All the greatest successes that we can tally, either of or own doing or of those that are famous (e.g. the iPhone), are not because of constant success, but of consistent failures.

We all want to be perfect. But perfection comes with strings of heartbreaks and disappointments. These are what we call failures. And, failure is not a bad thing that the word connotes. It’s the interesting thing that comes between those failures that counts toward success. It’s the things we learn from failure to failure. It seems the universe keeps a running tally of what we learn between failures that points us in the right direction towards successes. But, we have to be open to those failures. And, failure is good and what we learn from failures counts towards success–a much better way to look at our lives and our accomplishments.

In the design world, there is a reason why a concept works and why a concept doesn’t work. Success and failure are the same. Don’t confuse the lessons learned. Failure is just our sub-conscious pointing us in the right direction. So don’t get discouraged and don’t dwell. Keep working towards success.

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.


Lessons From a Bonsai Tree

Months ago I was given the honor of planting and caring for a bonsai tree. After working the soil and trimming the leaves and unnecessary branches, I took it home and found a place for it to flourish.

Each day, I watered it; talked to it; touching and caring for its leaves. Days and weeks went by before I found a little sign of growth after the initial shock of planting and trimming. This was a glorious day for it had been months in the making.

This little tree has taught me an incredible lesson in patience, cultivation, and perseverance. I saw myself differently in my role as a teacher. I’ve learned to understand the correlation between teaching and caring for a bonsai tree.

With new design students, I must immerse them into the soil of the world of design and trim away anything unnecessary to their true design growth. Each week of lecturing is similar to the watering and caring for their growth–it’s this perseverance and trust that you hope to see leaves of design growth.

Additionally, as a student, you have to trust you find the nurturing you need in order to cultivate your skills. Until you start having that growth can you reach out and find your direction. Until those leaves of skills grow, let the process happen and concepts will make sense and one day you may find yourself cultivating your own bonsai trees.