The imagination is a powerful tool. Tibetan visualisation meditations have been a key feature in Buddhist culture for thousands of years. Magic too was often made of using mental powers to improve favour from spiritual forces, was this a psychological and natural phenomenon? Perhaps so. There are people who are good at imagining, and some who are not. Those who are not particularly imaginative are free from all kinds of unhelpful things, mental health issues may not present themselves in the same way and they're less likely to be distracted or even deceived by their own eyes. For those who have vivid imaginations, apart from all the side effects of having little control of it, if we learn to control it then it becomes a focusable part of our consciousness.
An experiment was recently conducted which looked at brain waves with an MRI Scanner. Groups of people were asked to tell the researchers the names of people they like and people they dislike. They were also asked to name a place they considered emotionally neutral, as in they had no particular feelings either way for the situation. Participants were then asked to imagine themselves in the building with the person they liked. This was while their brains were being monitored. The brains showed a type of learning that associated the positive effects of the liked person with the neutral place. Even though they weren't actually there, in the brain where the biology of our thinking happens, it didn't matter.
The particular area of the brain involved is called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. This area is associated with memory of person and place. This joining of function perhaps makes it easier for the mind to learn emotional relevance across these two things. Somehow, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is able to weigh up positive and negative elements about people and places and allow us to feel good or bad about them. This can be manipulated by us in our imaginations, so the experiment proves. The benefits of this are wide-reaching. I'm sure you can imagine a few.
Think about people who have trauma, they can revisit the experience in their mind with someone they really like. Someone who helps them feel safe perhaps. Maybe I could take Arnie with me to pay a visit to those nasty kids at school or maybe Carol Vorderman for when my good ideas were laughed at. Let's see where that takes us! Some of us have more serious things to call trauma, for instance there are plenty of people alive today who have experience war first hand. This no doubt will leave mental scars, the loss, the fear, the anger, the grief, all of it can be revisited with a favourite person.
I'm really excited about this finding, and I hope you are too.
Via Science Daily
Regular readers of Alternative Fruit will remember the article a little while ago in which we shared six great podcasts. Podcast Picks for People Who Think got a warm reception, thanks to everyone who read it, shared it, or simply liked it anyway. You all make this worthwhile.
Inspiring people takes all kinds of techniques and avenues. We find it in our everyday lives, inspiration can come from anything when we look at it in a certain way. Often our mind focuses on something when we are in need of inspiration, information, or just something to pass the time. We could just look out the window, but a lot of people work really hard to deliver good content to us.
When someone makes content for a good reason, it's not because they're trying to convince others of their opinions or because they're trying to trick people into buying their products. Good media is made because the creators and the people who fund it want to enrich the world with their works. The creators want to make the world a better place for their job, just like we all want to make the place where we work a better place.
Here are some more brilliant podcasts that are made with you in mind, for pleasure and for learning.
The History Of Philosophy Without Any Gaps
This highly informative and fun to listen to podcast is given life by philosophy departments in Germany and elsewhere. Because of them, we get to listen to ad free content every week. Peter Adamson is the host, he's an expert on philosophy and its history. He breaks down key features in the history of the subject and explains them in layman's terms. This then helps us to understand psychology, ethics, religion, and a whole number of other ideas. Although the podcast is well underway with scores of episodes already recorded, each one is available for free. Start from the beginning and maybe you'll catch up and be forced to wait like the rest of us.
This time we visit a podcast funded by its listeners. Via Patreon, happy subscribers offer what they can to help this team of experts pay the bills. This podcast is a weekly discussion on the theme of astronomy. It doesn't require expert knowledge to enjoy it, a simple enthusiasm for space will be enough. Star Trek and Star Wars fans alike will all enjoy this real life exploration of the cosmos. Various key principles in the field of astronomy are talked about and explained, allowing anyone to pick up the subject for themselves.
Sci-Fi fans unite and subscribe to this regular fiction storytelling podcast. It's a real pick and mix of authors and themes, all on the science fiction shelf. Sometimes the stories are a quarter of an hour, sometimes an hour, every time they choose an exciting and intriguing journey. Take a trip into the realms of fantasy and future on a regular basis. Maybe Gaze of Robot, Gaze of Bird by Eric Schwitzgebel sounds interesting, or perhaps The Thing With The Helmets by Emily Skaftun is more inviting? What-ever you choose, there'll be more.
For a variety of intellectual documentary type broadcasts, tune into Radiolab. This podcast presents themed episodes which have content with all kinds of influences. Each time it creates a thinking environment where our assumptions and hopes are tested against actual knowledge. It can be quite disturbing sometimes, and other times just funny. It's quite deep for a radio show and the presenters are able to keep everything intellectual and calm headed. Always with an element of psychology, with a humanitarian and centralist outlook, the Radiolab team bring us cutting edge ideas and thoughts.
The Naked Scientists
Mentioned last time in conjunction with 5 Live Science, The Naked Scientists have their own show. Rather than sharing the stage with the other 5 Live Science crew, they have the stage all to themselves. The content is geared up a notch from the BBC edition. Their ideas and information go a little bit more into depth. This podcast is great for people who enjoy learning about and listening to science.
It would be unfair to not mention the BBC in this list, they work hard to produce a large variety of podcasts. This Radio Four podcast invites us to mull over some of the deeper questions life has to offer. They cover most things eventually, and it's always surprising to see what they come up with next. Finding interesting things for regulars to write home about is a large task! Luckily, like Alternative Fruit, the BBC are good at that kind of thing. You'll not be disappointed if you like using your brain.
There you have it, hopefully you'll get hours of listening pleasure from each of these offerings.
Every business or organisation needs a great leader. Someone who can get the job done for themselves and inspire others to do the same is rare. A leader first has to be able to manage and lead themselves before they can lead others. Many people go through life in an institutionalised fashion, following instruction from the authorities and refusing anything that doesn't match. These people are not good leaders, through no fault of their own, they don't have the mental capacity to break from their societal grooming. We are all programmed to a certain degree by the surroundings we grow up in and the people who raise us. Some of us, for some reason or other, never really take it on board fully. Some people just can't be shepherded or led, even when those doing the leading have the best intentions! These are the leaders, the ones who, if they can get over their sense of the personal, can become great leaders.
But what is it that makes a good leader? After-all, some people are just sure of themselves and wrong. Some people are so convinced of their correctness that they will go to great cruelties to make sure their opinions fly. Others are just unable to treat people with the respect they deserve. A good leader has brilliant people skills as well as brilliant management skills. Leaders don't nurture resentment or fear, they don't get cross with others, they remain calm and focussed on the issues themselves.
Here are some dualities that great leaders demonstrate when being in charge of inspiring groups of people.
Great leaders have their house in order. They don't just focus on work and other people's order. To be able to stand in a position of influence, we have to show that we are using our wisdom in our own life and it is working. We don't want advice from a homeless person unless it's about how to survive on the streets. This is an extreme example but the general formula is true for any case. Show authority by living it. Let go of work and targets, loosen the grip on the office and get busy with getting your life in order. At least from time to time.
Great leaders understand responsibility for error and for success. When someone makes a mistake or doesn't pull their weight, a leader will act on this. They will have a chat with the worker to find out what is troubling them or what it is they haven't understood. When someone isn't giving their all, it's usually because they're unhappy. It's a leader's job to make sure the work force is happy. But a great leader also knows when someone is doing all they can to get the result. They reward this and celebrate effort. A good leader is not all tooth and nail, but smile and handshake too.
Great leaders follow the guidelines and adapt them for specific purpose. Guidelines are important, they ensure quality every time. They ensure that paying customers get the service they asked for. However everyone is different and everyone has their own thinking behind what they want. A great leader will see when the guidelines have been limiting what is achievable and they will adapt them for the required purpose. Looking at the computer, sucking in some air, and saying “I don't think we can stretch to that” is not leadership.
Great leaders give concrete targets with room for initiative. It's important everyone is on the same page and is working towards the same goal. A leader can build a mental image for the whole team as to what it is they are working towards. They can describe the company personality and encourage workers to follow the guidelines to make sure they fit the theme. However, leaders know we're all unique people with different ways of thinking. They recognise when someone takes the initiative and works in their own way, as long as the targets are met on every turn it really doesn't matter.
Great leaders force innovation by encouraging imagination. We need to be innovative in order to make our way in the world. To get to a point where people want to pay us for doing a job, we have to find problems to solve and solutions to them. This requires a lot of creative thinking and it's vital to provide something unique and practical in order to stand out. All this pressure can make it really hard to think. Stifled by responsibility, we tend to fall into the tried and tested mindset. It's safer. This means leaders have to encourage and tease out the loose, creative, and sometimes wacky ideas that hide behind the prefrontal cortex.
Great leaders gel values rather than overwrite them. Company or team values make sure everyone is working on the same quality level and that clients and customers always get the same level of service. These values are shared by the group and have to be applied by all. This doesn't mean that individuals don't have their own values. Great leaders understand their workforce or team members and their personal values. They work to include and link these ideas and ethics to those of the whole, showing that when tied in, they all point in the same direction. Often, it's just a matter of explaining psychology or business academics for the notion to make more sense.
Great natural leaders still need to learn how to lead. You don't know until someone tells you, even if you're naturally great at something. Think of a computer with no software. It's perfect for running Windows, it's even got the little sticker that says so. But without the installation, it won't run anything. You still need to program your head to think in the ways leaders think in order to be a truly great leader. You've just read this blog post, why not go one step further and take an online course in leadership? You can learn in your own time.
It's a common scene, we go to a museum or gallery and we're bowled over by the immensity of what's on display. We either retreat into ourselves and quickly lose interest in anything but the main attraction of the day or over-enthusiastically venture off and whistle-stop as much as possible. Both approaches can be down to a lack of confidence. When we feel overwhelmed, we react in a way that makes our brain resort to basics. We're not really at the museum any more but navigating a mouse-maze or hiding in a hutch. It's time to slow down, savour the corridors and forget the stuff that doesn't get seen. It will probably still be there next time.
How do we approach an art museum or gallery and get the most out of our visit?
Reserve judgement. Let go of your ideas of what good and bad are and look at the piece from an ambivalent position. Then, from this orientation allow the art to move you. Describe to yourself or others how it moves you, what does it do exactly? Find its lines and angles, feel how they make impressions on your mental processes. If it's music, listen to the elements of it and feel how they influence your mind. If it's a painting, what are the colours saying to you? How do they speak to each other on the page?
Take your time. We can't get to know something intimately in a few seconds. Even a seemingly plain piece with just a few colours and lines has all kinds of allusions hiding between the image. Once we begin to invent a story behind it, the piece evokes a myriad of commentary. Let it do this and learn to appreciate this effect. It's a subtle bite on the daydream of madness not to.
Find the secrets. Some artists design a piece to stand out and get your attention. Others are more subtle. When the two are in the same place, it's easy to overlook the less noisy works. They perhaps have more to say when we draw back the covers. These 'secret' pieces are hiding in plain sight, when your eye is drawn to one particular piece, look to the left and to the right and make use of the time in that spot to fully address all of them. You might find something really invigorating.
Let your feelings guide you. When we're at ease and not anxiously running around or loitering in the lobby, we get the sense that we ought to go this way or that. It is a kind of magnetism, perhaps instigated by subconscious symbols and guidances laid down by the designers, or maybe it's just what you had for breakfast. Trust your instincts and allow the journey through art to be a fully immersive one.
Choose wisely. It's okay if the brief description doesn't tickle your fancy. We can say no to art and no-one will think there's something wrong with you. Sometimes it just doesn't reach us and that's fine. There will be plenty more. Sidestep the stuff that feels dry to you or the concepts you find vain or unimportant. They're made for someone else. Maybe next time you visit, you'll think differently. Until then, enjoy something else.
Are you in teaching? Find out how to use inquiry to make the most out of museum trips.
Working together is almost vital for any worthwhile project. We rely on each other and when efforts are combined in the right way, results are achieved no one person could have gained on their own. The problem is, that people are not always able to spread themselves evenly over a problem. When we have a team of people, getting a nice fit of skills over the issue is more difficult. There are various methods of looking at issues and problems that we can apply in order to solve them. If you're in a group of people with a common purpose, you will need to apply all of these factors in determining a positive outcome.
Although face to face conversation is useful, and the most able to communicate the holistic argument, we can easily adapt to online communication. Video, voice, and text are all able to communicate the information we want to get across. Being able to communicate where our knowledge lies and what our skills qualify us to do is paramount to effective teamwork. Not shying away from our lack of skills enables the job to be done better. Your skills are still important, even if you can't do everything needed. We're all unique and able in different ways.
Cooperation is when groups of individuals have an open network of skills and information with tools available to the whole. Each person has an agenda which can be different from the others. What's important is the sharing of resources and abilities in order to make everyone's job easier. Cooperation gives rise to effective goal reaching for individuals who cooperate with each other.
Collaboration on the other hand is when group members cooperate to work on one project between them all. The members each have a shared idea of what the goal of the collaboration is and they decide between them how best to achieve it. Collaborative projects produce unique and new ideas that have been fashioned by the continual input of several perspectives.
Coordination is the way the first two concepts are implemented. This requires the rationing of tools and facilities, the management of people's time, and the directions given to each member. Coordinating people to the most effective role for themselves takes an understanding of the dynamics of the goal. Depending on whether you are coordinating a cooperative project or a collaboration will require different levels of input.
These teamwork skills are going to be stronger and weaker for us in unique ways. One of the reasons we use teams is because as an individual we are not as able. But bonding the individuals together in an effective way is a skill in itself, knowing the various types of teamwork helps us to get it right.
Are you good with people, do you work as part of a team? Why not try this online leadership training.
Being creative is no easy pie. We have to apply a lot of thought and action into a project for it to become something worthwhile. Thinking and doing takes energy, lots of it, so why waste energy on things that don't feed the creative spark? Here are some sticky traps we sometimes find ourselves in that stop us in our tracks. Learn to avoid them, and if you find yourself in one then apply gradual change to your thoughts in order to free yourself.
Overthinking. Spending too long deciding on what to do by checking all the facts and their related ones to make sure then going back to the beginning is just a circle. Action needs you to make that move. Think about it as riding a bicycle. You can study the mechanics and the physics until you understand the entire device. It's only until you sit on it and start peddling that you learn to ride. So start your project, make moves, and use the guidance as the helping hand who can be by your side. One day in the future you may not even need to check the books any more.
Lack Of Self-Confidence. You might be super confident with your frying pan or your football but what about in yourself? Do you believe your ideas are good ones? Do you believe that you are equally as able to achieve your goals as the next person? Lack of confidence may cause you to think twice. Who, me? The truth is, we're all nervous and we all want to just get the best out of any situation. Most of us handle this to a point until we feel overly so. This is when we begin to lose confidence. This is like a muscle that we can work on, build up, and lift bigger expectations over our heads.
Ignoring The Critics. They sometimes are just trolls, but sometimes they do have a point. It's no biggie if someone hates your work, or if they find something not to their taste. Try to see the funny side, let go of your personal attachment to the opinion. You did your best, you will do your best again and unless you've had a bump on the head you'll know more than last time. So listen, learn, and then ignore.
Comparisons. Hmm, this is this way and that is that way, what am I? Who cares, really, do your thing and do it your own way. We are all individual people with unique characters. Sure, when you want to improve something you can look to other things and compare techniques etc. however the more you liken yourself to another person, the less freedom you will have to work on your own ideas. The comparison becomes a subconscious template for your future ideas, and that means they probably won't be as good as the first.
Failure Mindset. You've learned vital information, you've worked hard, the effort and time has all gone into making you someone new. You have something to show for it, just not what you set out to get. Look to the future, this is not a time test. So you thought it was a hundred meter sprint and it turned out to be a marathon. So what? Just keep going. You're not here to dwell on the finish line but to get the most out of reaching it possible.
Cowardice. We're not asking you to sign up to the military. Just have a bit of guts and stop caring what other people think. What are you afraid of? Do you want to do this or not? Some people might laugh at you or treat you like you don't deserve to do what you're doing but just brush it off and they will move along. People in general respect courage and confidence.
Prejudice. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. Catastrophising about how terrible the non-existent thing will be is only going to stop it from being made. Expecting the worst out of people and yourself, not permitting yourself to go ahead because you believe those cowards who are too afraid to do it themselves, writing yourself off before you press on. Non of this will get you anywhere!! if it's an innovative, creative, and artistic idea that you have and you want to see it through, go ahead.
Some of us are naturally good with people, and some of us are not. It depends on so many factors, ability to read emotions and communicate with confidence are the first two to spring to mind. We all stand somewhere on the scale of people ability and many artists find themselves on the lower half. Artists tend to feel more, and have more conscious awareness for subtle energies in social situations. This can make it harder to know what best to say, where as others see a straight path to success some might see a complex cobweb of eggshells and possible faux pas. Someone told me once that we have to pick up our own eggshells because its not for other people to avoid certain areas. Its passive aggressive to have eggshells or be easily offended. For an artist this may be shocking to hear, but its true. It's also passive aggressive to deliberately go for the eggshells, in a manner of speaking. We have to accept we are human and that means beautifully flawed. So don't pull faces at the humans unless they started it.
Here are some key skills artistic people really need if they want to be socially cohesive to superhero levels.
Know what you do but also do more. That's right, have a key area but don't let that stop you exploring something else. That's especially true if the money is right or if the opportunity fits right in with what you already do. Sometimes drawing red lines in our expertise can hinder us when it comes to evolving into something even more successful and long-lived that we were before. Imagine if Moby said he'd never write a ballad because he makes party music. He sold considerably more records when he adapted his sound to fit more people's ideas. Don't be a failed pop-star because you were too focused on one particular edge. Opportunity knocks on a daily basis, are you prepared to take it?
Naturally, be a skills sponge. It's okay to be tired of learning, brain-busted, full to the brim. Don't over-do it but really try to learn one or two new skills in depth every year. If it's just something simple like brushwork or calligraphy then that's exactly what you need. So if you want to learn computer programming, it might take half a decade and that's okay too. You know what's best. Always be on the lookout for genuine courses that teach valuable skills. You're already in the Alternative Fruit skills resource, check out the front page.
You need to be online and active. It possibly goes without saying but there are some people out there who think that they can still go to the local library or some other indoors venue and be noticed. They might be noticed but unless your project is centred around retro ethics and the internet is against the rules then use it. It will look bad if you don't, people will think about getting in touch with you and then they won't because they can't find you online. People want to interact with their artists these days, even if it's just to like a picture on their page. Social media skills are really worthwhile learning.
Don't lose yourself. You'll want to work on lots of projects involving many clients and some of them will be paying you. This doesn't mean that you must stop doing what you want to as well. Of course, to get far we need other people so always consider working with others first and be prepared to work for free if it's on par with your general career. Experience and contact lists count for a lot more than a page of likes! Always make time to work on your own projects just for you. That way you'll be less tempted to insert a bit of ego or vanity into someone else's pet project.
Be a student, be a teacher. Pass on what you know in a way that makes sense to you. That's exactly what I'm doing now for you, and it's for all of our benefits. It not only helps you but it helps me. Go over what you know, put it in simplistic terms so that anyone can understand it, then it'll become subconscious. Once we begin to think without trying we can spend more energy on doing what we love without worrying if it works.
Learn sales. You and your work are a product at the end of the day. Your time and talent is for sale and you want to get the best price possible. This means you need to learn how to sell that product properly, fairly, and in a way that respects you and the customer. It's a new skill or an update to a skill that you have to get to know. Once we learn the basics of marketing ourselves to the right people, we can learn the ropes with each client. It's something we have to dip in to and then learn to swim in.
Find a good network. We are a product of our surroundings, and what we consume. Our media is as important as our diet for our mental health. Our network of people are influential beyond media. A human presence to an idea makes it even more adhesive. If we like that person, then it's practically glued to us. So be careful who you mix with and remember that we don't want to be king of the roost. If we're surrounded by people who look up to us it will give us a biassed view of reality and prevent us from learning new things. We each have our own unique talents and skills, find a blend of people who nurture and validate at the same time.
Talking talking talking. Get used to it. It's nervous business when talking to strangers but we have to do it or we'll not get anywhere. We could wait around for people to talk to us, and if we're in particular demand that might be okay but for most people, we have to instigate conversations. Learning communication skills is paramount to establishing that healthy network mentioned earlier.
Find that thing that's simply you. We can parrot from others at first when finding our feet but a true original merely hints at the masters that came before. Learning how to hone a unique and identifiable style is what will make people want you the most. When your signature says something more than the name, when you represent some kind of feeling or atmosphere, you have found your niche. Ride it.
Mentioned previously, Alternative Fruit reported on some of the health benefits of reading a few months ago. This time, we're looking at a handful of influences that might just nudge you in the right direction. Reading is enjoyable, and although requires concentration and time, it is an open door into a new world of experience. The printed word has many abilities, conveying ideas from one mind to another can take all kinds of roads. A good book works as an excellent tool for applying thought and allowing others to make use of the same ideas. Either simply for our pleasure or for real-life skills, fiction and fact alike provide us with endless resource.
A good book will inspire a reader. By transferring the energy of an idea from one mind to another, readers can find themselves instantly able to look at life in helpful ways. It doesn't matter if it's a fictional character or an instruction manual, inspiration can come from any well written example. Once we are inspired, an empowering effect takes hold of us and gives us the energy to make plans and see them through. All adventures begin with an idea. Books are full of both of those.
Yes, it takes a bit of brainpower to read. It's something many of us take for granted. People who struggle with concentration may find it less relaxing than others, however generally speaking, reading is a great way to rest. By allowing the mind to focus on one given train of thought, we can let go of so much more while the words provide us with their experience. By sitting down and reading, our bodies and minds are put at ease while the words work their magic. Great for de-stressing or winding down after a hard day, a book can be a really helpful relaxation tool.
Unlike the musical instrument you may turn to or the stereo with loud music on, a book is much more portable and socially acceptable. Unless you're a particularly hot shot on your instrument, it's probable that society won't want you to turn to it on the bus or in the street. A book, though, it doesn't affect anyone but the reader. We know that loud music in society is frowned upon, we go to places where its tolerated like clubs and bars or we leave it at home. Books are the silent option that no-one can complain about. We can read anywhere, it's a really versatile way of passing time or giving ourselves something to do.
It's impossible to say there's nothing out there for me. Seriously, the number of books on sale increases by thousands if not millions a year. A quick search will uncover all kinds of books. Try using words that describe your most readable book, good publishers use descriptive keywords when listing their items. There are so many books to choose from out there, and their information and ideas are only a glance away. This really makes it so easy to find enjoyment in words, there will be something written with you in mind.
Our imagination often needs a little prompting. We can live fairly routine lives where our days seem to run one after the other with little change. A book will allow us to tap into a unique part of our mind that can visualise and explore places and concepts which are on paper. Once we start using our imagination, we're actually more able to be creative problem solvers. Innovative ideas come from well fuelled imaginations, and books, blogs, and magazines are the best places to get this.
Books bring the world to our fingertips. We don't need to go to a far-away place to learn about it. We don't have to go and sit in a lecture room at an expensive university to get the information. Books bring it all to us. Sometimes we do need help to understand or get to grips with particular concepts, it can't be understated how helpful it is to have another person there, but a good book that's written well takes into account the fact that readers may not know what the author considers basic points. The more technical and higher up the book is aiming, the less time and space it will dedicate to the building block information that makes the book readable. We might have to start lower down! However once we get started, there's nothing standing in our way from learning a great deal about the world and its people.
Fall in love with reading, browse these beautiful books on art, design, and creativity from Taschen.
Naturally, we are creative people. Then our cognitive process filters out everything that doesn't fit. We have to be able to know when our filter is too strong and when our assumptions and guesswork are actually inhibiting creative problem solving. For all people, we need to make the most of our situation. Being able to think creatively then work to adapt to make best use of where we are at is how we achieve the most progress in life. The problem is, many of us have unhelpful mental filters which stunt our ability to think creatively. It can be stifling to our own happiness when we're forced to think and act in ways that don't match what we know to be better. Knowing when we're standing in our own way is an important part of change.
Innovation is always going to contain an element of risk. A general uncertainty will pervade all efforts to do something new. This can't be allowed to stand in the way. Some business models rely on known facts, they follow the tried and tested. They rely totally on data, they match what the graphs say will get the best result. They stop being creative. It might have been a sure bet in the 20th century, but in today's fast evolving marketplace then new methods and ways are being produced all the time. Manageable risk is not a problem, in fact it's the opposite. Only by taking a risk can we become a leader in our field, and therefore command respect from our peers.
Getting hung up on one factor while juggling all the others will not end up with a balanced solution. Sometimes one piece of information can stick out in our minds, perhaps an event caused it to be more emotionally relevant. However, all factors must be treated equally in creative projects. I'm sure we've all been in the position where we work really hard on something and neglect many others. This can happen when solving the major problems in our lives if we allow it to.
The boss isn't always the best person to ask, they're just employed to manage you. Try to not give extra credit to the opinions of those above you on the pay-roll. People's ideas need to be treated fairly and equally, and valued on their own merits. That includes your own! And don't accept facts without proof, even if they come from the top. Always ask to see evidence and contextual examples so you can understand how to best implement the 'facts'. It's not that people lie, it's just they can be unknowingly misled. Again, you included.
Sometimes, the bitter truth is that our idea was wrong. If what we did doesn't work in the way we wanted it to, then it doesn't matter how loudly we talk about it, it didn't work out. Reality doesn't lie, so avoid telling stories about how it would be better if this or that was done. Knowing when to make a direction change is really important. Accept the losses and move on, before you bank everything on a flop.
Just because a lot of other people have taken to doing something, it doesn't mean it's working out for them. We can only guess how someone's bank sheet looks and even if they appear to be highly successful, it could just be an illusion. No-one really talks about how much they earn so it's mostly in our own hands whether we assume or not. So jumping on the bandwagon in order to keep up with the others is not always going to be productive. Creative people use tools and systems in ways that suit them. If you want to start doing something new in order to keep up with others, think about how you can do it differently. Think about how it results in your long term goals.
Keep it real, folks. Sometimes we get told we're brilliant, genius, amazing, and in reality none of those things put food in the cupboards. Only results do that, sales, contracts, what ever it is you need in life. Sitting back and taking all the praise of the people for being in charge of your life is not how we get on with being in charge of our life. In fact, it's those around you who are pulling the strings by validating what they like about you. Use this input for progress not for back patting. Listen and learn!
There are clear benefits to working results, when it gets down to it, it feels great to know that our efforts are paying off. But it doesn't end there, as we know, if people are walking up a mountain then there are more paths than one. That initial energy of testing and offering various services and products, that drive that kept you hungry in the early days is what got you here. That creative flare needs to be nurtured even when you seem to be successful. Don't stop at the top until you've tested and tested that it really is the top.
When we're given cold hard truth, we must learn to accept it. Trying to twist it or spin doctor it into fitting our previous convictions will just fail to get the point in. Only when we understand the point can we be accurate with our projects. This goes both ways, too. Sometimes we have to be able to give out painful truths even when we know it will go against someone's ideas. We do emotionally invest in our beliefs and ideas and it will be difficult to find out that we were mistaken. Avoid being polite to the point where we mislead others.
That is it for now, please feel free to comment with any other mental filters which can inhibit creative progress. Or if you feel there's something not right with what's written here, then go ahead and suggest something else! It's all about teamwork and finding our feet on the same mountain. Of course, there is much more. Why not find out for yourself on this certified up-to-date online course? Kick start your creative career.
If you were born after 1980, you are in the Millennial Generation. This means we have always been around home computing. Being brought up with digital technology has led us all to embrace the new ways of doing things that modern technology allows. We're not apprehensive of software, and we love to play with gadgets. Some of us even know how to program or build the stuff we all use. Social Media has completely changed the world.
The free gift of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and all the others has moved the whole world towards openness, fairness, and equality. We have become empowered, with audiences reaching into the billions, our message has become louder than ever before. So, how does this change the way we interact and see each other? Part of the phenomenon of text based communication is the lack of body language, lack of social connection, and lack of knowing. We perhaps envisage the people being themselves while talking, we assume what they must be feeling, and the emotional background to their words. We inflect for people, project our own perceptions onto their script and look for validation. It's only normal, don't worry.
We do need to take all this into account though when working on social media. An extremely powerful tool that helps people find employment, friends, and opportunity will quickly become your worst enemy if you don't treat it properly. Needless to say, Alternative Fruit readers are well natured and mannered individuals, but let's be honest, it's not always possible to know exactly what we look like to others even when we do everything to control it. We must learn to avoid certain types of behaviour that could be interpreted as negative. People won't want your services or products if they interpret you badly. These tips can help minimise this.
De-clutter your feed! It's nice to share people's posts and it's cool to show everyone your family picture, but keep it tidy! An unrelated post doesn't help your career, so always think before pressing submit. Does this matter to me, does it matter to my followers? Only if it's a double yes can you be totally sure of a non-messy post. Imagine scrolling a feed of a famous newspaper and every few items is something random, or a pile of unrelated things just left without explanation. It's unprofessional right? You think to yourself, why did they post this? To be taken seriously, we have to be able to appear as professional as the professionals. Don't feel bad about deleting posts from before, especially if they don't have relevance to your goal. Tip: Deleting other people's posts is not advisable because it can upset them. Complaints and real issues must be left alone or you face a serious backlash. Cyber bullying, name calling, and unfair remarks can of course be sent to the void. A real complaint is polite.
Be bold, come alive. Silent observers don't get any attention. If you don't come out of your shell and begin interacting, demonstrating your work, and making friends with people in your trade, then you'll lose the entire point of networking. Keeping a secret list of great artists or brilliant writers but never interacting with them makes you a fan, not a colleague. Sure, it's a bit scary when someone who is as good as you are comes along and produces content but we're all adults, this isn't a sports competition. Just be nice,
That's another thing. Be nice, always. We don't like being subjected to negativity, self-doubt, reasons why we won't want to pay you for service. Like you, if I'm going to buy someone's time then I want to find a person who is rewarding to be around - Someone who it is a pleasure to do business with. Negative people, moaning people, unconfident and undermining people, manipulative and pushy people, none of these are welcome in a professional workplace. Before you post something, ask if it advertises you or does the opposite. Avoid getting emotional, political, and religious. These things often lack rational thought in favour of hunches and societal grooming. We won't do ourselves any favours by insisting on matters of faith or social conscience. We're all different.
Always be aware of what it is you are for. I know you're a human and there's more to you than what you do for others, but this is a career move. Always be aware of what it is you are offering, why you are offering it, and what you want in return. Keep to these principles and always come back to them when you're drawn off the line. You may have a great page with people interacting with you all day long, but does it make you money? Is it related to making money, ie. Advertising. If it isn't then why are you posting it? We chose this as our job, not a lilly-pad to swat flies from.
That's just the point, we can't eat likes. Likes and interactions help the software to know that it's worth sharing the content again. The likes directly feed into the system and increase the chances of your post being put on someone else's newsfeed. They provide social proof to your validity but they don't equate into pounds and pence. Only sales and contracts do that. So, please stop rating yourself by how many likes you have. They are a means to an end and unless we are reaching that end, then they really don't count for anything.
Quality not quantity. We want followers and connections that matter. OK so we don't get to choose who follows or adds us up, but we can choose who we are writing for, who we are aiming to attract. When we advertise our brand, target the people that like the sort of thing you do. Maybe try a few tangents, ballet fans might like horse-riding for example, it's always worth a shot but always be aware of who you are targeting and try to avoid collecting people who really are not going to be interested. A funny meme about something in the news can be really successful, but are these same people the ones who will love your work? Probably not. Remember that most people are looking for their own opportunity, so avoid becoming just another fish. It's always a two way street. We have to give and take. Just giving or just taking will not get you very far.
You need to have something people can visit outside of social media. Recently, one of my pages was censored. All the posts and links were removed. Luckily, it was just a Facebook page and not my actual website. Now imagine if I had decided to build the whole thing on Facebook? It would have all been taken away. So, the censor was removed after a couple of days and the content was put back where they found it and all was well in the end however it just made me think how fragile my entire career can be. Dig deep and build roots that go way beyond the social profile. Then keep copies on your drive too, because if your site goes down for some reason, all is not lost.
There is nothing wrong with taking a few days off. People won't forget about you if you have a break. It is better to hold off for six months and post something brilliant than post some random stuff everyday then not have the energy to do the brilliant thing. A lot of people feel compelled to show up and do their best even when they're not up to the job. We're not contracted to show up and post stuff, it is always because we have a direct purpose. So stop treating it like a prison sentence!
So social media sites are an infinite well of continual distraction. We can use it for networking, research, and building up our fan-base, but we can also become a consumer very quickly. It's alright to consume, nothing bad about it, but we're meant to be at work here. This is our job, directly related to our holiday abroad, our food bill, and our car tax. So although watching the cute animals is rewarding, it's also something you'd get fired for. If you could get fired for the way you use social media at work, then you're not using it properly for your purposes.
Finally, always know what it is you are offering and why. Mentioned before and mentioned again now, it's imperative that your audience knows what to expect from you and why they would visit your page. It has to be relevant, considerate of the audience, two sided and full of interaction. Your page is designed to advertise your professional services so make sure that you know what that is exactly, and what your method of promoting yourself is going to be based on. People want to have a consistent experience or they won't choose you next time. Consistently random is not bad, provided it is consistent and random for a reason. Writing cues or quirky art images for example can be as random as you like, as long as they fit the theme.
So that's it, social media marketing is something we all do naturally. Of course we want people to view us in the best light. With these tips we can just do a bit more the ensure that we only give off the right impression. What do you dislike seeing on people's feeds? Anything you disagree with in this list? Let us know in the comments, we'd love to hear from you.
Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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