Advice to (design) students

Asked what my advice would be to design students today, or any student for that matter, the following two points are my reply:

  1. Find a career
  2. Disregard specific advice

A job is a job. Work is work. But a career is something that can allow you to truly leave your stamp on this world. 

I’ve never been big on peddling specific advice like “just start freelancing now,” “move to New York City,” or “learn to code ASAP.” Specific advice is, for lack of a better word, too specific.

Everyone is different. Everyone comes from some place. Specific advice leaves out the person. If someone is giving you specific advice, please, disregard. 

To the youth out there today trying to make it happen, these two points are what I say to you. Now get after it.

On Age

Daily reminder: You made it to this day. Be grateful. Then get focused, work hard, enjoy your time, and be sure to show the love. No telling what’s gonna happen tomorrow. Cheers!

On Sports

Well I certainly have watched a lot of sports this year. Way more than usual. A regular “sports guy” here.

In my adulthood to this point, I’ve never been big on sports, going years without watching any games, matches, or rivalries. Of anything. I was schooled at the University of Nebraska where Husker football rules. While I was a student, I never went to a single game. It was something I knew wasn’t my thing. But I did like knowing it was happening and was the source of happiness for other people. It was their thing, and that was great. 

But this year, I’ve been into NCAA March Madness, the NBA Finals, the College World Series, and now the World Cup. Tournaments, am I right? So much on the line, so much pressure, so much culmination. The best of the best, competing on the highest of stages. And specifically with the World Cup, it’s really something to behold. 

Why so much sports? 

Because it’s easy. I have no team. No dog in the fight. I’m simply there to enjoy the spectacle. No lead up, no post game. Just the thing I’m watching at that precise moment. And then it’s over. I sit there, either solo or with others, and watch a game unfold. Often in very compelling ways. Hooting and hollering at times, appreciating the skill on display. It’s proven to be a nice distraction from politics, work, responsibilities, etc. 

When the game (or match) is over, everything is left on the field. Wrapped up in a neat little bow in the form of a final score. Done and done, on to the next. Every. Single. Time.

I like that.

So does the New York Times.

The Four Agreements

  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don’t take anything personally 
  • Don’t make assumptions 
  • Always do your best

I read the book in college. It was very powerful at the time. Then I sort of just forgot about it. Came across it again recently in the Atlantic. Today these agreements seem more important than ever.

Milestone: 8 Years Independent

Marking another year down in the ledger. At the close of June 2018 I’ll have been at this independent game for eight years. Hard to believe. I suppose it’s gone fast, sort of. But good goddamn a lot’s happened. The summer or 2010. Back then I was listening to a lot of Dylan and enjoying the fact Barack was president. I was just beginning to get after it. Because let me tell you, being an independent designer is not an easy job. You have to get after it, if you’re going to last. At the time, I was hoping to last at least a year. The fact that it’s been eight certainly makes me smile.

I appreciate all of you who have been there along the way. You people full of wisdom and grace, action and intention, passion and hope. If we’ve had many encounters or just a few, the clients and collaborators to this point have made my career. They’ve been (mostly) spectacular. To those who have been pains in my ass, you may have been terrible to work with, but you taught me patience and helped me hone my ability to compromise. And to those I have yet to meet on this journey of making a difference in this crazy world, I can’t wait to see what we do together.  

So with that, I’ll be enjoying a celebratory drink tonight with my lovely wife tonight. Grateful for what has been and for what’s to come.