“Work hard; Play hard” is a common theme that Praxis participants and alumni live by. Not only do they document their growth at work, but they’re pretty good at showing the world their interests outside the workplace as well! Here’s a glimpse into a few of the many skills Praxians build in their free time.
There’s a common trend of athletes making great Praxis participants. The same mental fortitude that it takes to succeed in a sport helps them complete the bootcamp and apprenticeship with flying colors.
Running puts you in this sort of meditative state where you become completely focused on your moving and breathing.
It can be really hard to run; I’ve felt like my legs were turning to jelly or I’ve gotten side stitches from not properly regulating my breathing.
Running forces you to learn to clear your mind, forget about everything else and just focus on taking your next step. That is such powerful and zen state to be in.
-from Jaiela London’s 10 Benefits of Being a Runner
Running might be the best possible way to see a modern city…
If you drive through a city, you are going to see that city from a driver’s point of view – and this is how most of us do our exploration. You sit in traffic, you take the main roads, you get stressed about parking and wrong turns, and you experience the best of everything new in a hermetically sealed and climate-controlled cabin (unless you roll your windows down, of course).
As a runner, on the other hand, you stand apart from the press of traffic. You experience all the open air and sounds and smells and breezes which the glass of car windows keeps from you. You move on the ground, at the level and the view from which buildings were meant to be admired and experienced and enjoyed. You run past people, close enough to touch them – and though you’re moving fast, you have the opportunity to see their faces and the role they play in city life.
-from James Walpole’s Why Running is the Best Way to See a City
Capturing the world around them in meaningful ways? Of course it’s a common theme with Praxians!
I once read that we Millennials are the most nostalgic generation and it makes sense. We’re all enamored with antiques and into just about anything retro. Film is no exception. Film takes us back to family photos, to Christmas morning where we opened up an N64 and ate cinnamon rolls, to road trips, and to flying overseas for the first time. It’s another human connection we have to the medium and it makes us long for a time where things felt a little simpler yet satiates that longing with a trip back down memory lane. In addition to this, film lets us relive those memories in a much more powerful way. When was the last time you even looked through the photos on your phone let alone photos from your digital camera? More over, did they make you feel anything? Sure we’ve all looked at old pictures of our ex and gotten sad and missed those memories but that’s about where this sensation ends. Film gives you prints and gives you a way to relive your memories in a way you’re more likely to do. Looking through a box of old film photos beats scrolling through your photos app any day, anytime.
In a world where things are feeling more and more fake, we are becoming more and more hungry for authenticity. Film delivers in spades. It will always be my medium of choice when available and I will continue to use it until the last Kodak factory closes. I implore you to give it a try and see for yourself why it’s come back from the dead.
-from Tyler Hawk’s Authenticity and Our Growing Obsession with Film Photography
An acquaintance of mine told the Praxis community he was committing to a 365-day personal development project. Since it’s such a long haul, he was opening the door for other people to join him, doing a project of their choice.
I chose to jump on board a few days late with photography.
I have always loved the essence of photography. I think pictures have a unique way to speak to the soul. Because of that, I didn’t just choose photography. I chose 365 days of portraits.
Check out Randi Hill’s gallery of images!
Let’s face it- a group of go-getters like Praxis participants are going to love social activities. Many of them enjoy swing and ballroom dance, and (not surprisingly) many of them have written about it. Here are a couple of my favorite examples:
Swing dancing is a fun way for me to stay active, hang out with friends, listen to fun music, and develop a rather unique skill. It’s something that anyone who can walk could, in theory, take up to some extent. These days I go to swing dances as often as I can and try to learn stuff along the way.
When I was a freshman in high school, I went to a youth group retreat, while there, there was an evening dance, complete with swing dance lessons, and a youth groups full of kids interested in learning how to dance. There I learned the basics of swing dancing for the first time. Fast forward through some quick afternoons at camp throughout high school watching some country swing dancing kids. I didn’t get a chance to swing dance until I went to a swing dancing club at community college, but only once as I was intimidated, and didn’t like the school anyway.
Well, thankfully when I started my junior year of college at a private university I saw the swing dance booth at the club fair and decided to try it. I loved it. I got to learn more with other students and friends that I enjoyed spending time with. I went every week I could possibly find the time in my schedule to get to the lesson. I worked hard at asking for feedback, working with the instructors, and trying to get to social dances as much as possible, 3 years later and I’ve gotten down some aerials (off the ground dance moves), I consistently get good feedback on my following (the technique of letting your partner take the lead, and following the direction you’ve been sent through cue), and I even have the confidence to dance at friends weddings now.
-from Katherine Glader’s Swing Dancing: A Hobby
Why Swing Dancing Makes Me a Better Public Speaker
I never care what people think while I’m dancing, but I do pay attention to how they react just to know how they are enjoying my ‘performance.’ This habit helps me to be in tune with my audience when speaking…
The very nature of dancing is to move around. Sometimes I flail my arms and kick my feet. This helps me to be more animated in front of my audience thus engaging them more.
Sales, public speaking, and interviewing are all skills that podcasting helps build. Naturally, these skills fit beautifully into the Praxis mindset. Not to mention the fact that a podcast makes a wonderful portfolio project!
If you are an innovator, an entrepreneur, or someone who relentlessly pursues success, this is the place for you. Thriving United is a community formed with the sole purpose of inspiring and growing others. I dive deep into discussion through my podcast about relevant life skills, concepts, and ideas that I’m learning as I partake on my entrepreneurial journey. I hope to serve as an inspiration to everyone and show others that success comes through grit, hard work, and continuous self-growth. If you know that fulfillment in life is achieved when one lives curiously, learns continuously, and pushes relentlessly, then I invite you to join the community. Once you are apart of the community, please speak up. My desire is to start a discussion between all of us where we share our stories, give advice, and motivate others to keep grinding and keep growing. With that being said… let’s THRIVE!
Check out Gregory Williamson’s Thriving United!
When I was roughly 12 or 13 I had my sights set on being an Astrophysicist. I was going to find my purpose in life by understanding the workings of the outer universe. But as I progressed on my journey and became curious about how to live an amazing life I realized that the answers aren’t outside, but within. I turned my focus from understanding physics to understanding the mind(aka: turning inwards). Since then, this has become my passion and purpose in life.
I believe in the power of mindfulness and being here now in order to live life to the fullest. I’m reading a book a week on spiritual topics and this has helped me realize that it’s just as important to implement contemplative practices as it is to read about spirituality. Actually, it’s more important. And that’s why I started Becoming Conscious.
Check out Ethan Nelson’s Becoming Conscious!
Creative juices flow through the Praxis community, as evidenced by these beautiful stories from two grads:
I was working on a project that would require me to draw a T-rex frequently from many angles and in numerous poses. As I started I quickly found myself getting frustrated that I couldn’t accurately portray what I was imagining.
At this point there where several options. I could give up and concede that I simply wasn’t good enough yet. I could settle for bad art and just accept a mediocre quality of work. Or I could do as my friend and amazing artist Jake Parker said and draw 100 of them. I went with the latter.
It wasn’t easy and it took time, but it was worth it. I don’t think I drew quite 100. It was more like 80 something, but it had the same effect. Not only do I understand T-rex anatomy much better now but I dare say I have a better understanding of the T-rex than 99% of artists out there.
My point isn’t that you should draw 100 pictures every time something is difficult. Sometimes deadlines won’t permit that. What I am saying though is that just because something is difficult or outside your current skill range doesn’t mean you should give up or turn the job down. If you only ever worked on projects that were safely inside your sphere of expertise, how would you ever get better?
I’ve considered myself to be an artist pretty much since I can remember. I’ve always drawn, so I’ve always been an artist.
What have I learned from being an artist?
First of all, art is not easy. Drawing, doodling characters, scribbling patterns, copying likenesses, these things have always come more easily to me than many people I know, but art is not easy. What do I mean by that if so many aspects of art were not difficult for me to learn?
I could say, more abstractly, that drawing solid lines, simplifying complex ideas, making an aesthetically pleasing shape, these are things I inherently understand. This understanding has aided me in making art that looks nice without much practice. But the lack of practice, though it may not show outwardly, is becoming more and more of a barrier as I come to the point in my life where my achievements are put on display. Suddenly making something that looks nice doesn’t matter if it shatters under scrutiny.
Simply put, I have no idea what I’m doing, because I never learned it.
-Emony Anderson on her creative journey. Check out her animations, comics, and digital art on her website.
Don’t worry- Praxis participants’ creative work extends beyond digital art!
It costs more time and energy to build a life without creating art, then to build a life with it…
You and I have to learn how to create again.
I create for my own reasons.
You will create too- what are you waiting for?
-from Amanda Jones’ The Balancing Act of Watercolor
It’s still hard to believe I get to wake up every day and create. When I was four or five years old, I remember people beginning to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and my answer was always an artist. I believe one of my missions on this earth is to help other young creatives realize just how possible it is to build a creative career for themselves. If I can do it, you can too!
-Hannah Phillips on her creative journey. Check out examples of Hannah’s fine art on her website!