Around eight years ago, I adopted the motto “Learn, change, grow.”
As a teenager in a competitive high school, I was already beginning to grapple with the fickleness of goal-setting. When you fall short of a goal, you second-guess the past and become vulnerable to self-doubt; but when you achieve a goal, you are left in a temporary lull, lacking forward momentum. I have matured immeasurably since I graduated high school, but one thing has stayed constant: my process-driven approach to life. Time has proven that this is a healthy, productive mindset for me. I still set goals, of course, but I don’t rely on them alone. I will never consider my day wasted if I have managed to learn one new thing or take one step forward towards the future.
This passion for continuous improvement has had many benefits over the years, not least of which is my approach to learning. The list of my “interests” often seems too long to bother enumerating. I take in books, articles, tutorials, and research papers, and I try to surround myself with those who are as curious as I am. Because learning is so central to my process, it has become a habit. I could no more avoid learning than I could checking my email every day. It has taken different forms at different times, but feeding my curiosity about myself and the world around me has been a constant throughout my entire life.
Even as my day-to-day interests wax and wane, certain themes have recurred consistently, one of which is the written word. I am the child of two writers, so while growing up, I read constantly. From early journeys throughout Narnia to daily journal entries in college, reading and writing have remained central to my identity. I apply the same high standards for clarity of communication to my designs as I do to my writing. In fact, I doubt I would be as passionate about design if I were not first so passionate about writing. I believe that communication is one of the pillars of modern existence. I see the recent proliferation of technology, advertising, and digital communication as a largely positive trend that nonetheless often results in confusion, misinformation, and choice overload. Consequently, I see the role of design as a force for cutting through this noise—clarifying, streamlining, and prioritizing an overabundance of information.
In pursuing the best designs I am capable of creating, I hope that anyone who interacts with my creations understands them easily and completely. In so doing, perhaps the world will be a little better—a little clearer, a little calmer, or a little more authentic. And if the world is a little better, then I will feel satisfied that my process is successful.
Until tomorrow, at least.