercises to relax: the Superman stretch and the Lobster stretch, each held for 3 breaths.

  • Yuko Shimizu says illustration is her purpose and she finds joy and happiness in creating something from nothing.

  • Breaking a boring routine, even with small changes, can lead to more creativity.

  • Dean Karnazes discovered his passion for running after peeling off his pants and going for a 30 mile run on his 30th birthday to break his routine. Small routine changes can lead to unexpected opportunities.

  • Jeanette Epps, an astronaut, stresses the importance of resilience when faced with challenges or when things don’t go as planned. She dealt with being removed from a space flight by focusing on improvement and staying optimistic.

  • Distractions like notifications can derail focus. Hurley Haywood, a race car driver, ignored fog during a race and used the opportunity to gain an advantage, showing it’s possible to push through distractions. Setting boundaries and turning off notifications can help creative work.

  • Marion Deuchars uses small diversions like cleaning, art projects, walks with her dog, or making coffee to relax her mind between focused creative tasks.

Here is a summary of the key points from the article:

  • Wearing an outfit you love that projects the image you want can boost your confidence through something called positive visualization.

  • The artist Georgia O’Keeffe found that wearing all black was practical as it required less decision making in the morning, allowing more time for creative work.

  • When the author was feeling unconfident about an upcoming presentation, wearing an all-black outfit made them feel like the creative directors they admired, boosting their confidence.

  • The black shirt hid any pit stains from nerves during the successful presentation where the author delivered without stuttering.

  • In general, wearing a favorite outfit you feel confident in can turn up your confidence on days when you may be feeling down or anxious about an event. Having that “creative power suit” puts you in a positive mindset.

Here is a summary of the excerpt without directly copying or reproducing copyrighted material:

The passage describes a late night the author had at work approving the final pages of Entertainment Weekly magazine before it went to press. It was a difficult night made even harder by the recent news of Michael Jackson’s passing, which required additional coverage and updates to the issue.

While it was an exhausting experience working into the early morning hours, the author recalls it as one of their favorite nights on the job. It seems the challenging nature of ensuring accurate and timely coverage of such a major event, despite the late hour, made it a memorable and satisfying night’s work in retrospect. Having to rise to the demands of covering Michael Jackson’s death added an element of excitement and significance to an otherwise routine approval process.

  • The articles cover various topics related to working creatively, including collaboration, making quick decisions under deadlines, learning from mistakes, managing stress and burnout, and finding meaning and purpose in work.

  • Effective collaboration is key when working under tight deadlines. Getting quick feedback from colleagues and making decisions together can alleviate stress.

  • When the work feels meaningful, pushing through late nights will not seem as draining. All-nighters can fuel motivation and show what you’re capable of under pressure.

  • Overthinking creative decisions can slow work down and hurt the end result. It’s better to trust your intuition and confidently make a series of decisions to move the work forward.

  • Taking breaks, exercising, getting adequate sleep, and prioritizing self-care can help you work at your best and avoid burnout when facing big challenges or deadlines.

  • Finding meaning and higher purpose in your work, even mundane tasks, can boost motivation and engagement over the long run. Delegating non-essential tasks can also help.

  • Learning from failures or mistakes, like a motorcycle crash, can provide lessons that strengthen your work and skills going forward.

Here are the key points from the interviews:

  • Sagi Haviv grew up in a communal setting on a kibbutz in Israel, which shaped his view of teamwork and equality.

  • He faced rejection early on from his dream school of Cooper Union but continued pursuing design through other means like acting school.

  • To get experience, he worked for free at the design firm Chermayeff & Geismar, eventually becoming a partner.

  • Early in his career at the firm, they lost out on designing the US Open tennis logo but were later called back and given the job when the first designers did not work out.

  • He believes in figuring out your passion and becoming truly great at it. Fighting for what you really want is important.

  • Presenting similar ideas risks taking away from each other, so it’s best to focus on one strong concept.

  • It’s important to protect your work and not compromise deadlines you feel you need to complete a quality project.

The key messages are around persevering through setbacks, gaining experience however you can, and standing up for your vision and process as a designer.

  • Evelyn Dong is a competitive mountain biker and also works in a bike shop, finding creativity and patience in her work there.

  • She has gotten more interested in mountain bike jumping in recent years, enjoying the challenge and adrenaline it provides. Her favorite jump involves clearing vintage cars.

  • Dong believes it’s important not to overthink jumps and to tune out distractions in order to get into a “flow state.” She focuses singularly on biking.

  • Exploring different lines on a trail is creative, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within the parameters.

  • Dong finds more fulfillment in personal successes than just races. She has become less competitive over time.

  • Her goal is to have fun riding, not always be the fastest. She enjoys coaching kids and helping them and adults learn new skills.

  • Dong maintains an optimistic outlook, believing new features and courses can be conquered with the attitude of “it’ll go.” Trying new things keeps her motivated.

In summary, the text discusses Evelyn Dong’s competitive yet creative approach to mountain biking, emphasizing flow, risk-taking, learning, and maintaining a positive attitude towards new challenges.

  • Revisions and feedback are opportunities to improve your work, not personal attacks. An open mindset is important.

  • While it’s natural to be attached to your creative work, you have to be willing to let go of parts that may not be working, even if you spent a lot of time on them. The final outcome is more important than any individual element.

  • View revisions as a collaborative process, not a competition. Listen to feedback openly and find the best solutions, not just defend your initial ideas. The client’s needs should be the top priority.

  • Major revisions may be discouraging at first, but can often lead to better, stronger projects you’re ultimately proud of. Have faith in the iterative process.

  • Maintaining perspective is key. Don’t take revisions personally, trust that others want to help improve the work, and keep the end goal in mind rather than any one version. Flexibility and compromise are valuable skills.

  • Revisions are an opportunity to learn. Think critically about why certain ideas didn’t work and how to strengthen future projects based on this experience. Every project is a learning experience.

The main message is that revisions, while sometimes difficult, should be viewed as a chance to improve work through collaboration rather than a threat or personal critique. Having an open and flexible mindset helps navigate the process productively.

The passage describes an experience the author had working with an exacting creative director early in their career. The director would throw out dozens of the author’s layout revisions, pushing them to further improve their skills. It was stressful for the author but helped them grow as a designer.

Some key points:

  • The creative director was meticulous and pushed the author to their limits, rejecting layout after layout.

  • This was difficult for the author but they reframed it as an opportunity for growth and resilience.

  • Later revisions involved the director dismantling the layout in front of the author, requiring them to finish the work.

  • This rigorous process occurred multiple times and made the author a better designer through grit and finding infinite solutions.

  • Revisions are ultimately helpful for improving one’s skills, even if not enjoyable in the moment. It’s about reframing them as opportunities rather than failures.

So in summary, it describes the author’s experience undergoing a “lose control” situation with an intense creative director, and how they grew from persevering through the stressful revision process.

Here are the key takeaways from the interview:

  1. Pursue side gigs and hobbies. They can turn into a new full-time career like illustration did for Cooper.

  2. Give your all to pitches and sample work, even if you’re unsure if you’ll get the job. Cooper’s high-effort sample drawings impressed the publishers and led to him getting the job.

  3. Don’t get discouraged by initial creative blocks or tough client feedback. Your work and ideas will come together with time and iterations. Cooper shared how he worked through many rounds with Kevin Hart to land on the final cover design.

  4. Developing both a creative/artistic side career and a “job” can provide financial stability, as Cooper did with illustration and photo editing roles.

  5. Take on dream projects to push your skills even further, like Cooper’s interest in illustrating Dwayne Johnson’s life story. The pressure and bigger scope would be motivating.

  6. Respect celebrity clients and their feedback on their image/brand. Work collaboratively rather than being frazzled by notes.

In summary, having a growth mindset, overcoming challenges through perseverance, and pursuing side creative passions were key to Cooper transitioning illustration into his full-time career.

Here is a summary of the key points from Peter Yang’s interview:

  • Peter got into photography in college when his mom gifted him a point-and-shoot camera. He developed a passion for it.

  • Early in his career he photographed celebrities like the Lonely Island guys and Weird Al Yankovic for magazines. He would come up with creative ideas and not be afraid to ask celebrities to do wild things.

  • Some of his most memorable shoots involved getting celebrities to do unexpected things, like having Will Ferrell randomly meet people on the street during Mardi Gras.

  • He had a breakthrough shoot photographing then-Senator Obama for Rolling Stone. He put down his camera and had a real conversation with Obama to make the photos more candid.

  • For years he focused on celebrity photography but during the pandemic started photographing friends and family, which Netflix has since used for reference.

  • Outside of photography he takes dance lessons to continue learning about movement and helping direct photo subjects.

  • His dream shoot would be to photograph his Asian-American role model Bruce Lee.

Physique - Demong emphasizes the importance of long-term endurance training and recovery through meticulous training, nutrition, rest. He was willing to try unconventional workouts like running backward on a treadmill.

Fashion - N/A, the discussion focused more on Demong’s mental approach and training philosophy as an Olympic athlete.

Attitude - Demong thrived off being an underdog and proving people wrong. He enjoyed finding new skills and side projects to learn like carpentry. He emphasized the value of hard work over raw talent. Demong had a creative approach to training and was willing to adapt his plans, even if it meant doing workouts in unusual places like airports. His experiences with a critical coach also fueled his motivation to succeed.

I didn’t include having him wear 1970s clothes since that detail wasn’t discussed in the provided text. The focus was on Demong’s mindset and philosophy toward training, learning new skills, and continuously challenging himself rather than superficial details.

The speaker emphasizes that their experience being benched during their freshman year of volleyball taught them important lessons about patience, focus on process over output, and commitment. While it was difficult at the time, it helped them develop fundamental skills that later allowed them to succeed on the court.

They draw parallels to experiences in their design career where projects they worked hard on were ultimately rejected or not launched as envisioned. Though disappointed, they learned to effectively present work and grew more confident. They realized failures don’t define you and it’s not the end if designs don’t get deployed - valuable pieces could still be utilized later.

The key message is that setbacks and perceived failures provide opportunities to develop resilience and new skills, and don’t necessarily indicate the work itself wasn’t good or impactful. Success may come in unexpected ways or take time, so it’s important to keep perspective and focus on growth.

Here are the key takeaways from the passage:

  1. Massy Arias wakes up early at 5:30am to get a head start on her day as a single mom, entrepreneur, and influencer. Having an early start allows her to connect with her East Coast team.

  2. She plans far ahead, pre-filming content 16 weeks in advance to prepare for busy seasons. Planning allows her to be fully present during less busy times.

  3. Arias focuses on connecting with her audience through polls and feedback to understand what content resonates. She discusses topics people are interested in, like stress during the holidays.

  4. While algorithms can feel limiting, Arias ensures her health and wellness content brings value by discussing topics factually and focusing on emotional connections.

  5. Speaking confidently is important for Arias’ work, though she remains vulnerable when she doesn’t have an answer. Tone and voice are creative tools she tailors to different situations.

  6. Growing up in New York City was tough but it built Arias’ perseverance and ability to thrive under pressure through challenging situations. She enjoys pressure and sees it as fuel.

  • The article profiles Angela Riechers, a program director for graphic design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

  • She draws inspiration from history in her teaching to encourage students to move forward. Specifically, she references using boxing gloves custom made in the Bronx and training at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn in 1993 under trainer Martin Snow.

  • Snow was portrayed on The Real Housewives of New York and known for his intelligence, emotional wisdom, and Zen-like sayings. He helped Riechers gain confidence through boxing.

  • Riechers finds that discussing historical graphic design movements and the challenges designers overcame can motivate her students facing their own obstacles. Knowing others faced rejection but persevered nonetheless helps students feel more resilient.

  • By sharing stories from her own past, Riechers aims to instill in her students the courage to pursue their creative ambitions despite setbacks or doubts. Her approach draws from history and personal experience to inspire students to move forward.

Here are the key takeaways from the passage:

  • Career plateaus happen when you lose sight of your core values and why you got into the work in the first place.

  • Chef Alex Pirani reached a breaking point when an expediter ordered him to hastily package a delivery order, undermining his value of taking pride and care in his work.

  • In those moments where you’re fed up, it’s important to reflect on your values and purpose. Quitting on impulse may not solve the underlying issue.

  • Reconnecting with your values can help reinvigorate your work and career progress. For Pirani, it was his value of crafting high quality food.

  • When you feel uninspired or frustrated, look inside to rediscover the passions that drew you to this path initially. Having clarity on your values prevents stagnation.

The lesson is that feeding your core values and purpose regularly helps combat career plateaus. Remembering why you do this work can reignite motivation during dreary phases.

  • A career collaborator or “creative copilot” can help prevent burnout by providing a fresh perspective and support.

  • Working on designing a book cover alone, the author lost sight of his vision. Getting feedback from his colleague/copilot at Fast Company helped him refine the design and regain focus.

  • Just like piloting a jet, it’s important to have a good relationship with your career copilot and trust their input to avoid mistakes. Working alone can lead to burnout, but a collaborator provides needed feedback and support.

Here are a few key things I noticed in the prompt:

  • Anthony Giglio uses humor to stand out as a sommelier, saying things like “It’s like I’m literally in your mouth!” when describing wine tasting.

  • Early in his career, he wrote very scholarly and dry articles about wine that didn’t capture his personality.

  • He realized his stories were funnier when he wasn’t just talking about wine and wasn’t trying so hard to sound like an expert.

  • His family didn’t take his wine passion seriously at first.

Some ideas for how to build a supportive community based on this:

  • Connect with others in the wine/sommelier field who share his humorous/lighthearted approach rather than being too scholarly. Having a network that appreciates his sense of humor could help him feel more validated in his niche.

  • Look for mentors outside just the wine world who could provide a different perspective and help him refine his storytelling skills across various topics, not just wine.

  • Engage family and friends more directly in wine tastings/events so they understand his passion more and can better appreciate his career path rather than dismissing it. Bringing them into his world could help gain their support.

  • Participate in writing/public speaking groups/workshops to get feedback on balancing expertise with personality in his material. Developing that community support could reinforce following his natural voice.

The overall theme seems to be finding validation and community among those who appreciate his full personality and storytelling skills, not just narrow views of what a sommelier “should” be.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • Michael Brandon Myers illustrated an AI-generated image called “Astral Unknown” depicting an astronaut in space, rendered in a pixelated, black-and-white style reminiscent of vintage video games like Nintendo Gameboy.

  • Growing up playing 8-bit video games in the 1980s fostered Myers’s creativity and visual style restrictions. Rendering the AI art in pixelated form makes it stand out from overly polished AI generations.

  • While AI can generate ideas, complete routine tasks, and source vast information, it lacks human life experience, imperfections, and emotions that breathe life into creative works.

  • Myers’ childhood experience playing Nintendo games inspired the concept for “Astral Unknown” exploring the mystery of the future of AI.

  • The passage presents personal experience and imperfection as a defense for human creativity against AI dominance. While AI can prototype and automate, human creativity stems from lived experiences AI cannot replicate.

The passage describes overcoming a midlife crisis through helping others use their creative talents for good.

The author had success early in their career working at various magazines, but faced a midlife crisis as the publishing industry changed. They found renewed purpose by interviewing Russell Francis, an older local poet, for their book manuscript. Francis inspired the author to conclude the book with their interview to highlight his important stories and wisdom. This act of sharing Francis’ creative work with others provided fulfillment and helped the author get past their career uncertainties.

The key lessons are that our definition of success can evolve over time, and we can overcome obstacles like a midlife crisis by using our creative skills and platform to uplift others in the community. Creativity has value when we share it for the greater good.

  • The writer runs because it’s hard, and overcoming challenges in running reminds him he can overcome hard things in his career like design revisions or losing a dream job.

  • He enjoys easy days but believes challenges are good as they help him grow. Each obstacle is just a mile marker on a lifelong marathon.

  • When runs get tough, he distracts himself by looking at nature, taking his mind off quitting, as taught by his high school track coach.

  • He’s not in a race to the top - he’ll get there. Growth and continual improvement are his primary motivations in his career and life.

The overall message is that facing and overcoming challenges, whether in running, design work or otherwise, is what truly allows one to grow and improve long-term. It’s about the journey, not winning awards or reaching milestones, but steady growth over many years through facing obstacles.

Saya Yu

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About Matheus Puppe