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waterInitially, I wasn’t going to write a New Year’s post. Generally speaking, I find them to be empty shells of motivational advice that’s either way too vague or, at the very least, something terribly hard to put into practice.

This is because they fail some basic human psychological principles. But before we get into that, I have something I’d like you to do for you.

I want you to spend some mental energy in these next few days and define what success means to you.

And I don’t mean “become famous.” Let’s get concrete here. What do you want to do with your art?

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Better than Zero

https://www.flickr.com/photos/aiane/8055718779Have you ever not spoken to an attractive person because you couldn’t figure out exactly what to say?

Have you ever chosen to pass on exercise because you didn’t know exactly what to do?

In other words, have you ever hesitated to do something without knowing exactly how to do it?

Do you find yourself struggling to finish art because it’s not as good as you want it to be? Or that you don’t think you’re ready to make it?

Have you ever stressed yourself out over messing up a diet? How about breaking a habit like biting your nails?

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The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about his opportunity to move to southern California for a job.

Prior to this discussion, we’ve dabbled in conversation about how he’s unsatisfied with his current life situation. This raised red flags in my mind because, as I’ve written about in the past, I made a similar move while I was in college.

Long story short, I left college early in order to pursue a music career in San Francisco because I was completely miserable in my sunny dorm room in Orlando, Florida. There were many reasons that I chose this path — from a lack of any romantic life, to an immense amount of emotional baggage, to the charming thoughts of moving away to wonderful San Francisco. I imagined that chasing this dream would abolish these problems from my life.

Now, having been half a decade removed from this transition, I can clearly see how erroneous this romantic notion was.

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chabudaiHave you heard of Shigeru Miyamoto?

If not, you most likely know what he’s created.

Mario, Donkey Kong, and the Legend of Zelda to name a few.

Shigeru Miyamato is the man behind most of Nintendo’s classic games and characters. He’s the reason I, amongst millions (billions, perhaps?) of people are in love with video gaming.

I want to talk about a particular idea of design that Shigeru Miyamato is known for.

It’s a design event — a single impactful instance and completely flips the table on things.

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Playing aroundThis article is relevant to anyone making anything — musicians, painters, photographers, software engineers, mothers, fathers, skateboarders, singers, performers, acrobats, dancers, massage therapists, biologists, chefs, whatever you are.

Moreover I almost don’t want to share this post because I have a feeling it will invalidate any other solutions, techniques, or strategies I propose for addressing creative struggles.

It is such a powerful of an idea.

Anyway, I’ve been reading a lot about play recently. In particular this book.

You’re most likely asking yourself “what is it about the idea of play that would solve problems?” Well, it’s everything.

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