As a college professor, I was teaching a class to senior design students and I asked one of them, who was graduating soon in web design, to view his portfolio. To my shock, the student had only designed 3 websites during his three years of college. That is only one website a year! That is not acceptable. I explained to my student that when he interviews for his first job out of college, his future employer is going to ask: How many websites have you built? When he answers that he has only designed 3, the interview might be over. I further explained that his future employers will expect a designer to create an entire website in a matter of days. The student complained how difficult it was to create an entire working website and admitted that only 2 of the 3 sites were complete. I asked the class in general how many completed websites did they have in their portfolio right now. The response was disappointing as well. I asked the students: How could you sit here for 3 years and only design 3 websites?
Hack Your Craft: Learn with the Power of 10.
In any field, you have to learn your craft. How are you going to learn your craft if you do not practice it? Imagine a lawyer who only accepts 3 cases a year. What kind of a lawyer would that be? - A bad one! Would you want to go to a dentist that only saw 3 patients a year? - Of course not! Would you want to be operated on by a doctor who has only done the procedure 3 times? – No way! The Doctor might accidentally leave a tool behind. I told the students that need to leave school having designed at least 10 websites. Why 10? The simple truth is that they needed to design 10 websites because of the learning processes that happen when you design the 10 websites. You will learn things during the design process they cannot be taught out of a book. You learn to troubleshoot problems that occur and you find the creative inspiration from the universe. In my logo design classes, I have the students draw 10 thumbnail sketches before they even touch the computer in order to create their new brand identity. Students always complain about this saying that this is too difficult; it is just too many sketches – it is a waste of time. To the contrary, it is the best use of their time! -There is power in 10! I told my web design students, that their first 3 websites would not be good. You are just aiming for functionality. During the process of building those first 3 websites, you will learn the basics of web design. You will make many mistakes and you will learn how to solve basic problems during the design process. Take that newly acquired knowledge and keep designing. When you have designed 5 websites, you will have achieved proficiency in using the design tools. You will be able to create a website with confidence because of the skills you've learned in designing those 5 websites. Add that knowledge to your skill set and keep designing. By the time you have designed and launched 7 websites, you will have reached mastery in your design. Remember, that when you build 3 - you will be functional. When you build 5 - you will be proficient. When you build 7 - you will have mastered the design process. And when you have completed your last 3 websites to round out the 10, you will realize that magic happens during the design and building of those last 3 websites. Since you have achieved first functionality, proficiency, and then mastery of your craft, you can now create something outstanding - your very own masterpiece! I explained to the students that those 3 websites that they will create - Numbers 8, 9, and 10 will be the portfolio pieces that will land them a job.
Using the Power of 10: Life Hack for Learning
The power of 10 holds true in many other areas as well. If you are a salesperson, a make 10 sales calls a day. If you want to learn how to bake a cake, bake 10 cakes. I guarantee you will know how to bake a cake well, after you bake cake number 10. If you want to be a marathoner, Run 10 races. If you want to learn how to code, code 10 projects. If you want to be an app designer, Build 10 apps. If you want to learn to play the guitar, Learn 10 songs. If you want to learn how to paint, paint 10 pieces. There is power in 10! If you want to contact someone, it can be anyone; you only need to make 10 phone calls. You can reach the President of the United States with 10 phone calls. You can reach anyone in the world with 10 phone calls! If you want to learn something, or find something out, or do some research, make 10 phone calls. Make 10 sales calls today. –There is power in 10!
Hacking the Power of 10: Practice Makes Perfect
During the learning process it's important to remember that repetition and practice hold absolutely true. Malcolm Gladwell in his book: Outliers, The Story of Success, described a level of mastery and proficiency that comes after 10,000 hours of work in your craft. That is absolutely something that is true. During your learning process, if you can focus on the fact that you need to build design create 10 of whatever that you are going to do, you will learn whatever craft or skill you are seeking. Learning new things is difficult…it's supposed to be. You learn in the process. There is great learning that happens with the power of 10! If you are an entrepreneur, build 10 businesses. Your first couple of businesses might not succeed, however, after you have built 10 businesses you will be working in the area of mastery so much higher than you would have thought possible, how could the business not succeed? If you want to be a real estate investor, buy 10 properties. I guarantee that after purchasing your 10th property, you will be a wise investor. If you want to be a blogger, write 10 posts. If you want to import products, import 10 products. If you want to be a filmmaker, make 10 films. If you want to work in advertising, create 10 ads. If you want to be a writer, write 10 stories. There is power in 10! During the process you'll learn things that you would have never learned from simply observing someone else or learning it from a book.
–There is power in 10. There is power in committing to do this. There is power in the repetitive process of learning.
Challenge yourself today to commit to use the power of 10 in some area of your life. Maybe it's making 10 phone calls, maybe it's writing 10 emails, maybe it's completing 10 sets of exercises, and maybe it's building 10 things. You will surprise yourself at the depth of the mastery of your craft if you practice and harness the power of 10.
PHOTO CREDIT: Elliot Brown, Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
This Might Sting a Little, But You Will Thank Us When It's All Over.: 5 Pieces of Bad News A Graphic Designer Hates to Tell to Clients, But Has to Anyway
1. We are not done yet.
We need time to craft your work. We need time to mull over the creative challenge on the project. Let us do our work.
2. This idea wont work.
We have seen this idea before. It did not work before. You think it will work now because you are more special than those who came before you. We disagree.
3. Your branding stinks.
The reason that you are not getting any business is because you have an awful brand presence. Period. No amount of polish will help.
4. Your deadline is impossible.
Not on the budget you gave us, anyway. Help us, help you. Be realistic and we will be brilliant.
5. The project cost has increased.
Perhaps the deadline is impossible. See number 4. More likely that you have ordered changes midway through completion.
Please try to remember that we are on your side - the side that says no to mediocrity - the side of magnificent work.
“Only with absolute fearlessness can we slay the dragons of mediocrity that invade our gardens.”
― George Lois
Photo Credit: Abe Novy via Flickr