Be inspired as easily by anecdotal narratives as you are by quantitative data. Be stirred by a person’s experience and interpretation, and just as quickly be persuaded by studies, tests, hypotheses, and research. Learn to cultivate your intuition. Commit to your objectives. Do not tire until you have reached the end.
Remain skeptical, especially when bombarded with conflicting messages. Do not give up on answering life’s most difficult questions. Ask the right questions, or those which lead to dialogue and mutual understanding. Maintain productive dialogue in all personal and professional relationships.
Dedicate yourself to a lifetime of learning. Information processing and critical thinking help when presented with new or challenging information. Avoid constantly battling information and stimuli overload. Take breaks when needed. Get in touch with nature, wildlife, being outside, natural sleep patterns, and learn how to be content in the absence of media and technology. Recharge when drained. Rest when tired. Spend time with yourself so that you know yourself.
From designer Charles Eames’ Advice for Students:
1. Make a list of books
2. Develop a curiosity
3. Look at things as though for the first time
4. Always think of the next larger thing
5. Avoid the “pat” answer – the formula
6. Avoid the preconceived idea
7. Study well objects made past recent and ancient but never without the technological and social conditions responsible
8. Prepare yourself to search out the true need – physical, psychological
9. Prepare yourself to intelligently fill that need
10. The art is not something you apply to your work. The art is the way you do your work, a result of your attitude toward it.
Design is a full time job. It is the way you look at politics, funny papers, listen to music, raise children.
For more from Eames, check out An Eames Anthology on Amazon.com.
All issues get my attention but social and environmental issues are the most compelling as I feel these are the issues to which I am best equipped to posit solutions. Injustice angers me. Complaining angers me. Being negative and refusing to take the time to suggest solutions anger me. Lone rangers inspire me. Simple acts of justice inspire me. Volunteers inspire me. Teachers inspire me. Parents inspire me. Children inspire me. People in service inspire me. People with passion inspire me. I am easily inspired.
When I first began my graduate program in Sustainable Design, I thought I had a lot to offer the classroom. I thought I had a lot of experiences, personal and professional, that created value in me as a student. I also thought that I had a unique perspective that made my thoughts and outlook on life more original or more varied than the average American's. I have had a hard time “fitting in,” in my work and personal life. I have been viewed as different, unique and original. However, when I met my classmates and instructors, I realized that we all possessed these other-worldly attributes. Now I see that I am in like-minded company. Now I have found a community in which I belong. The commitment to learning, offering solutions, and taking on humanity's most difficult challenges... these are the threads that weave throughout us. We are activists, humanitarians, designers, educators, and lifelong students. We are committed to bettering ourselves, one another and the planet.
I see the sustainability community as a place where we go to recharge our batteries so we can go back into the world and solve problems. Finding congruency in my work, life and design philosophies will help me to become a more authentic leader.
This Week's Self Reflection Exercise:
- What is your design philosophy?
- What is your life philosophy?
- What is you work philosophy?
- Do these three jive?
- Why or why not?