Retail / Furniture Designer

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Drowning at the deep end.

Time to learn how to swim

I think of the design world as a really cruel place at times. Clients, managers and bosses alike are often either incredibly broad or painstakingly meticulous, family members question what it is you actually do, and if and when you do produce something extraordinary it often functions so well people take it for granted.

 Photo Credit — Bret Hartman & TED

Photo Credit — Bret Hartman & TED

I recently watched a fantastic TED talk by Tony Fadell, on the first secret of design, noticing. It’s hard not to be inspired by this talk, a real eye-opener, it truly emphasises how humans naturally take the path of least resistance, which really got me thinking about how often I am guilty of this too.

“Our challenge is to wake up each day and say: how can I experience the world better?” -Tony Fadell

When it came to launching my career after leaving design school, it wasn’t exactly pretty. Sending out numerous CV’s, countless phone calls, interviews, emails with no replies and a real loss of self-belief as my friends sailed into fantastic jobs with ease; the easiest thing would have been to quit. Maybe I was being too picky? Nonetheless, a little demoralised I persevered, and in retrospect that is by far one of the wisest decisions I have made to date. Truthfully, ‘Success doesn't happen overnight’, and this doesn't always have to apply to fame or fortune, it applies to anything you set out to achieve and go on to accomplish, no matter how small. Similarly, it could be argued anything achieved without some degree of struggle is not a success. If you wake up one day to find you have won the lottery, yes you may be financially set for life but you cannot class this as a triumph, merely good fortune.

I don’t enjoy giving out advice for a number of reasons, mainly because the internet is already awash with articles titled ‘50 things I wish I did in my twenties’ but also because I am far from perfect or where I would like to be in my career. Having said that, if there's one nugget of wisdom I can offer to anyone in a similar position, it is simply to throw yourself in at the deep end. Nobody ever learns from taking it easy, mistakes improve your ability, just roll with the punches and wait to see the ensuing magic.