The Right Proven Way to Do Unique and Meaningful Work

The Right Proven Way to Do Unique and Meaningful Work

 In June of 2004, Arno Rafael Minkkinen stepped up to the microphone at the New England School of Photography to deliver the commencement speech.

As he looked out at the graduating students, Minkkinen shared a simple theory that, in his estimation, made all the difference between success and failure. He called it The Helsinki Bus Station Theory.

The Helsinki Bus Station Theory

Minkkinen was born in Helsinki, Finland. In the center of the city there was a large bus station and he began his speech by describing it to the students.

“Some two-dozen platforms are laid out in a square at the heart of the city,” Minkkinen said. “At the head of each platform is a sign posting the numbers of the buses that leave from that particular platform. The bus numbers might read as follows: 21, 71, 58, 33, and 19. Each bus takes the same route out of the city for at least a kilometer, stopping at bus stop intervals along the way.”

He continued, “Now let’s say, again metaphorically speaking, that each bus stop represents one year in the life of a photographer. Meaning the third bus stop would represent three years of photographic activity. Ok, so you have been working for three years making platinum studies of nudes. Call it bus #21.”

“You take those three years of work to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the curator asks if you are familiar with the nudes of Irving Penn. His bus, 71, was on the same line. Or you take them to a gallery in Paris and are reminded to check out Bill Brandt, bus 58, and so on. Shocked, you realize that what you have been doing for three years others have already done.”

“So you hop off the bus, grab a cab—because life is short—and head straight back to the bus station looking for another platform.”

“This time,” he said, “you are going to make 8×10 view camera color snapshots of people lying on the beach from a cherry picker crane. You spend three years at it and three grand and produce a series of works that elicit the same comment. Haven’t you seen the work of Richard Misrach? Or, if they are steamy black and white 8x10s of palm trees swaying off a beachfront, haven’t you seen the work of Sally Mann?”

“So once again, you get off the bus, grab the cab, race back and find a new platform. This goes on all your creative life, always showing new work, always being compared to others.”

“Stay on the Bus”

Minkkinen paused. He looked out at the students and asked, “What to do?”

“It’s simple,” he said. “Stay on the bus. Stay on the f*cking bus. Because if you do, in time, you will begin to see a difference.”

“The buses that move out of Helsinki stay on the same line, but only for a while—maybe a kilometer or two. Then they begin to separate, each number heading off to its own unique destination. Bus 33 suddenly goes north. Bus 19 southwest. For a time maybe 21 and 71 dovetail one another, but soon they split off as well. Irving Penn is headed elsewhere.”

“It’s the separation that makes all the difference,” Minkkinen said. “And once you start to see that difference in your work from the work you so admire—that’s why you chose that platform after all—it’s time to look for your breakthrough. Suddenly your work starts to get noticed. Now you are working more on your own, making more of the difference between your work and what influenced it. Your vision takes off. And as the years mount up and your work begins to pile up, it won’t be long before the critics become very intrigued, not just by what separates your work from a Sally Mann or a Ralph Gibson, but by what you did when you first got started!”

“You regain the whole bus route in fact. The vintage prints made twenty years ago are suddenly re-evaluated and, for what it is worth, start selling at a premium. At the end of the line—where the bus comes to rest and the driver can get out for a smoke or, better yet, a cup of coffee—that’s when the work is done. It could be the end of your career as an artist or the end of your life for that matter, but your total output is now all there before you, the early (so-called) imitations, the breakthroughs, the peaks and valleys, the closing masterpieces, all with the stamp of your unique vision.”

“Why? Because you stayed on the bus.”

Stay on the bus.

Does Consistency Lead to Success?

I write frequently about how mastery requires consistency. That includes ideas like putting in your repsimproving your average speed, and falling in love with boredom. These ideas are critical, but The Helsinki Bus Station Theory helps to clarify and distinguish some important details that often get overlooked.

Does consistency lead to success?

  • Consider a college student. They have likely spent more than 10,000 hours in a classroom by this point in their life. Are they an expert at learning every piece of information thrown at them? Not at all. Most of what we hear in class is forgotten shortly thereafter.
  • Consider someone who works on a computer each day at work. If you've been in your job for years, it is very likely that you have spent more than 10,000 hours writing and responding to emails. Given all of this writing, do you have the skills to write the next great novel? Probably not.
  • Consider the average person who goes to the gym each week. Many folks have been doing this for years or even decades. Are they built like elite athletes? Do they possess elite level strength? Unlikely.

The key feature of The Helsinki Bus Station Theory is that it urges you to not simply do more work, but to do more re-work.

It's Not the Work, It's the Re-Work

Average college students learn ideas once. The best college students re-learn ideas over and over. Average employees write emails once. Elite novelists re-write chapters again and again. Average fitness enthusiasts mindlessly follow the same workout routine each week. The best athletes actively critique each repetition and constantly improve their technique. It is the revision that matters most.

To continue the bus metaphor, the photographers who get off the bus after a few stops and then hop on a new bus line are still doing work the whole time. They are putting in their 10,000 hours. What they are not doing, however, is re-work. They are so busy jumping from line to line in the hopes of finding a route nobody has ridden before that they don't invest the time to re-work their old ideas. And this, as The Helsinki Bus Station Theory makes clear, is the key to producing something unique and wonderful.

By staying on the bus, you give yourself time to re-work and revise until you produce something unique, inspiring, and great. It’s only by staying on board that mastery reveals itself. Show up enough times to get the average ideas out of the way and every now and then genius will reveal itself.

Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers popularized The 10,000 Hour Rule, which states that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert in a particular field. I think what we often miss is that deliberate practice is revision. If you're not paying close enough attention to revise, then you're not being deliberate.

A lot of people put in 10,000 hours. Very few people put in 10,000 hours of revision. The only way to do that is to stay on the bus.

Which Bus Will You Ride?

We are all creators in some capacity. The manager who fights for a new initiative. The accountant who creates a faster process for managing tax returns. The nurse who thinks up a better way of managing her patients. And, of course, the writer, the designer, the painter, and the musician laboring to share their work out to the world. They are all creators.

Any creator who tries to move society forward will experience failure. Too often, we respond to these failures by calling a cab and getting on another bus line. Maybe the ride will be smoother over there.

Instead, we should stay on the bus and commit to the hard work of revisiting, rethinking, and revising our ideas.

In order to do that, however, you must answer the toughest decision of all. Which bus will you ride? What story do you want to tell with your life? What craft do you want to spend your years revising and improving?

How do you know the right answer? You don’t. Nobody knows the best bus, but if you want to fulfill your potential you must choose one. This is one of the central tensions of life. It’s your choice, but you must choose.

 Common Mistakes That Cause New Habits to Fail

Common Mistakes That Cause New Habits to Fail

 Depending on where you get your numbers, somewhere between 81 percent and 92 percent of New Year's Resolutions fail.

Translation: At least 8 times out of 10, you are more likely to fall back into your old habits and patterns than you are to stick with a new behavior.

Behavior change is hard. No doubt about it.

Why is that? What are the biggest reasons new habits fail to stick? And what can we do to make positive changes easier?

I don’t claim to have all the answers, but after two years of researching and writing about the science of behavior change, let me share the most practical insights I’ve learned so far.

PROBLEM 1: Trying to Change Everything at Once

SOLUTION: Pick one thing and do it well.

The general consensus among behavior change researchers is that you should focus on changing a very small number of habits at the same time.

The highest number you’ll find is changing three habits at once and that suggestion comes from BJ Fogg at Stanford University. Let's be clear: Dr. Fogg is talking about incredibly tiny habits.

How tiny? His suggested habits include flossing one tooth, doing one pushup per day, or saying “It’s going to be a great day” when you get out of bed in the morning. So, even if you keep your new habits that small, you should work on no more than three habits at a time. (Sidenote: I think BJ Fogg's Tiny Habits program is great. I believe it is also free, so you can't beat the price.)

Personally, I prefer to focus on building one new behavior into my life at a time. Once that habit becomes routine, then I move on to the next one. For example, I spent six months focusing on going to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Once that felt like a routine, then I moved on to my next habit, which was writing a new article every Monday and Thursday. This time, I spent eight months focusing on the new habit until it became part of my lifestyle. Next, I moved on to flossing every day. And so on. You get the idea.

BONUS SOLUTION: Pick a keystone habit.

Still struggling? When in doubt, pick something that could potentially be a keystone habit.

A keystone habit is a behavior or routine that naturally pulls the rest of your life in line. For example, weightlifting is my keystone habit. If I get to the gym, then it creates a ripple effect in other areas of my life. Not only do I get the benefits of working out, I enjoy a wide range of secondary benefits. I focus better after the workout. I tend to eat better when I’m working out consistently. I sleep better at night and wake up with more energy in the morning.

Notice that I didn’t try to build better habits for my focus, my nutrition, my sleep, or my energy. I just did my keystone habit and those other areas were improved as well. This is why keystone habits are powerful. They cascade into other areas of your life. You’ll have to figure out what your keystone habit is for you, but some popular examples include exercise, meditation, or budgeting your monthly finances.

Further reading: Keystone Habits: The Simple Way to Improve All Aspects of Your Life

PROBLEM 2: Starting With a Habit That is Too Big

SOLUTION: As Leo Babauta says, “Make it so easy you can’t say no.”

If you were to map out the motivation needed to perform a habit, you would find that for many behaviors it looks like this:

habit motivation

In other words, the most difficult part of a new habit is starting the behavior. It takes a lot of motivation to head to the gym for a workout after an exhausting day at work, but once you actually begin the workout it doesn’t take much willpower to finish it. For this reason, one of the best things you can do for building a new behavior is to start with a remarkably small habit.

New habits should be non-threatening. Start with a behavior that is so small it seems easy and reasonable to do it each day.

  • Want to do 50 pushups per day? Start with something easy like 5 or 10.
  • Wish you would read more books? Start by reading two pages every night.
  • Want to finally start meditating? Meditate for one minute each morning. After a month, you can move up to two minutes.

Further reading: How to Build a New Habit. This is Your Strategy Guide.

PROBLEM 3: Seeking a Result, Not a Ritual

SOLUTION: Focus on the behavior, not the outcome.

Nearly every conversation about goals and resolutions is focused on some type of result. What do you want to achieve? How much weight do you want to lose? How much money do you want to save? How many books do you want to read? How much less do you want to drink?

Naturally, we are outcome focused because we want our new behaviors to deliver new results.

Here’s the problem: New goals don’t deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is not an outcome, it is a process. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building better rituals, not chasing better results.

Rituals are what turn behaviors into habits. In the words of Tony Schwartz, “A ritual is a highly precise behavior you do at a specific time so that it becomes automatic over time and no longer requires much conscious intention or energy.”

If you want a new habit, you have to fall in love with a new ritual.

Further reading: Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

PROBLEM 4: Not Changing Your Environment

SOLUTION: Build an environment that promotes good habits.

I have never seen a person consistently stick to positive habits in a negative environment. You can frame this statement in many different ways:

  • It is nearly impossible to eat healthy all of the time if you are constantly surrounded by unhealthy food.
  • It is nearly impossible to remain positive all of the time if you are constantly surrounded by negative people.
  • It is nearly impossible to focus on a single task if you are constantly bombarded with text messages, notifications, emails, questions, and other digital distractions.
  • It is nearly impossible to not drink if you are constantly surrounded by alcohol.
  • And so on.

We rarely admit it (or even realize it), but our behaviors are often a simple response to the environment we find ourselves in.

In fact, you can assume that the lifestyle you have today (all of your habits) is largely a product of the environment you live in each day. The single biggest change that will make a new habit easier is performing it in an environment that is designed to make that habit succeed. For example, let’s say that your New Year’s resolution is to reduce stress in your life and live in a more focused manner.

Here is the current situation:

Every morning, the alarm on your phone goes off. You pick up the phone, turn off the alarm, and immediately start checking email and social media. Before you have even made it out of bed, you are already thinking about a half dozen new emails. Maybe you’ve already responded to a few. You also browsed the latest updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so those messages and headlines are swimming around in your mind too. You haven’t even dressed yet, but your mind is already distracted and stressed.

If this scene sounds familiar and you want to change your habit, then the easiest way to do it is to change your environment. Don’t keep your phone in your room. The phone is the thing that causes all of the problems, so change the environment. Buy a regular alarm clock (shockingly old school, I know) and charge your phone in another room (or, at least, across the room away from your bed).

You can change the digital environment too. Turn off all push notifications on your phone. You can even remove your email and social media apps from the home screen and hide them somewhere else on the phone. I deleted all of my apps from my phone for a month just to see how it would go. I missed them very little.

If your environment doesn’t change, you probably won’t either.

Further reading: This Simple Equation Reveals How Habits Shape Your Health, Happiness, and Wealth

PROBLEM 5: Assuming Small Changes Don’t Add Up.

SOLUTION: Get one percent better each day.

If you listen to nearly anyone talk about their goals, you’ll hear them describe the minimum that they want to achieve.

  • “I want to save at least $5,000 this year.”
  • “I want to read at least 30 books this year.”
  • “I want to lose at least 20 pounds before summer.”

The underlying assumption is that your achievements need to be big to make a difference. Because of this, we always talk ourselves into chasing a big habit. “If I want to lose at least 20 pounds, I need to start busting my butt and working out for 90 minutes a day!”

If you look at your current habits, however, you’ll see a different picture. Nearly every habit you have today, good or bad, is the result of many small choices made over time. It is the repeated pattern of small behaviors that leads to significant results. Each day we make the choice to become one percent better or one percent worse, but so often the choices are small enough that we miss them.

If you’re serious about building a new habit, then start with something small. Start with something you can stick with for good. Then, once you’ve repeated it enough times, you can worry about increasing the intensity.

Build the behavior first. Worry about the results later.

If you want more practical ideas for breaking bad habits and creating good habits, check out my book Atomic Habits, which will show you how small changes in habits can lead to remarkable results.

Best Adult Coloring Supplies

If you are one of those who just starting out with coloring books for adults, you will be asking yourself a bunch of questions about what kind of adult coloring supplies you should use to start your coloring journey and which brands are the best for you..
So fortunately this post is just for you. I did some researches and collect a group of good coloring tools that will be helpful for you.

First of all, I want to congratulate you because you have taken your first step in this journey, and purchased one of those coloring books for adults, or at maybe just downloaded some free adult coloring pages.

Adult Coloring Supplies

·      PentelColor Pen, Set of 36, Assorted (S360-36): These are water-based markers, used for a variety of applications, they are just perfect for artists/colorists, designers, students and even children.
Colors included:  Baby blue, Beige, Black, Blue, brown, Carmine, Coral pink, Dark brown, Dark grey, Dark green, Dark red, Dull orange, Emerald green, Gold ochre, Grayish green, Green, Heliotrope, Lemon Yellow, Light gray, Light green, Magenta, Marine blue, Ochre, Olive green, Orange, Pale orange, Pink, Prussian blue, Ram umber, Red, Silver gray, Sky blue, Steel blue, Turquoise, Violet and Yellow.
Pros: Those markers are just perfect for coloring, they don’t dry out quickly. The color selection is great and they are priced very well.
Cons: The color of the caps is a bit misleading, so you should scribble on a piece of paper before committing to your design just to make sure it's what you want. 

Adult Coloring Supplies

·      CopicMarkers 12-Piece Sketch Basic Set: these are alcohol-based markers used for art, architecture and fashion designers.  
     Pros: Copic markers are considered as the highest quality markers in the market. They  apply very easily and smoothly to the page, and also they have a long life span.
Cons: They are not cheap (because of their highest quality), and just for the experienced artists, so if you are a beginner you can invest your money in many other cheap markers.

Colored Pencils:

Adult Coloring Supplies

·       PrismacolorPremier Soft Core Colored Pencil, Set of 48 Assorted Colors (3598T): Those colored pencils are great for blending, shading and layering. They came with a range of 48 vibrant colors.
Pros: The lead is soft and flows nice on the paper and they are easy to layer.
Cons: They are a little bit pricey, but the quality is there.

Adult Coloring Supplies

·      SargentArt 22-7251 Colored Pencils, Pack of 50, Assorted Colors: They have a great selection of colors, and come with pre-sharpened pencils. Those colors are excellent for drawing, sketching, and coloring.
Colors included:  White, Orange, Rose, Brown, Light Blue, Blue, Violet, Black, Yellow, Light Green, Dark Green, Red, Golden Yellow, Yellow Orange, Pink, Yellow-Green, Gray, Sea Green, Magenta, Red-Orange, Tan, Silver, Gold, Peach, Light Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Salmon, Burnt Orange, Mahogany, Red Violet, Light Violet, Aqua Green, Leafy Green, Burnt Sienna, Dark Brown, Dark Blue, Maize, Cherry Red, Marine Blue, Navy Blue, Ocean Blue, Barrack Green, Olive Green, Blue Green, Apple Green, Sap Green, Deep Blue, and Sky Blue. One additional White and Black pencil included.
Pros: Those colored pencils are very cheap, they come pre-sharpened, and their wood is very solid.
Cons: The color shown on the outside is a little bit misleading, it does not match with the actual color that lays down.

Gel Pens:
Adult Coloring Supplies

·       Fiskars GelPen 48-Piece Value Set: Those pens are a collection of distinctive inks that will add beauty to your designs. They come with an assortment of colors, for example: Neon, Metallic, Glitter and two colors swirled together.
Pros: You will get a variety of styles of pens: pastel, neon, glitter… Also the ink quality is really great.
Cons: For some styles, the ink does not apply easily.
Adult Coloring Supplies

·       Gel Pensfrom Color Technik Offers Set of 40 Best Assorted: Are a collection of 40 unique and colorful gel pens, they can be used in many domains such as Arts & Crafts, Scrap Books, School Projects, Party Invites, Greeting Cards, DIY Decor, Doodle And Letters to Friends And Family.
Pros: Those gel pens have a smooth ink that flows easily and dries fast.
Cons:  The tips are not fine point.  

Now, you have everything you need, pages or books to color, and adult coloring supplies to color with. All you have to do now is starting your journey, and set yourself free from stress and pressure only with coloring magic.

Best coloring books for adults [Part 2]

adult coloring books

Coloring books for adults have cropped up all over the world, they became famous in a very short time for some good reasons. Coloring is considered one of the best activities that can relax and de-stress a lot of busy and stressful people, moreover, some studies show that coloring can make people whocolor smarter.
So I decided to do some researches and try to find the best coloring books for adults -Part 2- at this time (You may be interesting in Best coloring books for adults Part 1). I really recommend these coloring books because they are trending in Amazon and have so many positive reviews.

Coloring is the ideal hobby if you are a busy person and you have so many stressful things around you!

         1- Creative Haven Owls Coloring Book (Creative Haven Coloring Books)

Adult Coloring books

This adult coloring book contains more than 30 full-page illustrations of owls covered with amazing flowers, paisleys and other great designs. The pages of the book are single-sided and are perforated at the bound edge so you can remove the pages.

       2- Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book

Adult Coloring books

This outstanding coloring book created by Johanna Basford will take you through an adventure where you will discover some great enchanted forests. There are also some hidden objects to be found during this journey.

        3- Harry Potter Coloring Book 

Adult Coloring books

A coloring book for adults that presents the world of Harry Potter. It’s filled with some amazing intricate illustrations and designs used in the making of the Harry Potter movies. In this book you will find pages of scenes from the films.

4      4- Adult Coloring Book: Butterflies and Flowers : Stress Relieving Patterns (Volume 7)

Adult Coloring books

If you love butterflies and flowers, this coloring book is made for you. You will discover more than 30 illustrations of different butterflies and flowers, they are ranged in complexity from beginner to expert-level in order to improve your coloring abilities.

    5- Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation (A Zen Coloring Book) 

Adult Coloring books

Is an adult coloring book that offers more than 100 coloring templates, it will help you get relaxed and calm down. This book is recommended for colorists who like variety or for those who are just starting and don’t know which kind of images they will enjoy.

6   6- Creative Haven Dream Doodles: A Coloring Book with a Hidden Picture Twist (Creative Haven Coloring Books)

This amazing coloring book provides 28 intricate designs for an outstanding coloring experience. There are also hidden pictures like teacups, mushrooms and other suprising figures you should discover. Illustrations are printed on one side and the pages are perforated to remove easily.

With this collection of some of the best coloring books for adults, all you have to do is to grab your colors box and bring those books to life.

If you are not ready to buy any of those books but you want to try coloring some intricate illustrations, check out our collection of free adult coloring pages.

20 Free Coloring Pages For Adults [PDF]

Your day was very stressful and you want to relax for maybe a few minutes? you love coloring but you don't have an adult coloring book? Check out these outstanding (FREE) coloring pages for adult! About 20 coloring pages only for you, all you have to do is to download the PDF file then print it.

I tried to collect a bunch of different coloring pages for GROWN UPS, they are modern, intricate and made only for you. Just grab your colors box and bring life to those pages.
Here we Go!
Coloring Pages

Coloring Pages

Coloring Pages

Coloring Pages

Coloring Pages

Coloring Pages

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Coloring Pages

Coloring Pages

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Coloring Pages


Coloring Pages


Coloring Pages


Coloring Pages


Coloring Pages


Coloring Pages


Coloring Pages


Coloring Pages


Coloring Pages

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