Dan Pink on Drive and Motivation

Read this book over the last few weeks. And while I wasn’t that surprised over his findings, it did make me reflect on just how much my entire art career at this point has been fashioned from things I pursued on my own time (as opposed to things I learned in a formal class setting.) I picked up Photoshop, learned how to use a tablet, learned how to draw figures etc. because I thought it would be fun! As it turns out, that actually made my progress better. What a concept. Despite my lack of formal training, I feel I’ve been improving year after year because I’ve been focusing on getting better and mastering my craft. That’s been encouraging for me and I hope for all of you as well!  

The book is definitely an interesting read and I appreciated this set of principles Dan lays out on how to master any skill (comicking, making manga or anything else you can think of!) I just think that if everyone just remembers that artists don’t become masters overnight they’d feel so much better about the process of getting there. Don’t stress about it too much!

1. Remember that deliberate practice has one objective: to improve performance. “People who play tennis once a week for years don’t get better if they do the same thing each time… Deliberate practice is about changing your performance, setting new goals and straining yourself to reach a bit higher each time.”

2. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repetition matters. Basketball greats don’t shoot ten free throws at the end of team practice; they shoot five hundred.

3. Seek constant, critical feedback. If you don’t know how you’re doing, you won’t know what to improve.

4. Focus ruthlessly on where you need help. While many of us work on what we’re already good at, says Ericsson, “those who get better work on their weaknesses.”

5. Prepare for the process to be mentally and physically exhausting. That’s why so few people commit to it, but that’s why it works.

That last bit might sound like a downer but it shouldn’t be. Stand out by excelling!

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