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💭 Insider #7 - Systems, Not Goals
a bonus idea from the podcast + 🥳 giveaway + 📢 book-tour
👋 Hello, Insiders.
I am glad for your support, and grateful to be able to speak with you. Today, I want to share -
💭 a good idea from the new episode of the SneakyArt Podcast
🥳 a book giveaway
📢 invite you to a live book-tour and hangout
💭 Systems, Not Goals
The new episode of the SneakyArt Podcast is with Amsterdam-based artist and educator, Koosje Koene. Our conversation hinges on a simple idea she pursued in the first months of lockdown - to “only do what is fun”. This idea runs through all the different topics we discuss - life in COVID lockdown, creative blocks, early career decisions, new plans, and long-term aspirations.
Every 7 or 8 years, Koosje says, she gets tired of doing what she’s doing, and changes things around. She describes it as a 7-year itch. She started with wanting to be an artist, but studied and worked as a photographer, then switched careers to become an artist, then an educator, and is now expressing her various creative energies as a solo entrepreneur.
What fueled these decisions? How should a creative entrepreneur measure their accomplishments? Can ‘fun’ really help get to the big milestones?
Here’s how we discussed it on the podcast:
Nishant - With your YouTube channel and Sketchbook Skool, you’ve been doing a lot of structured work? One could think having a structure would help you to achieve more goals, just by adding it to the flow… What does it mean to have a structured approach versus pursuing fun without having specific goals in place?
Koosje - It’s complicated. While you were saying this, I was thinking about my abstract art… I can really feel the difference in mood or energy when I paint intuitively. When I do that, it works out well… There is never really a goal, except finishing the painting. But at some point I had a few paintings that had a certain sort of style that I really liked. And once I had that, I lost a bit of freedom and it became harder (in trying to match that style).
When it comes to drawing and writing, there is a structure to that, if you keep the habit going. The daily practice, or even a weekly practice, can be a goal to achieve… The goal is not to make really great drawings, but because you have the practice as your goal, you will get better with each drawing. Does that make sense?
Nishant - It absolutely does. There’s this quote that I really like, and have internalized over the last few years. It says - “You should not have goals, you should have systems.”
I think this is a quote by James Clear, and what’s he’s describing is that if you have a static, objective goal (like being a VP at a company), you spend a lot of time trying to do that and motivate yourself along those lines. The idea is that once you reach that goal, you will be happy. But the corollary of this is that until you reach that goal, you’re not allowed to be happy.
And once you reach that goal, you set another goal… So you do a lot of work, but the actual amount of time you spend being happy is only momentary.
So what he says is that instead of goals we should have processes, or systems. The idea is that there are certain things (processes) you like to do, and those are things you derive joy from. And in pursuit of them you are happy, because they are fun or they fulfil you. And by doing them again and again, inevitably you reach a good destination.
It ties into the analogy of gardeners vs architects as well, which was #3 of 4 good ideas I shared in my post this Friday.
Being a mechanical engineer has made me a visual thinker, so I drew this graph to illustrate the concept.
🔥 Post-Script with Koosje Koene
Our conversation continued in an exclusive Post-Script segment. We spoke about the early community building Koosje witnessed on Facebook and Instagram, and how things have changed today. We discussed the enormous burdens of being a solo creative, and techniques to recycle content around our workflow without expending more time and energy.
"I always look at the things that I do, and how I can repurpose them. Maybe a bunch of blogposts become an ebook. Or something that I wrote many years ago can become a Draw Tip Tuesday video. Things you are doing anyway, it's very good to think about how you can use them another way." - Koosje.
We discussed looking for publishers, the options offered by independent publishing, and some answers to a wonderful question posed to her by Danny Gregory - “Why should one even want to publish a book?”
This is a great question in our time of multi-platform digital content and every creative should introspect on their answers.
The Post-Script will go to your inbox next week. 😀
Last week, I did a giveaway on the free newsletter for 5 copies of my book - SneakyArt of 2019. And I want to repeat that with you, dear Insiders!
Leave a comment to this post, telling me something you like about my writing, the podcast, or my art.
🔥🔥🔥 I am giving 3 copies of the book to top comments!
📢 Live Book Tour
I am doing a live hangout and book-tour on the SneakyArt Discord, just a few hours after you receive this mail. It begins at 10am Pacific Time, and will go on for roughly 30-45 minutes. I will be showing both SneakyArt of Eau Claire and SneakyArt of 2019, and answering any questions as well.
In case you haven’t joined the Discord server yet, here’s a link!
Thank you for your time and attention. I will see you again next week.