Finding Your Mindset
Your mindset, this is how do you actually get into the space, the mind space, to make this happen, to brand yourself? And when I talk about branding yourself, I really mean positioning yourself in the marketplace so that you can get what you want. Your mindset is the most important thing. I have found that we, ourselves, tend to undermine what is possible for what is possible. The same way that I stood there on the corner of Bleecker and Sixth and said, "I don't think could fulfill any of my dreams. "I just need to make sure I can pay my rent "and take care of myself and forget all the other things, "cos that's all I could possibly do." We edit and censor what is possible for our lives before it's even possible. And I see this all the time with my students. I ask them what do you want to be? What do you want to ... If you could do anything at all, what would you do? And they often have all these excuses about why they can't do what they really want to do. And, therefore, then start dow...
n this path in their 20s of self-censorship, because they don't believe it's possible. But nobody believes it's possible, or very few people believe it's possible. I think Mark Zuckerberg thought it was possible. (students laugh) One of the things that I learned when I was interviewing designers and how to think like a great graphic designer, was that, aside from Milton Glaser and Massimo Vignelli, all of the other great graphic designers, Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher, Michael Bierut, Emily Oberman, Carin Goldberg, they all said the same thing, independently, in separate interviews that I did with them, that they woke up every day and still wondered if they could do it. They didn't wake up thinking, "Isn't it just great to be me today?" The only people that really did do that were Milton Glaser and Massimo Vignelli, and when I interviewed them both, they were in their 80s and I think, by the time you're in your 80s, one would hope that at that point you're like, "Awesome, glad to be alive today!" (laughs) So the point here is that we self-sabotage. We self-sabotage our own possibilities by just assuming that they're not possible. So think about what you want in your heart. One of the things that I do with my students, and this is something that I learned from Milton Glaser, I took a summer intensive class with him at SVA 12 years ago and in that class, he asked us to imagine what our lives would be five years from then if we could do anything, no limits. Aside from winning lotto, which, you know, is a little bit hard to predict. What could you do? And the idea, once you take those shackles off, of what is possible, is really powerful. And so I want you to consider doing something like that on your own time. Think about, if you could do anything you want, if you could imagine a day five years from now, or 10 years from now, where you wake up in the place you want to wake up, with the person who you love next to you and your dog's nearby or your kid's in the next room, or whatever it is that makes your heart sing. Imagine what that is and write out that entire day, from the minute you wake up til the minute you go to sleep. No censorship. What happens? Hold that close to you. I have had my students doing this now for years, and coming out of Milton's class, I share the anecdotes that we've all experienced since doing that exercise. Where, in just the declaration alone, of acknowledging what it is you want, helps you begin a path to get there. Because we so frequently keep what we really want even a mystery to ourselves. And if we keep it a mystery to ourselves, there's virtually no way it's going to happen. So the idea that you could think about what you want, and it's a really hard exercise, I have students all the time coming to me, pulling their hair out saying, "This is too hard. "I can't do it. "It's too many choices to make." Great, it should be hard. If it was easy, it would be easy. That's one of the things that I'll talk about later. So I want you to think about your mindset and I want you to think about what it is you are actually not thinking about and begin to consider, even just consider, the possibilities ... About what the possibilities are.