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.
You may have heard of Mindfulness as a thought concept topic in general in recent times. With mindful eating like observing a raisin, all its curves and wrinkles for like 5 minutes really taking it in and being mindful of it before being allowed by the mindfulness guru to put it in your mouth and even then you have to slowly taste it first before being allowed to bite into it and then another process of savouring the raisin.
You could take like 10 minutes to eat that raisin. The purpose of that exercise is to establish mindfulness in eating, to really enjoy your food, and then the step after that would be in more things you do in your life, to be generally more mindful.
Mindful Practice is Paying Attention, On Purpose, In The Present Moment, and Without Judgement of what you are doing.
It involves refocusing over and over, you lose focus then refocus, building strength in repetition. Catching yourself when you lose focus is key to maintaining focus.
Bring your own focus back with kindness and acceptance. Do not force yourself back into focus demeaning or scolding yourself regarding Your natural state of mind And current skill level.
You have to avoid judgment and criticism of your results as you practice, don’t cut yourself short if you suddenly feel like what you are doing is wrong. Keep going.
You can start with 10 minutes of mindful practice daily along with an hour of deliberate practice then extend it as you go.
Eventually the best results come from 1 hour of mindful practice in the morning and 1 hour in the evening.
Remember that the Mindful Approach is nonjudgmental, moment to moment awareness and acceptances of one’s internal state, with your attention focused on what is essential, and consistent intentional behavioural actions that support their values onward towards your goals.
There’s a difference between mindfully observing an emotion, you are feeling, and then letting it go if it is not helpful to you (like self-hating thoughts) and refocus on what is helpful Versus/compared to ignoring or blocking it and pretending you didn’t feel it. There’s more on this in a future chapter about acceptance.
Below are other topics I have written on the subject.