Tag planescape

Immersion: Progress Report.


What just happened …

Generation Four.

Planescape Review.


Past, Present and Future.

Mental Evolution III (“Lessons”)

January 1, 2011 marks the beginning of the tenth chapter (“Plane”) in the Planescape saga – a chapter I call “Immersion.”  While the details are still being mapped out, I am becoming enthusiastic about what this new framework entails.

In advance of sharing more details about Immersion, I think it’s worth sharing a few things that I’ve learned over the past year – particularly over the past sixty days – all of which will be incorporated into my larger advancement strategy.

  1. In the workplace, team chemistry is perhaps the most important thing to me.
  2. I have a much clearer sense for what I should ultimately strive for, and what I can leave behind.
  3. I have a better understanding of my strengths and skills, and also have the confidence to let some of those skills lay dormant as I develop new skills and further improve my strengths.
  4. I believe that if I am not happy, moving somewhere else will not necessarily change this.
  5. I am uncomfortable with a significant amount of uncertainty, but I have learned ways to accommodate where extreme uncertainty exists.
  6. I have learned what it feels like to be unemployed and the psychological effects of the job search.
  7. I have a better understanding of the types of companies that interest me – and those that do not.
  8. I know I need to centralize my development around design, technology and business.
  9. I need to be more careful and conscious of future decisions to increase my life satisfaction.
  10. The past several years of effort have ultimately paid off in terms of being able to tell a more accurate story of who I am and where I’m going.
  11. I am interested in leading design efforts with proper experience / education.
  12. I have learned that a continuous bombardment of failures can result in a sense of “learned helplessness” which can be corrected.
  13. I have a better sense of who to trust and when trust should be given.
  14. I have learned better decision-making skills given past failures.
  15. I do not wish to work at home or alone because it is psychologically very draining / alienating for me.
  16. I have a better understanding of what I want and do not want in my life.
  17. I have learned that I can become blocked when facing too many significant (life) decisions at once; thus, employing some type of partitioning strategy is necessary to make these decisions in confident, thoughtful and expedient manner.
  18. I may never be completely satisfied with my life, and maybe that is okay.
  19. My graphic design portfolio is fairly strong, but I need to spend more time developing the other sections of my portfolio (e.g. 3D).
  20. I would like to expend more time on entertainment design, but realize that it may always be a passion but not necessarily a career.
  21. A robust ID portfolio and MFA degree could open a lot of doors for me in the long-run.

Plane 9 | Phase 39

With education as the backbone to my personal and professional life, the beginning of September continues (even to this day) to symbolize a new beginning for me.  Having moved into the ninth Plane (“Exodus”) in May, September 1st signifies the start of Phase 39 and a set of revised objectives for the months ahead:

Painting – Having experience with both traditional and digital art, I’ve found that having a true understanding of the fundamentals can make a significant difference when that same process is carried over into the digital realm.  This, I think, is one major reason why I’ve found it easier to paint with the Cintiq than I had originally believed – having taken a foundations course several years ago using charcoal and graphite.  However, to further improve my digital painting abilities, I am considering taking an oil or acrylic painting course at The Visual Arts Center of Richmond this term.

Ink – As you have already seen, my brief exploration with the Cintiq has pushed me to think seriously about the design and launch of a new “microsite” under my parent domain.  While some may question the purpose of a site such as this (i.e. not all of my creations will be deemed “remarkable”), that’s ultimately the point – you have to start somewhere.  As a real-world example, I started experimenting with graphic design nearly seventeen years ago and my early attempts were less than great (“comical” is the word that actually comes to mind …). Fortunately, my enjoyment for the process and medium has allowed me to gain the necessary experience to launch a business which may open up additional doors in the future.

OpenIDEO – While I have not had a chance to explore this site in much depth, I think this is a unique opportunity to make a positive impact while continuing to push myself both intellectually and creatively.  (And the fact that is comes from a company that I greatly admire doesn’t hurt either!)

Version Two – Having launched my personal brand earlier this year, I would like to revise the site to ensure that it includes other aspects of my portfolio – not just “Ink” but other projects as well, including my work at Big Generator.

The Factory – This concept is the graphical equivalent to Incubator.  It’s a microsite that will develop new graphical concepts that can be incorporated into graphic designs and/or digital illustrations.  The origins of this idea came partially from Eric Hanson’s video (“Digital Sets 1 – Design, Modeling and Camera”) where he highlights the concept of creating virtual buildings that can be later incorporated into larger 3D environments.  This idea is still in its infancy, and may not become visible until 2011 or later but it is worth thinking about now.

GD – Now having a solid graphic design portfolio established, I can now take inventory of what the next generation of my designs will need to entail.  Most of my designs up until this point focus primarily on color and typography and are nearly absent of patterns or imagery.  GD (capital letters) is the next chapter of my graphic / information design exploration.

PsG3 Regen: “The Living Rulebook”

A perfect example of the “interconnectedness of things” (i.e. the fundamental principle behind this blog) is the concept of a “living rulebook”.

In an earlier post, I spent some time understanding the rules behind the game “Twilight Struggle”.  As I went through this exercise, I started to think about how the concept of a “rulebook” could apply to my own life.  Could I have my own “rulebook”?

REGEN introduces the “living rulebook” concept which is a set of “rules” that will help guide my life in a better direction – i.e. one that is more aligned with my core values and beliefs.

Here are the initial set of rules that I need to pay close attention to: (in no particular order)

– Be thankful with what you have.
– Be conscious and aware.
– Be comfortable with your decisions and eliminate justification.
– Eliminate / reduce dissonance.
– Know that you are smart enough to continuously reinvent yourself.
– Don’t be afraid of change and the unknown.
– If you feel it’s the right thing to do, then do it.
– You could be gone tomorrow – be happy now.
– Keeping moving forward at all costs.
– If you aren’t adding value, then find a way to do so.
– Be present and be known.
– If you don’t want to do something, don’t.
– Feel and be open to “pain” to allow for greater growth.
– Problems that seem significant now usually aren’t over the long-term.
– Life doesn’t have to become more difficult – it can be easier and more fulfilling.
– Depression lasts only as long as you allow it.
– Solve the problem.
– Don’t be afraid of failure.
– Start something that you are afraid of starting.
– Take calculated risks often.
– Ask permission later.
– You may not be good at something now, but you will be if you keep trying.
– Program your mind in a positive direction.

This “rulebook” also establishes five high-level directional messages:

1. Keep Moving Forward
2. Live in the Now
3. Make Conscious Decisions
4. Be Open
5. Be Strong
6. Think Positively

In day-to-day life, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the things that are most important to guide one’s life.  This “living rulebook” is one technique that I think will help me maintain perspective and enable better decision-making in the short and long-term.

PsG3 Regen: “Advancement Subsystems”

By defining PLANESCAPE as a “system”, it seems natural to think of it’s underlying components as “subsystems”.

Subsystems are a way to “logically encapsulate” core themes essential for growth.  By aligning subsystems with my core value system, I think the Planescape “superstructure” can remain somewhat constant while still allowing for change / growth.

Regen introduces the following four (advancement) subsystems:

1. Mental
2. Creation
3. Bionic
4. Core

The “mental” subsystem exists to further accelerate development and expansion of the mind.  This aligns with my fifth and sixth values – “Learning” and “Challenge”.  The concept of brain plasticity is one of the main drivers behind this subsystem

The “creation” subsystem complements the mental subsystem in that it focuses exclusively on the creative (right) side of the brain.  This aligns with my eighth value “Creativity”.  While this encapsulates all of my traditional creative pursuits – industrial design, illustration, photography, etc. – it is actually much more than this.  It’s ultimately about idea generation.

The “bionic” subsystem focuses on improving the physical component (i.e. my physical self).  Bionic aligns with my third value – “Health and Wellness”.  Bionic is a new mindset and strategy that will take me into the next dimension of physical performance.

The “core” subsystem serves as the “foundation” to the other subsystems – it’s the engine that runs everything else.  Because of this, it ultimately aligns with the entire core value set.  All aspects of interpersonal relationships – building and strengthening – are at the heart of this subsystem.

The introduction of the “subsystem” will ultimately streamline planning efforts and will enable me to focus on the underlying activities.  This will, in turn, allow for more rapid growth and development in all areas.

PLANESCAPE Generation 3: “Regeneration”

As mentioned briefly in the BIONIC post, I have been working fairly consistently on defining the next generation of PLANESCAPE, which I call “Regen”.  Over the next several posts, I will share the details behind this new approach as well as its multiple “advancement subsystems”.  I believe this new framework will allow even more intellectual and interpersonal growth over the coming years, so I am excited to share this here!

Q: What is Regeneration (or “Regen”)?

“Regen” is the third major release of the Planescape advancement framework.  It is an evolution based upon personal and professional experiences over the past 3-4 years, extensive research and intense self-analysis.

Q: What was the catalyst for Regen?

It is difficult to pinpoint “one” main driver.

At some point in 2008 I came to the realization I was not taking care of myself.  Unfortunately, by the time I realized this, my overall self-confidence and self-esteem were at an all-time low.  Recognizing this, I took steps to read more about the challenges I was facing and what I could do to better understand who I was, how to manage my thoughts, and advance to the next level of “life”.

I also came to a realization that I didn’t have a clear sense of my values.  In fact, up until this point, I really had not taken the time to identify values that were ultimately important to me.

Finally, I think came to the conclusion that things in my life were not “working” and I needed to make significant changes to make things better.

Q: How does Regen differ from previous Planescape “releases”?

When I first came up with the idea for Planescape, there was no real concept of an advancement “framework”.  Or if there was, the framework was quite simple – it consisted of dividing my life into short-term “phases”.  Each phase served as an entity for identifying and tracking goals for a 3-6 month time period.  It was a way for me to document my history and to learn from that history.  I call this “Version 1.0”.

Version 1.5 introduced the “Plane” concept.  At this point, I realized that the phases seemed to exhibit a natural “evolution” all on their own.  I wanted some way to capture this evolution while at the same time identify a long-term vision and align these phases within that vision.

Version 2.0 saw the introduction of numerous “foundational” elements.  It was at this time where I realized that having short and long-term goals was not enough to be successful.  In this version, I introduced “containers” for a formal self-esteem framework, standards and values, principles and “modules” for dealing with crises and even death.  This version also started to explictly define “areas of concentration” – i.e. what were the key things that interested me and that I wanted to pursue?

Version 3.0 (“Regen”) takes many of the ideas first explored in Version 2.0 and takes everything to the next level of refinement.  The main elements contained in this version include advancement “subsystems”, a “living rulebook” and value / strength / principle “inventories”.