Learn From My Fail

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a self-help book junky. Maybe self-help isn’t the best term- more like self-improvement. Recently I’ve been trying to improve my communication and social skills. Considering how in the last week  I managed to unintentionally give one of my teachers a complex about his winter coat and  accidentally convince another that I either have raging crush on him or am attending school on a day pass from the local psychiatric facility (or both), I’d say communication is probably a good area for me to focus on.

Despite my apparent gift for making teachers uncomfortable, some of the lessons from my self-improvement library have actually sank in and have helped me over the years. To be honest, all I really needed was one good self-improvement book, because unless you are focusing on a specific area, most of them are the same. They are sort of like diet books that way- a little bit new of new info, but the basics don’t change. Here are the main two thoughts behind every self-help book:

Everyone is afraid, but fear is only temporary and can’t hurt you.  Someone who isn’t scared at least once in a while, probably isn’t doing much living. But the fear is just an emotion and has no inherent power. Just move through it and it may not completely evaporate, but it will definitely lessen. Fighting through the fear is so empowering. Think about it, what things mean more to you, things easily achieved or things you had to fight for? Feel The Fear…and Do It Anyway is an amazing book all about this very subject.

In general, most people are way too concerned about their own problems to care about what you are doing. In other words, stop taking things personally. I’d love to say that this is not an issue in my life, but it is something I struggle with. Almost everyone has that inner voice that says, “What will your family/friends/neighbors/coworkers/mailman/random guy at the gas station think if I _____.”   The reality is, everyone is way too preoccupied with their own lives to be concerned for more then a few minutes with what others are doing.  We don’t even know if these “others” will actually approve or disapprove of our actions, but just the mere idea of their disapproval is given so much weight that we let it control our actions. Here’s the ironic part: most of these “others’ that we are worried about aren’t even people we like or trust! Think of a person who said something that made you feel bad about a choice you made. If you were going on vacation, would you toss that person the keys to your house and say, “Hey, I’m going out of town. Will you feed my dog and get my mail?” Of course not! Then why give them space in your mind, which is so much more precious?

So, there you have it- the info contained in 85% of all self-help books for free. Hopefully I saved you $20 (or $11 for the Kindle Edition). I’m currently reading one called, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff that is helping me learn to be a little easier on myself. I never even realized how much of a perfectionist I am until I started back to school. But that’s a post for another day.

My design page is updated with a new project that fits really nicely with this post. Click it to view it enlarged, because it looks a billion times better that way. As always, thanks for reading and have a great week!



I’m a self-help book junky. At any given time I’m reading at least one and have one in audio form on my Ipod. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever taken away was from Steve Chandler (I can’t recommend his books more highly) and it was to start a quote journal. The idea behind a quote journal when you read or hear something that speaks to you, jot it down for when you need some words of wisdom.

I’ve got lists of quotes all over the place- in a notebook (okay, several random notebooks), on my phone, on my Ipod, on my computer, on receipts in my purse, all over. Being back in school, I find myself drawing on my quote lists more often. So I thought I’d share a few that I keep in mind almost daily. Most deal with design, some don’t, but hopefully they will inspire you as much as they inspire me.

“…yet failure is built into creativity…the creative act involves this element of ‘newness’ and ‘experimentalism,’ then one must expect and accept the possibility of failure…” Saul Bass 

“Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.” – Jeffery Zeldman

“The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never.” –Oscar Wilde

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life- and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” –Georgia O’Keeffe

“God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

“A candle loses none of it’s light by lighting another candle.” – unknown

“Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.”- Paul Rand

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”-Bertrand Russell

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” –Bill Cosby

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”- George Eliot


Now that school is back in full swing, I’m a little swamped. Not to mention that the plumber is here….again. For such a small condo, this place is like a swirling vortex of plumbing issues. So just a couple quick updates before back to attempting a project in InDesign and make sure the cats leave the Roto-Rooter man alone.

First thing, the photography page is updated! I added some new things and rotated some others out. Stop by and check it out! You can always see my latest by checking out my Flickr page.

Second, new slide show! But first- a little background. A few years ago I asked my husband to take me to the Bristol Renaissance Faire just over the border into Wisconsin. I say “asked”, but it was my birthday so he couldn’t say no. Well, I guess he could have, but he would have felt really, really bad (I would have made sure of that). Anyway, I figured if it was lame, we would just do some people watching and head home. We ended up staying until almost closing time and had a blast. As we were heading for the exit, we heard ominous drumming and saw the crowd up ahead stopping and looking not a little freaked out. Behaving like those people in the horror movie who head towards the scary noise, we took off in the direction of the drumming. When we caught up to the sound, we both stopped at the same time. The unspoken thought between us was, “This….is….awesome!”  It was the danse macabre or death parade winding through the ground. A danse macabre parade is a medieval allegory about the universality of death. No matter who or where we are, death eventually comes for us all.

When I went home, I realized words were really not enough to tell people how spooky, haunting and wonderful the parade is. So a slideshow was born!  The hardest part was finding a song that adequately set the mood that the parade creates for me. I saw the commercial for the game Fable 3 and heard the song, “Young Men Dead” by The Black Angels and that was it. It was ominous, creepy, and bad ass. Perfect!

I think it looks a lot better on it’s You Tube page, so you can see it larger without losing quality. Back next week with (hopefully) some new content for my design page. Till then, enjoy the new photos and slideshow!