Thinking vs. Doing

Some people think so much that they forget to do.

Other people do so much that they forget to think.

Or here’s another way to think about it.

Without a thought-out plan, execution just might burn us out.

And without execution, a plan is simply a word document.

As freelancers, marketers, designers, and artists, it’s our job to do both.

Too Young As An Excuse

Too often, I hear:

  • too inexperienced to start
  • too young to understand
  • too naive to create something meaningful

It’s clear that we underestimate people all the time (both young and old).

Instead of doubt, we can replace it with possibility. 

  • how could somebody as inexperienced as I achieve something?
  • how could somebody as young as I learn more? 
  • what does it mean to create something meaningful? 

Life Is Like One Big Improv Session, And Everyone Is In On It

In my final year of high school, I found myself doing backstage work for the drama club. 

Never in my life could I be as animated like the drama kids, but I did learn a thing or two about improv. 

How far can you go without second guessing yourself? 

At times I feel like life is a big improv session, and everyone is in on it. 

There is no script. It’s just you, the audience, and the cast you surround yourself with. 

There is no right or wrong. You simply go with the material you have. 

There is no written path for you to follow. No person directing every move and scene in the background. 

We all improvise. We all hold different perspectives about the world. 

The kind of storyline we choose to follow is up to us. 

“I want to start a new project but”

The good news about not knowing how to start a new project is that it’s possible to learn.

It’s possible to find a blueprint to follow. 

It’s possible to ask for help from friends and colleagues. 

The first step is not to give up after your first bout of uncertainty. 

Go Find A Job They Said

Earlier this week a lady with her 20-something year old son came up to the counter at our restaurant and struck up some conversation with me. She asked, “Why don’t you have a real job?” 

Okay, rude—the first thought that came to mind.

The second thought came to mind was that this lady, like many others who have said similar things to me, feels sorry for me. For context, I must look like I’m struggling if all I can do at 24 is work in an old run-down food court stall with mom and dad.  

Why don’t I have a real job was not the question. 

The real question I think she wanted to ask was, why aren’t I chasing the image of success that the previous generation set out for us? Our immigrant parents didn’t come to this country so that I could work beside them. They moved to Canada so that their children didn’t have to work as hard as they did. They wanted social status, nice things, powerful titles, respect from their peers. 

I think we all want our own version of social status, nice things, powerful titles, and respect from our peers, but through our own means. 

15 years ago, the status quo for young people was to graduate from school and get a job that was related to our field of study. 

That’s all changed in the past decade.  

Turns out, finding a job that was related to our field of study isn’t the only path to living a good life. 

Instead, we can do more. We’re more flexible than we think. We can find happiness and success through smaller, less-than-grand moments too. 

To that I say, I couldn’t be more proud helping my family run our Chinese restaurant. 

Happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate. 

What Happens to Creatives Who Don’t Share Their Work?

I was on lunch at the restaurant when a customer of ours came by to chat. He told me an interesting story of a man who used to sell egg waffles by a local plaza. 

He told me that this man’s egg waffles were the best he’s ever had, even across several countries, and they used to be right in our city.

They must have been really good. So good, that someone offered to pay $50,000 for the recipe when he retired. 

Cool. But instead of selling his recipe and sharing it with the people around him, he chose to keep the recipe to himself (apparently it’s going with him to the grave with nobody in his family picking the craft up). 

I’ll never get to try those incredible egg waffles. Neither will 99.99% of people in Toronto. 

Why? Because this artist was unwilling to share his art.  It’s not right nor wrong to hoard what we have, but great ideas with lots of potential die because we don’t allow them to live beyond just ourselves. 

In a world where you can buy a black belt, it doesn’t mean you’re really at a black belt level

As a kid I used to attend Tae Kwon Do classes with my brother. Every once in a while, there would be a huge test for all students in the academy. If you wanted to advance to the next coloured belt, you had to pass the test. 

Of course, since the school was also a business, it was in the master’s best interest to advance as many students as possible to keep them paying for classes. 

Everyone would be in the same room on test day. If you didn’t put in enough time and effort into training, it would show in your form and everybody could see it. The same goes true for everything else we do as designers. Sure, we can earn a designer’s title when we go through design school. However, that doesn’t mean all designers produce work at the same quality. It doesn’t mean that all designers share the same level of skill and passion either. 

Just because you hold a title for something prestigious or in-demand, you might fool a few people. But once you begin to show your work and how you move, that’s when bad players lose the game.