On Failure: How The Worst Moments In Your Life Can Turn Out To Be The Best
In early 2003, Debbie Millman discovered a weblog for the very first time. The “blog” covered graphic design and branding, and though she had never heard of blogs before, she excitedly dove into the content and unexpectedly came face to face with an article disparaging her entire career to date. This experience—in tandem with a number of historical rejections and setbacks—sent Millman into a deep despair, and she seriously considered leaving the design profession altogether.
In a series of poignant, revealing and sometimes hysterical anecdotes, Debbie will share her journey out of despair and degradation and offer insight on how the worst moments in your life can actually become the most profound and life affirming.
AIGA Las Vegas and the Las Vegas – Clark County Library District and Library Foundation will present Debbie Millman in the Clark County Library Main Theater at 1401 East Flamingo on January 25, 2013. Reception at 6 p.m. Program at 7 p.m.
Debbie Millman is a writer, educator, artists, brand consultant and host of the radio show Design Matters. For this special engagement, she will discuss failure and how the worst moments of your life can turn out to the best thing that ever happened.
This event is open to the public and seating is limited. Please R.S.V.P. online to ensure accommodations.
ArtsVegas had the opportunity to ask Debbie a few questions in advance of the event:
ArtsVegas: You seem to be quite busy between authoring books, Design Matters, teaching, and professional work. How do you keep it all in balance? Are there any tools that you use to manage your time?
DM: I get asked this question a lot. A couple of things–I am very single-minded and pretty much "work" all the time. But I don't see it as "work" in the traditional sense–I see it as joy. I love what I do and I feel so privileged to be doing everything I do, so it is really quite a lot of fun for me. Also, I have been called a "finisher." I tend to finish what I start, so it is easier to keep track of things! Finally, I truly think that busy is a decision. People use "being too busy" as an excuse not to do something all the time. But what they are really saying is that whatever it is they are too busy to do is something that they don't consider a priority. Whenever I find myself saying "I'm too busy to do that," I quickly realize that I probably just don't really want to do it! Humans choose to do what they want to do, and if they are really truly too busy to do something, but want to do it anyway, I guarantee they will find a way to do it.
I don't use any special tools to manage my time–in fact I am really old school–I still use a paper calendar!!!!
Can you offer any advice to creatives just starting out on how to develop their voice?
PRACTICE! I recently had a student lament that they were discouraged from blogging by the lack of response they were getting. When I asked how long she had been blogging, I fully expected her to say, "Oh a year or two." Instead, she replied that she had been blogging for "about a month!" I couldn't believe it! It has taken me 15 years to develop any sort of voice, and that 15 years came another 15 years after working without one. Finding your true, authentic voice is one of the hardest undertakings an artist can embark upon and my guess is that the second you believe you have a fully formed voice, it is very likely you will need to find a new song.
What has inspired you in the past year, either design-wise or in general?
Maria Popova's website BrainPickings.org is a daily treasure trove of utter inspiration, and I was really inspired by the re-election of President Obama.
ArtsVegas: Covering Las Vegas Art and culture since 2009.