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How Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls and Other Artists Deal with Stress

How Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls and Other Artists Deal with Stress

When it is your job to create art and entertainment everyday people, it can be downright stressful at times to push forward. Sometimes pressure comes from the business end, as commercial expectations must be met. Sometimes pressure comes from a deadline or tough timeline. And sometimes pressure comes from within.

Regardless of where that stress comes from, a positive approach is often key to finishing the task at hand. To learn more about how some very creative people stay both positive and productive, I spoke to seven artists on behalf of Lifehack.org.

Robby Takac, Goo Goo Dolls Bassist/Vocalist & Founder Of Music Is Art:

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    I just try to remember that not every idea is the best in its raw form, but most ideas are worth pursuing. If it doesn’t pan out, there’s nothing wrong with just putting it into your memories file and maybe revisiting it later…and if not, at the very least, you have learned how to write something in a way you can avoid ever doing again.

    Lucy Woodward, Singer/Songwriter:

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      Staying positive can be one of the biggest challenges no matter how “positive” of a person you are. I can become the queen of despair when dealing with a difficult person, a rejection or an overwhelming wave of catching up on the daily check-off lists. I have learned that most times — and I emphasize most — that my state of mind is the only thing that can change itself.

      I change little things like eat cleaner (therefore I sleep better), relax a little (have wine and chocolate), hang with people who make me belly laugh deeply. On a deeper level, I stare my “blues” right in the face and ask why it’s taking over my life right now. Once I sit and arm-wrestle it a bit, I create a new relationship with it. But I have authority. It ends up passing through me like the stomach flu.

      Cassandra Seidenfeld, Actress & Philanthropist:

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        Living in New York City can be both stressful and exciting. In a place where it’s critical to stay on top of one’s A-game at all times, health and attitude can be amongst our greatest assets.

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        I live in such a fast-paced environment that requires lots of juggling such as juggling schedules, appointments and time. In the frenzies of balancing life, where time is precious, the best center I’ve found is keeping a positive attitude!

        Keeping a positive attitude enables me to meet the challenges of juggling and balancing my life, because no matter how I get through the day, the way that I get through it makes all the difference. At the end of the day, the quality and effectiveness of it all depends on how I dealt with each moment. In keeping a positive attitude from the start, I try to make every day a great productive day from the moment I awake!

        Keith LuBrant, Composer/Songwriter:

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          For me, when I have a lot of projects in the air, whether it be a work for hire situation or a request by a publisher or music supervisor, I work best with physical lists. I can prioritize and schedule everything and when I complete a project, the feeling of striking an item off the list is like a mental “win.” This “win” propels me to get the next item finished. It sounds pretty obvious, but for me, physical lists work the best.

          Kurt Ralske, Fine Artist:

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            I try to remember that whatever is going on around me is is different from my internal state — I can’t control the world, but I can be responsible for my emotions. “Stress” is a sign that I am not allowing myself to enjoy the process, or that I’ve placed myself into a situation that’s not right for me. A small mental shift — like focusing more on the people around me — can work wonders.

            There’s also the physical side of anxiety, which is only a health issue. It doesn’t effect me if I exercise, sleep well, and eat moderate amounts of good food. I don’t go near stimulants like caffeine; I need the sustained energy of a marathon runner, not a sprinter. Sometimes I use supplements like magnesium and L-theanine for proper sleep.

            Also, putting away all the distractions, whether it be the phone, 895 cable channels (!), or social media. Some people work well with taking these breaks. I find myself down a YouTube rabbit hole looking at guitar shredding. (laughs)

            Marissa Levy Lerer, Musician & Technologist:

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              Art — more specifically, songwriting — is how I de-stress from my “real” life. I can sit down and write a song in 15 minutes, practice that song over and over until it feels right, and then take a deep breath. At the end of that time, I can listen back to what I created and think, “I did that. I made something from nothing. That’s like a superpower. What do I have to be stressed about?”

              I stay positive knowing that those bursts of creativity are inside of me and can come bounding out at any time. I can’t force it but I can have faith that they will come.

              Marina V, Singer/Songwriter:

                Staying positive while stressed or depressed has been a challenge for me all my life. But over time I learned a few good tricks.

                One of the most effective ones is exercise: the influx of positivity during and after working out is like no other. The hardest part is starting the workout — especially when I feel down — but remembering that I’ll be feeling so much better afterwards really helps me get my s**t together.

                Featured photo credit: Yamaha Corporation via youtube.com

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                Darren Paltrowitz

                Writer, Editor & Researcher

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                Published on October 30, 2020

                11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

                11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

                There are numerous ways to build your mindset, but none are as profound as reading philosophy books. Through these books, some of the greatest minds around ask questions and delve deep into thought.

                While there isn’t always a clear and distinct answer to the many questions of philosophy, the entire field is a gateway to a higher sense of self. It gets you to think about all manner of things.

                Below, we cover some of the essential philosophy books that are best for those who are just starting or looking to expand their mind.

                How To Choose a Good Philosophy Book

                Before getting to this list, we’ve researched ideal philosophy books to help you expand your mind.

                We’ve found that the best philosophy books excel in the following criteria:

                • Complexity – Philosophy isn’t a subject that you can’t dive into immediately and understand everything. The books that we selected are great for people making the first leap.
                • Viewpoint – With philosophy, in particular, the author’s views are more important than in your standard book. We want to ensure the viewpoints and thoughts being discussed still hold up to this day.
                • Open-mindedness – Philosophy is all about asking perplexing questions and unraveling the answer. You might not reach a conclusion in the end, but these books are designed to get you to think.
                • Culture – The last criterion is culture. A lot of these books come from early philosophers from centuries ago or possibly from recent years. These philosophy books should paint a picture of the culture.

                1. Meditations

                  One that you’ll find on many of these types of lists is Meditations and for good reason. It’s the only document of its kind to ever be made. The book focuses on the private thoughts of the world’s most powerful man who advises himself revolving around making good on his responsibilities and the obligations of his position.

                  We know enough about Marcus Aurelius to know that he was trained in stoic philosophy and practiced every night on a series of spirituality exercises. These exercises were designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever problem he had to face off. And he faced plenty of problems since he was basically the emperor of roughly a third of the planet.

                  All of that is poured into this book, and you are bound to remember a line or more that will be applicable in your life. It’s a philosophy book staple.

                  Buy Meditations here.

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                  2. Letters From a Stoic

                    Similar to Marcus Aurelius, Seneca was another powerful man in Rome. He was a brilliant writer at the time and was the kind of guy to give great advice to his most trusted friends. Fortunately, much of his advice comes in letters, and those letters happen to be in this book. The letters themselves provided advice on dealing with grief, wealth, poverty, success, failure, education, and more.

                    While Seneca was a stoic, he has a more practical approach and has borrowed from other schools of thought for his advice. As he said when he was alive, “I don’t care about the author if the line is good.” Similar to Meditations, there are several brilliant lines and advice that are still relevant to this day.

                    Buy “Letters From a Stoic” here.

                    3. Nicomachean Ethics

                      Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher at the time with profound knowledge. He’s named after a form of logic as well called Aristotelian logic. Through this book, Aristotle writes about the root of all Aristotelian ethics. In other words, this book contains the moral ideas that form a base for pretty much all of western civilization.

                      Buy “Nicomachean Ethics” here.

                      4. Beyond Good & Evil

                        Friedrich Nietzsche played a big role in the philosophical world. He was one of the leading philosophers of the existential movement, and it all came through this particular book. He is a brilliant mind. However, the issue with a lot of his work is that it’s all written in German.

                        Fortunately, this book is one of the slightly more accessible ones since it’s translated. Within the book, he breaks down the paradoxes of conventional understandings of morality. By doing this, he sets the stage for a lot of the 20th-century thought process that followed.

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                        Buy “Beyond Good & Evil” here.

                        5. Meditations on First Philosophy

                          In Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes breaks his book down into six meditations. The book takes a journalistic style that is structured much like a six-day course of meditation. On day one, he gives instructions on discarding all belief in things that are not guaranteed. After that, he tries to establish what can be known for sure. Similar to Meditations, this is a staple and influential philosophical text that you can pick up.

                          Buy “Meditations on First Philosophy” here.

                          6. Ethics

                            Written by Benedict de Spinoza, this came at a time during the Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment was a movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries and with that, many schools of thought emerged and were presented through books.

                            Out of the many influential philosophy books published back then, Ethics dominated during this period as it discussed the basis of rationalism. Even though we’ve developed further beyond that, Ethics can introduce new ways of thinking from this particular school of thought.

                            Buy “Ethics” here.

                            7. Critique of Pure Reason

                              Immanuel Kant is another great philosopher who brought together two of history’s biggest opposing schools of thought into a single book. Those schools being rational thought and empirical experiential knowledge—knowledge gained through experience.

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                              In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explores human reason and then works to establish its illusions and get down to core constituents. Overall, you can learn more about human behavior and thought processes and thus, open your mind more to how you think and process everything around you.

                              Buy “Critique of Pure Reason” here.

                              8. On the Genealogy of Morals

                                Another piece of work from Nietzsche that is accessible to us is On the Genealogy of Morals. According to Nietzsche, the purpose of this book is to call attention to his previous writings. That said, it does more than that so you don’t need to worry so much about reading his other books.

                                In this book, he expands on the cryptic aphorisms that he brings up in Beyond Good and Evil and offers a discussion or morality in a work that is more accessible than a lot of his previous work.

                                Buy “On the Genealogy of Morals” here.

                                9. Everything Is F*cked

                                  The only book on this list that’s been written in the past few years, this book by Mark Manson aims to explain why we all need hope while also accepting that hope can often lead us to ruin too.

                                  While many of the books on this list are all practical, this one is the most realistic one since not even the greatest of philosophical minds could predict things like technology, Twitter, and how our political world has shaped.

                                  Manson delivers a profound book that taps into the minds of our ancestral philosophers, such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, and digs deep into various topics and how all of it is connected—religion and politics, our relationship with money, entertainment, and the internet.

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                                  Overall, this book serves as a challenge to all of us—a challenge to be more honest with ourselves and connect with the world in a way we’ve never tried before.

                                  Buy “Everything Is F*cked” here.

                                  10. Reasons and Persons

                                    One of the most challenging philosophy books to read on this list, Reasons and Persons will send you on quite the trip. Through a lot of painstaking logic, Derek Parfit shows us some unique perspectives on self-interest, personhood, and whether our actions are good or evil.

                                    Considered by many to be an important psychological text around the 20th century, the arguments made about those topics will open your mind to a brand new way of thinking.

                                    Buy “Reasons and Persons” here.

                                    11. The Republic of Plato

                                      Written by Plato himself, this book is the origin of political science and offers a brilliant critique of government. As you would expect, the critique is still important today. If you’re looking to understand the inner thoughts of Plato, this is one of the best books around.

                                      Buy “The Republic of Plato” here.

                                      Final Thoughts

                                      Philosophy books take a while to digest as they provide profound knowledge and leave you with many questions. With many of these philosophy books, you need to take your time with them, and you might have to read through them a few times as well. And with every read, your mind will only expand.

                                      More Books to Open Your Mind

                                      Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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