First step to being good is knowing you suck

When I first started in graphic design I met this guy who wanted me to do a logo for him. At the age of 23 my ego was bigger than that of an ignorant 21 year old (the pinnacle age of ignorance of ones ability). I was honest and admitted to myself that I haven’t done many logos before and the the ones I have done wasn’t very good. But I’m not the young 22 anymore, I have six months of experience now! Plus I would put all my energy and ability into it so it will be awesome.

After several days I came up with many concepts and I had one that was particularly clever and I was quite proud of my awesome skills. I have pulled it off! When I gleefully presented to him the concepts, he politely told me that it all sucked. And I politely told him to F off, well I wasn’t so polite.

My work sucked so much it didn’t take long even with my testosterone enhance delusion of my ability to realize that it really did suck. No matter who you are and what you do, when you start at something you will suck! According to Malcolm Gladwell in Outlier all masters in their industry took 10,000 hours of practice to get to where they are. And all greats will agree. Watch the interview with Ira Glass below and you’ll fully understand.

Often I work with graphic designers who due to the lack of experience produces something that is not the greatest. Not that they don’t have the ability or the potential, just because they lack experience, the idiosyncrasy of communicating visually. I would tell them the weak areas and some would get offended. I would feel bad but then I would get offended myself, I would think “How arrogant to think you can achieve greatness with so little sweat and dues, it is a disrespect for all the greats who have dedicated decades of their life into designing.”

For those that end up becoming great in their field, they all have to put in the hours. There are no shortcuts. For myself I have not gotten to 10,000 hours yet, I have gone a long way from my early days but I am excited to see what kind of work I will be producing once I hit the 10,000 hours mark and join the club of the elites.

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  • All Women Stalker

    Wow… A very good lesson to learn 🙂 I've been a graphic designer for 2 years now… I still suck sometimes… or most of the time hahaha!