Kids … can get to the point where they feel peer pressure that isn’t even there simply because of how they see themselves.

-WALT MUELLER, Understanding Today’s Youth Culture

Seeing the reality of who you are is critical. It saves you from all kinds of pressures, neuroses, and crummy feelings. And to see yourself clearly requires really only one thing… Discipline.

I don’t mean the kind of discipline that is administered to you… but the kind that comes from within you. I’m talking about that mysterious inner drive that makes people successful. The thing that separates the winners from the losers in the game of life. I’m talking about what makes someone a person of excellence. It’s about living above the negative influences of your life… This could be anything from past trauma, lost loved ones, or even current problems like pressure from “friends,” and even consequences of your own past decisions and choices. It’s about living in the now, with hope for tomorrow and grace for your past. Accepting what you can change, and not getting bogged down in what you can’t.

Is that what you want to be? Do you feel like you deserve to be treated with respect? Why? I meet many people (not just students) who want to be treated with respect and dignity, yet they don’t command any. They’re lazy and demanding. They expect everything to be given to them but they don’t give anything back at all. They are coasting through life and just grabbing what they can without thinking about how it affects those around them, or how detrimental it is to even themselves.

In the book “The Road Less Travelled,” M. Scott Peck writes about the 4 componenets of discipline- the kind of discipline that helps you get the most out of life. The kind of discipline it takes to be happy, to win. He writes about the following:

  • Delaying Gratification– The ability to delay the good feelings by getting the pain out of the way first. This is the only way to truly enjoy what you have in life.
  • Accepting Responsibility– Taking responsibility for the burden that is yours to carry, and also to take responsibility for the damage you cause.
  • Dedication to Truth– This isn’t only about not lying to other people… but even more importantly- not lying to yourself. It’s about having a realistic self-image, not an overly inflated or deflated one.
  • Balance– Having a good balance in life. This balance is between work and play, self-criticism and self-congratulations, and giving and receiving.

These are really good starting points… and I’m interested in your feedback on this. We may even talk a little about this in the next few weeks. Maybe break it down and have one topic a week to think about and discuss. I don’t want this class to be only about design and technology- I want it to be about YOU. About you getting the most out of life. Very few high school students know how to do this- and it doesn’t change as we get older- Very few adults do, either.

This week, Start working on the new Illustrator Tutorials- Projects 1.08-1.13. Cool projects to just experiment with Illustrator without the pen tool. You should be able to knock out one project for every two classes- so don’t delay! This is a series of fun learning projects- don’t get bogged down in them. Learn how to use the tools and create something quick and move on. We need to get to the pen tool (1.12-1.13) by thanksgiving at the latest!

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