inaction every time.
– Harry Truman
“I have an incredible trust that things will work out. If I lose that, they won’t. I think that trust is one of the biggest, most important things you need when living a creative, courageous life, because at the end of the day, you have to believe that things will work out in some way. It might not be the way that you planned, but something else will come in its place.”
-Tina Roth Eisenberg found here (ps! tons of great creative-business quotes in the article – quick, thoughtful read!)
Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been incommunicado for so long! School has been so busy and inspiring and exciting, and I just couldn’t pull myself away. Anyway, here’s a great treat of a quote by Tina The Great (Tina the Magnificent is Tina Fey, so…). I hope you are all having a happy Christmas, where ever you are, whatever your diet, beliefs, jobs or hairstyles. :)
Beauty is embarrassing.
“I always thought about, in early life, our objective, certainly people in the design profession, is to look professional, and to feel professional…. and you wanted to have that veneer and that sense of authority… and it was all we really wanted to do – you come out of school and you want your work to look like these marvellously slick, professional things that were in the world…”
“And then at a certain point, you reach professional level, and your work looks like that, and you realize its not enough. That merely, getting to a point where your work looks good enough to be called professional is just the starting point.”
“…as a metaphor… when you start to learn how to draw… you are so overwhelmed with the difficulty with making things look like what they are… and you almost die trying to control your nerve endings so that the object looks like its supposed to, and you spend years doing that. And then finally you get to the point when you finally draw something that looks like what they are.”
“And then you discover, that’s not the point. That being able to draw something that looks like something, is nothing. That that is only the starting point. Now you have to ask yourself, how do I make a good drawing, or an expressive drawing, or a drawing that means something. Because the ability to only make it accurate, is actually a low-level ability. Even though its taken you years to get to that point, its not very relevant. But there’s no other way to get there.
“The same thing is true of your work. You sort of strive to make it look good, and make it look as good as your peers, and make it looks as good as the other stuff in the “Art Directors Annual”, and so on. And then at a certain point if you continue and persevere, you realize that’s not good enough. You have to go beyond that level, in order to engage that other thing, which is true expressive content, true meaning.”
-Milton Glaser, Design Matters
A metaphor that, I think, applies to all aspects of work, and anyone who wants to be truly great at what they do.
“If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.”
David Foster Wallace, commencement speech 2005, Kenyon College
“Education gives us awareness.”
This week I watched and listened to this video of David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech for the graduating class at Kenyon College. The speech was later published as a book, entitled “This is Water”, and a videos of the speech went viral days after its initial posting. In the speech Wallace focuses on real life after college and what education really means to him: the freedom to be able to choose what has meaning and what doesn’t. It is really worth a watch. Its stuck in my head, and I can’t get it out, and its uncomfortable there for some reason, but I don’t want to get it out.
The original animation that I watched of this was recently deleted, but here’s a recording of the original audio:
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“‘Learning how to think’ really means learning how to exercise control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from that experience.”
“If you really learn how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred. On fire with the same force that lit the stars.”
“The only thing that’s capital-t True, is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of real education. Of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.”
“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in a myriad of petty, unsexy ways every day.
The alternative is unconscious.”
Also, while on the subject, here’s an article about David Wallace, a great American writer, on my favorite brainpickings.