In both books Godin repeatedly challenges the reader to get started, make things and keep getting better at making them. I started consciously putting that into practice a year or so ago and I've been encouraged by the results, some of which are these thoughts on teaching like an artist.
Last year I wrote a draft a Lifelong Learner Challenge based on some of the principles of the books. I'm still shaping it, putting it more in the language consistent with the other things I have on this blog. In the meantime, here's my updated draft.
The Lifelong Learner ChallengeEach month make at least one thing that is:
- Inspired by something I read - This implies regular reading, preferably from a book. Give credit throughout the project.
- New - It must be new to me and to the world--original. It must stretch me creatively or otherwise.
- Good - It must be measured against a realistic, high standard identified in advance.
- Personal - Those who know me can see me--my style, unique preferences or personal experiences--in the work in some way.
- Helpful - It must be presented or published in some way so others can find it (or what I learned from making it) and benefit in some way.
And when done, reflect on the learning. Here are some starter questions:
- What worked as planned?
- What didn't?
- How did the final project measure up on the stated standard of measure?
- Where do I still have room for growth?
- What surprised me most in the project (in good and bad ways)?
- How did this project change me?
- Is it worth it to do more projects like this one? Why?
The idea for this challenge came from Seth Godin's very challenging list in The Icarus Deception:
Six Daily Habits for Artists
- Sit alone; sit quietly.
- Learn something new without any apparent practical benefit.
- Ask individuals for bold feedback; ignore what you hear from the crowd.
- Spend time encouraging other artists.
- Teach, with the intent of making change.
- Ship something that you created.