Art Is A Sport: How To Stay On Track?

Introduction

This is an artist’s attempt on an artist take, on some of the concepts from the lecture series: “Psychology of Performance” by Dr Eddie O’Connor mainly aimed at Sports Psychology and Performance.

I was inspired to do this after seeing how related to art it can be, after Marshall Vandruff mentioned it so many times in the Draftsmen Podcasts.

I wanted to do a version for artists who want to get the practical gist of it and/or need an artist’s perspective on it, if they feel like it’s not applicable to practicing art. Some chapters like being a good sports parent don’t really apply for example.

There is some overlap between chapter points that I will try to condense for succinct points for quick reading, summarized as best as I can and art related examples of certain points to show how it can be applied to practicing art.

The original material are strongly recommended if you require more information/scientific evidence of the concepts.

Values And Goals

In order to stay on track towards your goals, you need Values as a concept to keep you continuing forward on your journey.

Values are your pathfinder that helps you get to your goals, your goals are your destination stops along the way on a map that is your overall journey and your plan.

You have to live by your Values to be consistent in your behaviour in all aspects of life and also to further yourself towards your goals no matter what.

Define and identify the values that you appreciate and think about what behaviours do you put into action that reflects that you appreciate and express those values.

Do you keep to those Values and demonstrate them in terms of actionable behaviour daily? Tasks that you can point to that shows that you practice what you preach?

After you find those, you can set goals for the direction that your Values will move you towards or the other way around.

Prioritize your Values over your emotions. It is easy to emotionally feel like you don’t want to do a certain client project you might have. It’s professionalism and integrity that pushes you to do it still.

That being said, emotionally connecting to why the goals are still important, as it will still motivate you further, towards them.

Goal Setting

I wrote more about goals a lot in the deliberate practice chapter. There will be some repeats here and also more to consider, three Factors of Goal Setting: Difficulty, Specifics, and Proximity.

Difficulty: Moderate Difficulty Goals Is Best. Out of your comfort zone enough.

Still Useful: Relative Goals which are related to your own Personal Improvement, Do Your Best Goals.

Specifics: The specifics/details of the goal. What are they.

Proximity: Short-terms and combined short and long term goals together improve performance the most, long term goals alone do not. Having short term goals to hit that work towards the long term goals as well will enable you to be more motivated.

Types of Goals

Outcome, Performance, and Process Goals

Outcome: Specific Defined Outcome, most impactful.

Performance: Same as Relative Goals, Personal Improvement, increase internal motivations and confidence.

Process: How You Perform A Specific Skill, it is different from performance, it focuses on a specific aspect of your process.

Link your Process and Performance Goals to an ultimate Outcome Goal. Process and performance can be the short-term goals leading to the mid-term/long-term outcome goal.

Linking Them Together

First, think about 5 Values you treasure and what behavioural example reflects that which you can do weekly/daily.

Second, what are the possible short and long term outcome, performance and process goals for each value?

I grouped some values from lists I got from Google and provided some actionable examples in terms of art for each. The short and long term goals can just be extensions of what I have written according to your own needs.

Perseverance, Determination, Persistence: These are mainly the hardworking, never give up, tough values.

They can be as simple as “drawing for an hour every weekday no matter what”, “making sure to upload something once a week” can be one too, any variation of those is an example that you are practicing those values, they can also apply to never stopping in your journey to get to your goal, etc.

Fairness, Honesty, Kindness, Openness, Compassion: These are mainly the kind, loving values. They may seem inapplicable to art but I would say exercising some kindness and compassion to yourself would help your art.

Making sure you take breaks from drawing, making sure you stretch, making sure you take the time to rest properly are all good behavioural examples of these values. Making sure you give proper credit to references used can be under fairness and honesty, making sure you don’t steal other people’s art to trace over is an example too. Being honest with yourself and making sure you put in the proper focused deliberate practice is an example as well.

Loyalty, Dependability, Responsibility, Accountability, Professionalism: These are mainly the trustworthy values.

You can demonstrate these by making sure you are communicating properly with your clients, being professional in your interactions, being dependable on to finish the work on time, etc.

Creativity: This was listed as a value and I can somewhat agree with that. Creativity is actually your problem-solving skill level in general, not all creative people are artists, all creative people however, are problem-solvers.

You can demonstrate this practically in art like coming up with drawing prompts and drawing them, working on your own creative projects, you can perhaps look at design/drawing competitions with a design brief to fulfill/solve, you can try that, you don’t have to actually enter the competition but you can practice like that.

Fun, Happiness, Humor: These were listed as values too and if we are going by that then I would say you can demonstrate these by not taking yourself too seriously and let yourself have some fun even when practicing, getting used to having fun with what you do even while deliberately practicing not in your comfort zone. Letting yourself be happy and non-judgemental with your art as well.

Knowledge, Intelligence: These fall into what you know and you should always be furthering what you know about your craft and your art, so these falls under research, watching videos and reading books on your subject matter and learning more.

Competency: This falls into the doing part of art where what you do has competency, this naturally comes after practice but also you can be honest with yourself and gauge how competent you are weekly and seeing how far you have improved as you practice.

I hope you will have gained some knowledge to be able to reflect and improve on what you do weekly to move towards your goals.

Here are some other articles I have written:

If you liked what you read, please consider supporting me on Patreon (monthly) or ko-fi (one time donations).

Stay safe~!
JR

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