lizard pokes

Artists do more than paint

Why is this funny, you think? My knee jerk thought in spite of knowing better, “MlLLIONAIRE and ARTIST? Opposing ideas? Ha!”

Society has conditioned us to think:

  1. artists are poor, if not “starving”
  2. millionaires don’t make art
  3. money and art are somehow in opposition
  4. art looks like X, Y, or Z

The lizard brain is old, strong, fast, and concrete. Every big shift forward we’ve made as a human race entailed developing superior control over the lizard brain so that the prefrontal cortex — where we think creativity lives — can rub some ideas together to spark something. 

The definition of art has been expanding rapidly. Traditional-looking art can be found in museums, and we can learn much from close, slow study of these. Just don't limit your definition of art to "well-lit objects that can sit still in a building". Giving people a way to file their taxes more enjoyably can be art too. 

How to have a knack for productivity

When you see/hear something fresh, an energizing brain jolt takes place. The idea has engaged you: 

engage : to occupy, attract, or involve (someone's interest or attention)

It also makes you feel the feels. In our culture, there's endlessss discussion about "engaging your audience". Everyone's trying to do it. Why?

Lizard poking works 

Here in the developed world, we have countless people and products vying for our attention. This is done by a tactic I call lizard poking, because they seek a reaction in your lizard brain. "Lizard pokes" give you pause, just long enough for the brain to absorb enough of the message and feel something. Almost everyone is in the lizard poking business. It's very profitable.

Standard-issue vehicles that deliver lizard pokes: TV, news, magazines, articles, listicles, podcasts, movies, live events. All contain ideas, all are driving them into your brain. All take a lot of time and energy to consume, consider, and discuss. 

There's a painful cost, dear one, and it is this:

Lizard pokes make it challenging to consistently create meaningful work you're proud of.

Your poor lizard. It is overstimulated and exhausted. In a word: fear-driven. 

Rehab your lizard

The most successful people on the planet have a knack for enacting the ideas that scare them five ways to Sunday. 

Have you heard the word "enact"? Mostly in the context of passing laws, right? It also has a secondary definition: "to act out on a stage". I can do one better. Consider adopting my definition: 

enact : to decide to physically play out a fear -- not mentally, not emotionally -- for the sake of creating work that matters. 

This means filtering out as many unnecessary lizard pokes as possible so that it can rest, relax, and let your creative centers work better. Build a knack for enacting. #enactknack

Don't know where to start? Try answering these questions: 

  1. Which of your fears is pinning you down? 
  2. How often do you give fear untold power by assuming it's the truth? 
  3. If you made it your practice to test the veracity of your fear, what could happen? 

Get going on your #enactknack by answering the questions in a comment below! xo