Possibly not evening for you but as of currently it is 19.59, Monday 26th September and I am finally writing a blog post about this topic. remember as soon as my experience had finished I thought to myself "I have to write a blog post about this", but here we are, five days later, finally getting around to it.
The 'this' in question was a fantastic presentation I saw at the Olympia in Kensington London, for 100% Design 2016. I had decided at the last minute I was going to attend at least one of the events for the London Design Festival and had a single day off in that hectic week so I thought let's take a day trip to London. This decision was so impulsive that I planned my itinerary for what I was going to do when I got down there on the train down there. I would not this method as two events I thought I would have the opportunity to attend started the day after. Crap. It was only by a stroke of luck the final event on the list was due to begin on the 21st of September - 100% Design. The preparation went as follows -
1. Book a student ticket
2. Print said ticket
3. Quick scribble in notebook 'go see talks: Designer. Maker. User & Not just a product: brand-building in unexpected ways'
4. Go to Kensington Olympia.
...and that was the plan. As I said, a fairly unorganised plan I would not normally recommend, but a plan all the same.
Admittedly, I hadn't heard much about 100% Design, which is slightly embarrassing because it is a bit of a designer hub, so I didn't know really what to expect but I was excited to see a list of talks that were going to happen. I was particularly drawn to the one that mentioned branding as I had spent a lot of the summer firming up the ethos of my brand CHESYGN. I thought I would learn the tips and tricks of starting a brand and in some ways I did, but I found one speaker spoke to me on a personal level about a subject unrelated to what I had originally attended for. His name was Nick Finney and he gave the most unique, scatty and nervous presentation I had even seen.
That description makes it sound pretty awful - but hear me out.
He started off by stating to the audience that he was a coward and told us about some of his traits that are normally depicted as negative. It made me think of some of mine: scatty, nervous, emotional, over-sensitive. Traits I have often wished I didn’t have. However, he explained, nervously and stumbling over his words, how he utilized those traits and made them positive. This made me rethink my traits.
Could being scatty just be a way of showing enthusiasm?
Could nervousness just be a way of finding courage?
Could emotional and sensitive just be caring and empathetic?
He quickly flicked through a series of images at a ‘Tyler-Durden-Fight-Club-subliminal-messaging’ speed over some of the incredible pieces he had created in his design career and began to slow down and talk more fluently about what was clearly one of his proudest achievements: Creative Courage.
‘Creative Courage is NB’s mantra; a rallying cry, a touchstone, a catalyst. It’s also a platform for a series of talks, events and activities.’ - http://www.creativecourage.co.uk/home
Creative Courage was originally an eccentric musical spectacle to show the importance of the relationship between the client and the designer and focused around the “anatomy of the pitch”. It shows how things can go wrong but when you care and believe in an idea your true intension and passions for that idea will, ultimately, shine through. That not everything has to be planned to the T with pin point precision and there is room for error. At least that’s how I read it.
It then became clear as he spoke more that his seemingly irregular methods of presenting were intentional and added to the message he and his brand were trying to send. This same irregularity is the one I have seen when I scribble a ‘lightbulb’ idea on the closest thing to me. The same tumbling-over-my-words voice I have used when presenting a project which I am excited to reveal to my audience. The same unpredictable instinct I used when I decided to take the trip to London, to the show and to the talk that day. The same ‘go for it’ attitude I took when I decided I wanted to take another year in study.
Then he said something I really needed to here: ‘assumption is the mother of all fucks ups’
And you know what? He was right.
Some of the most successful decisions I have made in my life have been made leaving assumption at the door. However, I normally make these decisions and later on think ‘was that the right way to go’ and often fear whether I’ve screwed it all up for myself.
‘There is no such thing as courage without fear. If there’s no fear, you don’t care’
The thing I loved most about this presentation was its rawness. The acceptance that he had his faults and his fears but without them he wouldn’t be standing where he was. He wouldn’t have been able to create the amazing creations, without the not-so-amazing ones. When you start to step out of your comfort zone and design with creative courage, you are taking a gamble. A gamble for the greater good that will lead to bigger and better achievements than you would have even had been able to accomplish in your neat, comfortable bubble.
I want to leave on that note and that message. This will be a message I take though me through the next 53 weeks starting tomorrow. I will accept when I am fearful and not punish myself for being so. I will not step back and accept that I can only do this because I am comfortable doing it and have done it before. I will take the gambles, experience new experiences and explore a new side to myself and my design.
I hope you have a wonderful morning, afternoon, evening, whenever you are reading this. It is now 21.36 for me. I hope you found something within this post that relates personally to you and may consider the possibility of being a little more courageous.
looking for me?