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This Is What Will Happen When You Start Practicing Chinese Calligraphy

This Is What Will Happen When You Start Practicing Chinese Calligraphy

Confucius regarded calligraphy as one of the six arts that any real gentlemen should possess.

Moreover, some people now disregard the importance of calligraphy as an integral part of the modern Chinese language. Others say it is merely a practice for old men. But this is unfair and unwise. Calligraphy, although considered to be dated in some circles, is about much more than simply passing the time.

There is no doubt that calligraphy is not easy. Non-native Chinese speakers will undoubtedly find it particularly challenging. After all, it is not just about the writing. The ink, the paper, the brushes and the mood all play an important role. Rather than being a simple exercise in ancient writing, practicing calligraphy today is, as Confucius says, an art form.

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Here are three things that will happen to you when you begin practicing Chinese calligraphy.

You Will Learn Patience

If you think that you know what it means to be patient then you have never tried to write in Chinese calligraphy.

Patience and perseverance are two of the most important aspects of learning calligraphy. This is because Chinese calligraphy is incredibly detail oriented. Even a stroke that moves in only slightly the wrong way can ruin an entire piece of work.

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Thus, when you are practicing calligraphy, you must be patient. Calligraphy is not an art to be rushed. In fact, it is one of the most relaxing things that you can practice. But in order for it to be relaxing, you have to be patient. When drawing calligraphy, mistakes are not an error. Mistakes are part of the journey.

You Will Become More Focused

Calligraphy requires a huge amount of focus. It is a very detail oriented practice. It requires all of your mind to engage with your drawings.

But this focus does not just require concentration on the task at hand. This is only half of the battle. Your focus must be restrained yet positive. It must be free of any negative thoughts in order for you to create a beautiful character.

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Your focus is your intention in Chinese calligraphy. If you go into it focused on mastering it for any reason other than to improve your body and mind, you will often find that you will lose your concentration, become frustrated and ultimately fail at the task.

You Will Understand the Beauty of Subtlety

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many modern people only find things to be beautiful which are obviously attractive. Supermodels, the clean lines of modern design and exuberant sunsets all fit this description for most people. This is why many animators looking for a college for animators, seek out calligraphy as a way of supplementing their drawing skills.

But beauty is not just in the overall picture. In Chinese calligraphy, beauty can be found in only the tiniest details of the character. It might be the smallest brush stroke in one part of the character that makes it completely unique and beautiful.

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When you practice calligraphy, you will learn how to recognize beauty in not only the big things but the tiniest details as well. This outlook will change the way you view yourself and the world around you. Chinese calligraphy can transform your world into a beautiful place without you ever having to leave your home.

Chinese calligraphy is not a hobby. It is also not a practice only for sages or old men. Everyone can benefit from learning and practicing Chinese calligraphy, even if you don’t know Chinese.

Some people say that Chinese calligraphists enjoy the gift of a long life. But in order to enjoy a long life, you need to understand patience, focus and beauty. Without these things, life is ordinary and boring. But with Chinese calligraphy, your entire world can change.

Featured photo credit: Axel Rouvin via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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