One of the best ways to learn is by doing, even if you don’t know how. Want to design or create something? Just start by doing 1 small thing at a time. Breaking it down into parts and then find the resources and the means to make it happen. It sounds so simple when you put it that way. But if you apply yourself through making, designing and learning, you’ll pick up the necessary skills to create the things that you want. The second best way is find someone who's done it and learn from them. Model them, use them as a benchmark, study under them or ask them questions if possible. Now if you zoom out, the same principles and mindset can be applied to your life and career. Whether you want a pay-rise, a more meaningful job, to run your own business, start your side hustle, or to be happier and healthier etc. When you are purposeful and deliberate with your practice – great things can happen in a relatively short period of time. It might take you days, months or years depending on how big your aspirations are but eventually it’ll manifest itself. If you have a great curriculum and am consistent with your practice and execution, there’s not much stopping you apart from your own motivations.
Note: Building your own curriculum is about sourcing information and learning on your own terms. It's about building from areas of interest and of high value to you - via books, videos, blogs, courses, podcasts, articles, mentors etc. and then implementing from that information.
Over the last 3 years I’ve been experimenting with this very idea of building a curriculum for a life that I’ll enjoy and am currently enjoying. I started creating the things that I wanted to make and see in the world. Concurrently I also started reading more and started modelling various people and companies who were doing the things that I wanted to be doing. People and companies that I resonated with. People who were a few steps ahead, to companies who were leaps and bounds ahead. I took little nuggets of wisdom and inspiration via blogs, books, podcasts, videos, courses - for health, emotional wellbeing, business building, design, marketing, running startups etc. I had invested and created a curriculum for a life and design career that I’d enjoy.
Then I started acting on it. Now my vision may be different to yours, but the resources and the means for you to design a life that’s fucking awesome is available to you. There’s someone out there doing what you want to do. Find them. And then find others to piece all the best dots of wisdom together, to maximise your potential. To be the best version of you and not someone else. To do things that align with your values and your beliefs.
It’s not a easy path or a perfect world though. There will be curveballs along the way, life will always throw lemons at you, shit that you don’t see coming that will put you off your game. Financial problems, health problems, or just the difficulty of change. These things have all happened to me. But if you follow your curriculum, and execute on it, even in the face of adversity -it will be the best investment you’ll make. Financially, spiritually and emotionally. I’ve been deep diving on Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris - learning lessons, frameworks and wisdom from the world's best. I don’t have any aspirations to be a billionaire, a high performance athlete, or a high profile CEO or any of those things - That life seems stressful. But there are little nuggets of wisdom that I can relate to and utilise from people who’ve operated at the highest level in their respective fields. My overall goal is to help people, live a relatively simple life, make cool stuff, make good money doing it and for the people who know me and interact with me to think “hey that guy's a good dude”.
When I started this blog I had no fucking idea what I was doing. I didn’t really write much before this, but thought I’d learn while I do it. And sure enough in the last 2 years I’ve learnt a shit ton. And it has become easier to publish and write articles.
Fun fact: it took me 3 months on and off to write 1 of my first articles. Trying to get things perfect can be crippling, better to ship fast and often.
I also knew nothing about launching small products from the ground up. So I dove head first into that. Over this period of time I’ve learnt about launching products, audience building, creating a community, marketing, and just about being consistent/productive (I’m severely lazy, so I’ve hacked myself by setting a schedule and routine of good habits) This is what I wrote nearly 2 years ago as a manifesto for this blog.
1. Help share knowledge about design, freelancing and the design industry.
2. Build an audience by being honest, transparent and help others by sharing resources and knowledge.
3. Build a personal brand and create a second stream of income that is independent from client work. More time to experiment and create things people can use and also learn from.
4. Have an outlet to voice my opinions.
5. To create a challenge for myself as complacency leads to mediocrity.
2 years have gone by so quick, and I’ve accomplished and been true to this manifesto. It still rings true today as the day I wrote it. I’ve gotten many wonderful messages and emails from the people I’ve helped. Over that time I’ve made ~$140k from the Process Masterclass which I launched a little under a year ago. And soon to be Source. (I also consult and freelance on top this). I’ll probably be on track to hit $1million annually in a few more years, as the audience grows and as I make more interesting things. (Which I'll openly share all my lessons and journey with you) More important than just the money is how I make my money. It's about building an ethical business and building it on my terms. Not one riddled with stress and doing things I'm not passionate about for a quick buck. I want to be able to provide value, help others, make cool shit that excites me, run something that keeps me learning and still be able spend time with my family. The bottom line is happiness and freedom. Those are my 2 north stars. Everything I do revolves around this. Every once in awhile I’ll pause and reflect to make sure I’m still enjoying what I’m doing. I’ve had to change a few things, so it’s ok to take action and to follow a curriculum but remember to pause and think about what you are doing it all for. Don't lose sight of that.
Action item: What could you have started today that will pay off exponentially in 2 years, both financially and for your quality of life. Start investing in that. Build a curriculum around that and all the things you’ll do to get there.
I learnt all this by just doing and giving it a go. The life you want to have already exists, you just have to reverse engineer it, by building your own curriculum of what matters to you.Take the parts that resonate with you and run with it. You are inquisitive because you are reading this - I am one small voice in a sea of others that will help you on your way to a purposeful life and design career. It's about your journey - there is a wealth of information out there just waiting for you to join the dots. The life I want may be different to yours so find your own curriculum. What impact do you want to leave on the world? What is happiness to you? What kind of work do you want to create? Who inspires you? Answer these questions and then design a curriculum around that and for you to take action on. Invest your time in blogs, books, videos, courses and mentors. I sincerely wish to be that 1 small piece to help you on your journey, in a sea of other wonderful influences. Build a purposeful curriculum that you can learn from and start taking action now.