Santa Ana, CA // September 12, 2016
I want to always be learning. I’m fairly self-aware that I don’t know all that much, and I believe there is always room to grow and always more to learn. I’ve never been a big fan of formal education – e.g. high school, college, memorize stuff and regurgitate, etc. But I have always loved to read, and still prefer to read physical books that I can write and mark in as a I go. (And of course spill coffee on, I love me a good coffee stained page or three.)
My goal with this post and hopefully future posts is to document what I’m currently learning. I have a feeling this may get lengthy and likely will be overly wordy, but I see this more as an exercise for myself. A way for me to organize and gather my own thoughts, more than anything else really. If somehow it benefits anyone else then even better. It will also serve almost like a bookmark page as I will link to resources I’ve learned from.
Big thanks to Nicho, the Sr. Design Custodian, where I work, for turning me on to some really good Design/Creative/Entrepreneurial related podcasts and books.
“Don’t Chase Glory, Work Hard, and Be Satisfied.” – Tyler Deeb
Earlier this week I found myself watching a Creative Mornings Talk by Tyler Deeb. I’m not going to go into his background here, but I highly recommend you watch the video on the Creative Mornings site here. It also has a nice succinct bio about him on there.
Listening to his story, revealed something about myself I had never noticed this clearly. I have been chasing my own glory for a long time now. In my job currently, in my previous job working retail at Apple, in freelance work, and social media. My motivation for working hard, for trying to make excellent work, was to make me look good. To make me look better than someone else. I wanted to be above other people, greater than other people, more respected, more liked, and more sought out than someone else. I have failed to see people as people, but instead viewed those around me as rungs on a ladder to be stepped on, to be used to leverage myself higher up.
This realization disgusts me with myself. As someone who believes that Jesus is the Creator of all things, who then chose to die on a cross, as a sacrifice for the good of humanity, this is a particularly gut wrenching and humbling realization. I believe any gifts and skills I may have are not inherently mine, but are gifts that have been kindly given to me. And yet I have been acting and living and working as if I should get all the credit. As if I were the most important part of the equation. I wasn’t even working hard to make good art for art’s sake, my goal was to be above other people. How freaking terrible and de-humanizing is that.
A lot of the times that I’ve ever felt anxious or worried I can link back to chasing my own glory. Anything or anyone that put my glory at risk would cause me to worry. Worry I’d lose respect, status, a title. Worry I’d lose my job if we brought in someone with more talent, experience, and skill. Worry people wouldn’t like one of my pictures or designs.
But, letting go of that need to be given credit. Letting go of that need to be seen and to be above others, is truly freeing and refreshing. It’s a massive weight off my shoulders to know that I don’t ever have to be better than everyone else. I don’t have to the best photographer or designer out there. I should work hard at my craft, absolutely, 100%. I should always try my best and give it all I got, no matter the size of the project.
But I don’t have to feel that pressure and weight of seeing everyone as competition to beat. I don’t have to fear the success of others, I can instead celebrate others freely, without fear. My identity and my worth are not based on what I do. We are here today and gone tomorrow, life is too short to live consumed with myself and pushing others down.
Tyler much more thoroughly and effectively talks about working hard, and making good work without crushing others or yourself. I couldn’t more highly recommend taking the 30 minutes to watch his story.
The title of his talk has really struck a chord and been a great concise reminder for me and so I made wallpaper backgrounds for my computer and phone to keep it before me. You can get them here if you would like.
Here’s a list of some books and podcasts I’ve been reading and listening to recently. And also a list of some designers/creatives I really dig and like to follow their work.
I love hearing the stories of how people got their start, and what their process looks like.
Creatives I follow:
Tyler Deeb (Misc. Goods Co.)
Jeff Sheldon (Ugmonk)
Sarah Armstrong (Batch DTSA, branding for basically all good coffee in Orange County)
Anton Warkentin (Perelandra.co, branding & design for Finch)