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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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                Last Updated on May 7, 2019

                How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

                How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

                Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

                The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

                The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

                Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

                People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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                  They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

                  Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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                      1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
                      2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
                      3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
                      4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
                      5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

                      How to Spot a Wolf

                        Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

                        Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

                        A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

                        A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

                        Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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                        Ask Questions, the More the Better

                        There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

                        When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

                        Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

                        They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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                        Wolves Are Everywhere

                        As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

                        Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

                        Reference

                        [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
                        [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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