How I became a better designer after starting to be more grateful

Let’s talk about being grateful. For those who know a little bit about me, I’m one of those people that doesn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. They’ve always kind of come off as a thing that everyone does that builds up a lot of unnecessary pressure.

Usually by this time of year, almost everybody is has given up on their resolutions. I’m the type of the person who when I see a change that I need to make, I just do it.

In October of last year I did just that. I decided that I wanted to keep a gratitude journal. I wanted to become a more positive, more grateful person. I wasn’t a big Debbie Downer. I simply wanted to become a more positive person.

While I expected some changes, what was interesting was seeing the impact that it made on me as a graphic designer. It’s one of those things that you never think about. Often you get a project, job or task, you don’t take into account how you feel.

I found that by being more grateful, I was changing my approach to my projects and even communicating and selling my work better. I began to notice was how less cynical I was of my work.

I’m one who loves to poke a little bit of fun at myself. Sort of like Bob Uecker. I take things seriously, but I don’t like to take things too seriously.

However, there’s a fine line that goes from poking fun at me or other things in can quickly turn into cynicism. You you start to pick out the bad and things, or start to make fun of things because you’re you’re not liking them. You stop appreciating them it starts to creep up on you. 

I often think back to Conan O’Brien hosting his last Tonight Show. He talked about how he doesn’t like cynicism. It resonated with me at the time, but I didn’t think about it the way I needed to. But without warning, I started to become that person.

One of the things that I appreciated about this exercise was how I even began looking at the kind of work that I was doing. I started looking at how I can use my craft and how I could start doing more good with it. A lot of people are in this spot right now, as there’s been a lot of negativity going on in the world.

There’s a lot of people out there who need help. There’s some help we can’t assist with using design. But there’s a lot of voices out there that that need the help that we can provide as a designer.

I know how to take a voice and amplify it through creativity. It’s one of those things, as I was filling out this gratitude journal every day, that I never stopped and thought about. That said, it’s something that’s become more top of mind for me.

This is something I want to focus on moving forward. What can I do with my talent for others? How can I take this, and allow it to benefit others who need it?

I don’t know how many listeners here are doing anything like this. But if you haven’t already, I suggest you try using a gratitude journal. I downloaded an app on my phone, but this could even be a simple piece of paper with today’s date and something you’re grateful for next to it.

You may appreciate the change. You might notice a difference if you can keep this up for two or three weeks. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Maybe you’ll even learn something new about yourself!

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