"The most important thing is to be able to enjoy your life without being fooled by things."
This morning I was crossing the intersection of Denny and Broad, and the truck heading towards me wouldn't stop. It wasn't until my eyes met the driver's gaze that he hit the brakes. Otherwise, he would have mowed me down.
Catching my breath, I couldn't shake from my mind the following thought: He wasn't even there until he saw me.
Just as when I'm in a meeting, or talking with a friend, or driving myself to work, or reading my news feed on Facebook, my mind regularly wanders off on a tangent, taking my everyday awareness with it. It's like my head is just a balloon tethered to my body by a thin red ribbon. When this happens, I lose the ability to understand what people really mean when they want to communicate with me.
This is very problematic, since some of the most important traits of a designer -- and by extension, a human being -- are as follows: to listen, to accept, and to understand.
You listen attentively because you don't know all the answers. As we get older, we increasingly understand how little we have a capacity to know.
You accept what you are being told because it's another person's point of view, no matter whether you agree with it or not.
You understand the essential feelings that your clients need you to express at a fundamental human level. This happens on a plane beyond language, and we attempt to distill those feelings through our practice into tangible things. And we can never afford to be fooled by them. You are not your work.