Reading: Part 1: Extreme You – Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat.

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Well 20 minutes of deleting spam and I can finally settle down to writing this blog post. Part 1 of a 4 part series inspired by Sarah Robb O’Hagan’s lively contribution to the swift kick in the butt genre of self-help literature.

Before I begin, I will let you know that this is not my main read of the summer, even if a four part series would suggest that. In my studies on the subject of money for my currency paintings I have read some great books including:

  • The Undercover Economist Strikes Back – Tim Harford
  • Money: The Unauthorized Biography – Felix Martin
  • Financial Fir$t Aid for Canadian Investors – Mike Graham
  • Money Rules – Gail Vaz-Oxlade
  • Smart Women Love Money – Alice Finn
  • Rich Dad series (4) –  Robert T. Kiyosaki

I haven’t formulated my thoughts on these ideas yet. I am just looking at the range of thinking at this point, but sooner or later I will revisit those of most interest. Art will emerge, and possibly some reviews as well.

So why, with all of this to choose from, am I doing a four part series on Sarah Robb O’Hagan’s book?

Well, because even though there is nothing particularly ground breaking in her book, some times we all need a good kick in the pants. We need a reminder of what our passions are, why we got into our particular game, and some encouragement to find new avenues to explore that game.

Each Post will cover my take aways from her book, or what I found spoke to me (you may find something else speaks to you), rather than being an official review:

  1. Ignite Your Magic Drive
  2. Get Out of Line
  3. Play Your Specialist Game
  4. Break Yourself To Make Yourself

So without further ado:

PART 1: Ignite Your Magic Drive


Of all the advice from this chapter, such as starting with a doable challenge and building your momentum up to reach the big goal, choosing your own challenges and doing what you love… for me the most inspiring piece of advice about developing drive had to do with the topic of support.

Support, of course, is the support you have from your family, friends, community and larger society in the accomplishment of your goals.

This is a topic that strikes home for me as a visual artist, because as an artist, who studied fine art at the post secondary level, and who continues to pursue a fine art career, I deal with a lot of “D” words from most of the people in my non-art world. Disbelief, Dubiousness, even Derision. Jokes about art majors serving french fries float freely about our culture, and the official statistics on incomes in the industry are not encouraging. At some family gatherings people avoid talking work with me, make snide comments about people who work vs. those who don’t (because they don’t understand the nature of my work it is easier for them to assume I don’t work I guess), or offer ‘helpful’ suggestions about employment (despite having no knowledge about my situation in the first place). Their assumptions and criticisms pain me and piss me off by turns.

Rather than becoming demoralized and giving in to a world view I believe is wrong (or wrong for me), O’Hagan advises using that pain and that anger as the flame to ‘ignite my magic drive’, pushing through obstacles to reach my goals.

So thank-you Sarah, I may even post the next ‘joke’ in my studio as a reminder of what is at stake as I continue to shake the trees for new and interesting opportunities and set new goals for myself.