Follow your curiosity

One recurring theme throughout my career and my life is that I’ve always followed my curiosity. I think when we are young we are a lot more creative, a lot more daring, carefree and less weighed down by other people's opinions. Everything is a visceral experience both exciting and new. Everyday I see my son Theo who turned one recently, learn something new. He’s processing information and exploring continuously. Learning from his mistakes - as he builds on new skills, like sitting, crawling and even understanding. I see how he smiles and laughs sincerely at the world around him. His sincerity and curiosity is something that I think we should all hold on to. As we grow up, we begin to get confined by society's expectations and standards. Sit down and stay put. Stay in line. Stay in your lane. Don’t do anything stupid and make a fool out of yourself. Don’t be a loser. Don’t fail. So we become jaded and we get scared of the smallest things like public speaking. When in reality it is not something that can even physically hurt us.

Somewhere along the way we get chipped away from this curiosity and this desire to really notice the world around us. To take a chance and try new things that can make us grow, and help us find fulfilment. Even if it seems hard, or scary we should at least try. Instead we stay in our lanes and we put blinders on and go about our business. And things are just the way they are.  Perhaps it’s mental wiring, but I’ve always noticed the world around me. For most of my life I have been pretty self aware and curious. I’ve followed my intuition and curiosity. And it’s this curiosity that has taken me to very unexpected places, pushed my comfort zones and helped me discover my passions over the years. I think we need to take notice and try a lot of different things to know what we really want in life. Whenever I lost sight of this curiosity, I become stagnant and just going through the motions of everyday life blandly without any vigour, or zest. 

Curiosity, learning, growing and having fun. From the lego blocks, to being the best drawer in my class when I was 10 years old (like that was some sort of badge of honour haha), to the defunct games company my buddies and I tried to set up when we were 15. Naive optimism how glorious it was – none of us knew how to design, how to code, but we thought it’d be a good idea, and that we’d make thousands through sponsors somehow. That naive ambition was electric. To being excited about the internet. To getting into digital art. And becoming obsessed with it. I’d spend 8 hour days just noodling around, because I loved it. To trying to make a failed million dollar idea on the internet when I was 19. I made $25 in total but learnt a lot of lessons. To getting into web, design and carving a career out of it for 10 years. To now growing my own business and finally to landing here and writing to you. When I look back I can connect the dots and realise “oh that’s how I landed here”. I’ve made a very good living with design. And sure there were a ton of hard moments and obstacles, but when I look back the best moments are when I chased my curiosity, learnt new things and made the most of opportunities that presented themselves. For most of my career my work has never really felt like work. It was just a lot of play that built into a valuable skill that could help other people. A set of skills that were valuable and in demand. 

So why am I writing this? Because I know everyone has their own story. Their own struggles, obligations, and hurdles that they have to cross. That maybe they feel the time for curiosity has passed them by. But it’s not the case. The next time you see and register something that looks interesting. Jump at it. Do it. Because the more things you try it will be easier to find what makes you tick. Maybe it’s survivorship bias. But this mindset of growing, trying and being curious are things that have lead to a fulfilling career and life. I still have tons more to learn, grow and experience. But that curiosity and ‘fuck it I’m going to try it’ attitude leads us to find things that made us tick. Maybe you’re a designer but you’ve always wanted to do this side project. Go for it! Maybe you want to land a product design job, because you aren’t pumped about what you are doing anymore. Go for it! If you are phoning it in everyday, just going through the motions, take a look around you and make opportunities happen.

Success is occurs when we can find something that we can obsess about for 5 years, 10 years, 25 years or even our lifetime. For me I have found those things that make me tick. Through trial and error, and allowing my curiosity to take over. And that’s design, art, business, music, family, tennis, health and for a period of time (street fighter). Pretty broad topics that everyone likes right? But every topic has an ungodly amount of information for me to explore and be curious about. At any give moment if you slice my life I am paying attention to one of those areas. That’s it. I’m forever curious within that web. Learning something new almost daily. Applying something new. Progressing. Living and building these passions into a life that is meaningful and purposeful. Something that can sincerely make me happy and hopefully bring value to others. To smile and be wholeheartedly excited about the world, like my son Theo and how he looks at the world. 

I wish to be forever curious.