17 Mar

The As-If Artist

One thing I love almost as much as art is social psychology. I'll spare you details of how I invented a major in consumer psych so I'd be allowed to take college courses in art, marketing, psych, design, advertising, architecture and communications from six departments in four different schools of the university. Suffice it to say I'm fascinated by how colors and shapes influence attitudes and behavior.

Therefore, "The As If Principle" gave me many ah-ha! moments. In this book, Richard Wiseman summarizes decades of social psych research to demonstrate that attitudes flow from behavior. This debunks self-help books that advise changing thoughts or attitudes to lose weight, get a better job, make friends, or (fill in the blank.) He explains classic social psych experiments like Milgram's shocks along with many that are fun and useful. Smile, even accidently, to be in a better mood. Stand or sit in a "power pose" and feel more confident. Eat less by using your nondominant hand and clenching a muscle to strengthen will power. Enhance negotiations with warm drinks, gentle nodding and soft furniture. Do somethng new or artsy to enhance creativity.

Research shows that your brain convinces you of the rightness of an action after you take that action. Simply say "Yes, I'm an artist," when someone asks. Soon you'll believe it. Behave professionally to become a confident, successful artist. Don't think about how to do it, or wish you could. Just do it.

If only I'd figured this out fifteen years ago! I remember selling three paintings at my very first solo art exhibit – a nude, a still life and this landscape – and still doubting whether I was a "real" artist. These days I'm confident people enjoy my work enough to pay for and want to live with it. Thank you for helping me get there!

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