This is the season of graduations; when invitations to portfolio reviews vie for time on my calendar and resumes flood my inbox.
But this year, graduation is especially relevant for me. My daughter graduates from high school this month. It’s an incredibly busy time for her full of “lasts” and preparations for “firsts.”
For my part it has prompted introspection. How can I possibly direct her, and the countless students that look to me for advice? What decisions did I make back then that brought me to today? Would I do anything differently if I could?
I am a fan of Maria Popova’s blog “Brain Pickings”. You may know of Maria from her writings for Wired and The New York Times. I highly recommend you follow her weekly posts on Brain Pickings.
Yesterday, I stumbled upon an old, but particularly meaningful blog post of hers called Fail Safe: Debbie Millman’s Advice on Courage and the Creative Life featuring Debbie Millman
Debbie Millman? I subscribe to her podcasts Design Matters! Over the past six years she has interviewed nearly every notable designer in her weekly interviews.
If she had advice on the creative life, I had to read it.
I learned from the post that Ms. Millman, author of Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits and How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer had given the 2013 commencement address to San Jose State University. How timely! As it turned out, the advice she offered was as relevant to me as it would be to my daughter.
In it, she says that success in life is really about the strength of one’s imagination.
“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.”
I encourage you to listen to the full address on SoundCloud. and see the well designed excerpts of this section of her book Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design,on the Brain Pickings blog.
But most of all I encourage you, as I am my daughter, to follow Ms. Millman’s advice. “Imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time.”