Saturday, August 18, 2012

Culture, Society, Self & Nature

Ken Sanes

The books and essays in Transparency offer a general theory of human nature, representation and society, based on the idea that all of us have a basic desire to mature beyond the limitations imposed on us by four sources -- our own psychodynamics, the neurotic dynamics of culture, the misuse of power in society, and the limits imposed by the physical world. Put another way, the site is based on the idea that all of us have within us a primal awareness that we exist in a fallen state and in a state of exile from the better selves, society and world we know should exist.

Transparency describes the way the creations of culture express and disguise this awareness of the human condition. It examines the products of contemporary culture -- including TV news, political rhetoric, advertising, movies, situation comedies, science fiction, and theme parks -- to show how they reveal and conceal our desire to re-create our selves and society in the image of the unfallen world we intuitively know should exist.

The goal is to open all of these creations to our view and understanding so we can see all of this in undisguised form. Toward that end, the site offers a technique of interpretation that reveals as many elements of fiction and nonfiction as possible. It shows the way works of fiction and nonfiction are sensory and physical objects that often include simulations; it examines the meanings and narratives they contain; and exposes the way they include disguised expressions of psychodynamics, myth and ideology and disguised images of birth, mind, society and the world. It also shows the moral claims they make and the way all are forms of action and efforts to exert power.

Ultimately, what the site discovers is that all of these elements work together in fiction and nonfiction to tell some variation on the story related above. In other words, all works of fiction and nonfiction are chapters in the larger story we keep telling ourselves about our effort to undo our fallen state. And all use various techniques to evoke aesthetic and emotional responses that put us in touch with these desires for ethical transformation and give us a momentary sense of what it would be like if our desires were realized.

One of the most important ways they do this is by letting us identify with characters who re-create themselves and society, and bring about a happy ending. Over and over we keep telling ourselves stories like this in which dangers and obstacles are overcome and the anxiety of the characters -- and the audience -- is transformed into hope. The constantly repeated happy endings that result from these transformations is the true sigh of the oppressed creature, letting us dwell in a state of wholeness and satisfaction after experiencing what it would be like to bring about an ethical transformation. But what these works evoke in us, both through the happy ending and other techniques, is only temporary. Our task is to move beyond merely acting out these desires in the invented worlds of fiction, and find a way to bring about such an ethical transformation in this world.

The site also finds that the "governing classes" in society (and everyone else) manipulate these cultural creations to play on our desires, They do so to provide us with aesthetic experiences that put us in touch with all this, but also to sell us candidates, products, and ideas. They offer us escapes from the truth, substitute satisfactions, and true and false images of emancipation and transformation.  In making all these creations transparent, we thus end up revealing the way works of fiction and nonfiction are manipulated as a form of marketing, ideology and social control, and we see the ways they can lead us toward or away from our true identities.

But this also means that, in trying to make culture transparent, we have to stand up to two kinds of power and censorship -- the power of the mind to conceal its true motives, and the power of governing classes to conceal what they are doing. In so doing, we end up revealing the way those in power play on the power of the mind to conceal essential truths.

Much of the site is concerned with the way all of this has emerged into a new level now that art, technology, computers, and mass communications allow us to create advanced forms of simulation that make the realm of imagination seem to come to life. With these creations, we can reinvent the world in the form of our stories. And that is just what we are doing, immersing ourselves in a cultural environment of simulations that are disguised to look like something authentic, and that also take the warded-off contents of the mind and disguise them to make them safe for us to consciously experience. These two forms of disguise are designed to get us to act out what is on our minds while we believe we are responding to something separate from ourselves in the world. In a sense, they induce a kind of "psychosis", immersing us in narcissistically-saturated surroundings that are a projection of our own psychodynamics.

Although this writer hasn't seen it yet, an example (based on other information) is Disney's new nature park, which immerses us in a simulation in which nature appears to be innocent, pure, and unfallen, and a font of spiritual values. Even as the park does this, it tries to evoke parenting urges in us toward nature and to encourage us to think of ourselves as benevolent nature saviors who can protect innocent animals from malevolent environmental plunderers. Thus does the park try to get us to confuse emotions and experiences induced by the artfulness of the fiction for a true perception of nature. In place of nature, which is often mindless and brutal beyond imagining, as well as being a source of wonder; in place of complex environmental issues, full of conflicting moral and practical claims and the play of political forces; and in place of our own complex motivations, full of selfishness and aggression, as well as benevolence, we are drawn into a simplified story in which we are good heroes saving good nature from evildoers.

News, political rhetoric and staged pseudo-events, advertisements, documentaries, et al, do the same things, each in their own way. Even most avowed forms of fiction, such as movies or fictional series on television are full of forms of manipulation that routinely falsify our view of ourselves and the world.

But, as noted above, these creations also play on our desires for ethical transformation, offering us visions of ourselves, society and nature as we might be in a better world. Disney's new nature park once again offers a good example because it plays on our desire to be benevolent and re-create the world in the image of our better selves. It is a fraud that, like many contemporary cultural creations, draws us into a false utopia. But it is a fraud that succeeds by evoking authentic desires that could be an engine for change if we choose to understand and act on them.

The site also examines the way this culture of sensory and psychological illusions is evoking opposition, motivated by these same desires for ethical transformation, and the way it is articulating that opposition in many of its works of fiction. Here, it examines a growing body of work in movies, television, novels and short stories in which characters escape from virtual realities and fake paradises of simulation and technology to rediscover the world of nature and their own human nature. In the movie, The Electric Horseman, for example, we see a character who stands up to corporate manipulators who use images and entertainment to sell themselves and their products. Like many such characters, he escapes a prison of illusions even as he rediscovers his authentic self. With works of fiction such as this, we are warning ourselves that we are using these new powers to become immersed in an invented world that only masquerades as the better world we desire.

The site is thus an effort to contribute to the coming to consciousness and transformation that humanity has been trying to achieve throughout history. It interprets our cultural creations to reveal the way all of this is on our minds and the way we keep trying to put it out of our minds. Its goal is to make our psychology, contemporary culture and the operations of power transparent to our view and understanding, so we will understand ourselves, resist manipulation, and learn how to separate the illusions of the mind from our perceptions of the larger world. Ultimately, it is about helping to find ways for us to separate ourselves from our regressive symbiosis with the comforting illusions of the mind and culture, so we can grow, individually and collectively, to a new level of independence and freedom.

This effort is more urgent today than ever, given the awesome new power we are achieving with science and technology. As science fiction teaches us over and over, these new powers have made it essential that we overcome the limitations of our own personalities and societies, so we will correctly use our newfound abilities as we go about the task of overcoming the limitations of nature. Put in more commonsense terms, our wisdom will have to keep pace with our power -- at least to some degree -- or science and technology could be used to turn the world into a realm of slavery, madness and death.

That is some of what the site is about. Hopefully, it offers a degree of clarity that can help create an open space of freedom as humanity goes about trying to free itself from the limitations imposed by personality, myth, society, and nature. If it is successful, it will help demonstrate the way all of these are the medium of life and everything we know as good, as well as the prison in which we are exiled.

More on Storytelling and Media
Email / What's Being Said About Transparency
© 1996-2012 Ken Sanes

Lifestyle Design – Start Living Your Life NOW

Lifestyle Design (LD) has become known as the process of building a small, yet sustainable business that yields enough money for the owner to do whatever they want without having to worry about money. But if business isn’t what you’re interested in, you should still be able to design your lifestyle…
So the HighExistence definition is as follows:
Lifestyle Design (noun) – the process of doing exactly what you want to do in life by any means necessary
Don’t get me wrong, starting a small business like a blog is probably one of the better ways to follow your passions while having no concerns about money whatsoever. But lifestyle design should not be limited to business-oriented people. After all, the entire purpose of LD is doing what you WANT, not what makes you money.
So here’s my message to you:
Doing well in school, getting into a good college, graduating, and getting a well-paying job is what is expected of you by most people in your life. BUT that does not mean you have to do it. If your dream is to be a doctor or a lawyer, that’s awesome! Go to school and follow your dream! But if your ideal life does not include you working a job from 9-5 until you retire at 65, consider the road less traveled.
Road Most Traveled: Working your ass off in school til you graduate at age 22. Working your ass off and being told what to do by people in higher positions than you for the 40 to 50 years after getting out of school. Retiring with enough money for you to actually start doing what you have always wanted to do, only to realize that you are well into old age and not as young as you used to be.
Road Less Traveled: Deciding what your passion is, what you want to spend your life doing, and then doing it. Not at age 65, not after you get a job, not even after you graduate from college. NOW.
“If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
Most people hate their jobs, which are what consume the majority of their lives. Why would anyone choose to do something they are not passionate about for the entirety of their youth and most of their adult lives? There are tons of answers to that question: money, security, fear, tradition, family pressure, social pressure, myopia, etc. But are anything of those things worth suffering your entire life doing something that you do not enjoy doing? Even if you do enjoy your job, is there not something else that you have always wanted to do, but are pushing off til a further date when __________ happens?
Newsflash: If you are reading this article, you more than likely live in a free country. That means that you can do what you WANT to do right this second. You are not required to go to college, to get a house, to get married and have kids or to drive a nice car. Again, if that is what you want, keep on chuggin’ down the road most traveled. However, if you have another dream, another passion, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “easier said than done!” I wholly agree with that. It is very difficult to drop the expectations that have been driven into your head your entire life and just do what you want. What a concept right? But what about your future? How can you just move to Spain and work on your novel or pursue (GOD FORBID!!!) art?
Q: You need to go to college and get an education, right??
Answer: College prepares you for one thing, and one thing only: Submitting a resume with your respective school’s name on it and getting a job. That is it. Nothing more. If working for someone else, working hours chosen by someone else, and getting paid the amount someone else has deemed you worthy of sounds good to you, go to college. Otherwise, skip the four years behind a desk and get on to what you truly want to do. Nothing is stopping you.
Q: How will you make money??
“Relative income is more important than absolute income.”
Answer: Worst case, you work shifts bartending in whatever location your dream resides. Or you sell your art for $5 each and live a life of sustenance. Whatever ridiculous source of income you have to supplement your dream with, or whatever low amount of money you make following your dream, at least you are doing what you want to do! Ask your parents, your friends or anyone you know if they are happy doing what they are doing. If the $70,000 a year is worth the 9-5. If a life spent pushing aside one’s dream for whatever monetary reward provided is, in fact, rewarding. Guarenteed you will hear uneasy yes’s or extremely regretful no’s. And hey, just because you are following your dream does not mean you have to be poor. The point here is that money should not be the object, your own happiness and sanity should be!
Q: How can I be sure it will work out?
“Define the worst case, accept it, and do it.”
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
“Inaction is the greatest risk of all.”
First off, life without risk is BORING. Safety is completely overrated. You only life once so why would you just settle for a life you do not want simply because what you want sounds “risky?” As the 3rd quote above suggests, isn’t it a bigger risk that once you are old and looking back on your life, you will unhappily ask yourself “What if?” Don’t regret your life.
Closing Statement: If you are settling for a life that is not what you want, you are not truly living. Do not kid yourself by saying that you will quit that job someday and follow your passion when you have enough money saved up. That means you are WASTING YOUR LIFE AWAY right now in anticipation of living later. You can do what you want right now, do not let anything, especially money, get in the way of your dream. Follow it blindly. Don’t think just do it. You will thank yourself later for not allowing yourself to throw your life away for that town house in suburbia with the Mercedes in the garage. You won’t care about that on your death bed. Too many people settle for that, don’t be one of them.
Great Websites On LD: and

How to Become a Lifestyle Designer

I’m often asked, “how can I become a lifestyle designer?”  I’m not going to focus on what that means. If you are here and have a heartbeat you probably want tons of personal freedom, unforgettable experiences, and boatloads of cash. Let’s talk about how to get that done.
Two Things You Need to Have
  1. Clarity of vision. How detailed are you willing to be about your ideal lifestyle, your business, and how you’d like others to treat you. If you prefer to be vague, let things up to others, or if you are too scared to say exactly what you want in your wallet, you won’t be a lifestyle designer. Get clear or get out.
  2. A Willingness to work. Will you challenge yourself everyday to create and build things that are valuable to yourself and others? This is different from a willingness to be employed. A rule of thumb here is the 5 hour rule. If you are willing to work on a project or craft 5+ hours a day, everyday, you are in great shape. Don’t worry if you aren’t right now, some exercises below can help.
Too much vision mixed with no willingness to work can result in shoulda-coulda-woulda atttitude. When it this mode its easy to find yourself criticizing the contribution of others (something folks who work very hard rarely dare to do!), complaining, or experiencing frustration. Often you’ll feel stuck in a job or a procrastination loop. I felt this acutely when I thought I wanted to be a songwriter– I would think about how nice it would be the kind of guy who wrote songs, but it wasn’t enough to convince me to actually do it. I was procrastinating– for years!
A willingness to work mixed with no clarity of vision makes for the economic losers. Venkateshdescribes it well: “those who have, for various reasons, made (or been forced to make) a bad economic bargain: they’ve given up some potential for long-term economic liberty (as capitalists) for short-term economic stability. Traded freedom for a paycheck in short.” This can also be a situation many freelancers find themselves in because its so easy to have your client’s vision for your time usurp your own.
I’m not saying jobs or freelancing are outright bad, not at all. It depends on the situation and your particular journey (and journey is the right word, this stuff takes time!) You can win big time in currencies that are not money, including opportunity, time, flexibility, excitement, learning, self-growth– these are all very real. The right job can be a great springboard into more personal freedom. Ask yourself about your superiors in the organization. Do you want to be where they are? Can you learn specific information and habits that are of real and lasting value. Will developing a trusting relationship with them allow you to meet your goals in the long run? If yes, you might have a good deal on your hands.
How to Improve Your Vision and Willingness to Work
I believe if you focus on improving your clarity of vision and your willingness to work you can pretty much create about any lifestyle you can imagine.
First, articulate and visualize a minutely detailed account of what your ideal day looks like. Don’t bother with conditions or restrictions. Name exactly what you want. “For dinner I eat high quality food, like organic lamb and a fresh garden salad, that makes me feel great, then I generally read for an hour and meet up with friends to talk about our businesses and the different blogs we are reading…” Where are you? How much do you sleep? What clothes do you wear? How much time do you spend writing emails? Write it down if you can. Be happy about it. Be meticulous. Lifestyle designers are not lazy thinkers. These thoughts should be exciting. Get comfortable in your new world.
Find Your 5 Hours
Picturing your ideal day isn’t enough to cut it. You also need to find a way to work in at least 5 hours of high quality creative work. This number is significant to me because I believe everyone– even those of you with jobs and kids– can create 5 hours of extra time every single day. Without a huge amount of working capital (and oftentimes even with working capital) your fantasy life cannot exist without some kind consistent creative output. (Art, deal-making, software development, design, writing, selling, business-building, marketing, strategic relationship-building).
If you find it difficult to identify 5 hours of creative work that you are excited about, try taking an inventory of all the things you wouldn’t mind doing everyday for 5 hours.  Your “work” might be something you don’t think is valuable, or you think others would laugh at (blogging, weight lifting, riding a bike, podcasting, interviewing people, writing, life coaching).
Chose your favorite one and start doing it. Build it and manage it 5 hours a day. Market it. Interact with those in your space. Learn everything you can about it. Focus on specialized and leading edge knowledge. Something will come of it that will lead you to the next level. If you like to paint, start painting, training, networking with painters 5 hours of day. Get others excited about what you are doing. Hire an assistantoffer an internshipfind a business partner.
Here’s the critical part: think of it as a business. To think of something as a business means you want to ensure that the audiences you cultivate and build are demonstrated buyers (hint: sell something early) and that you are focusing on the parts of your work that are valuable to others.
Find your 5 and you’ll find your ability to manifest change in your life will be supercharged.
Lifestyle Designers are Hyper Realistic
I don’t mean realistic like your mother says it: “don’t get your hopes up!” Sorry mom, you must get your hopes up. Entrepreneurs and creative types thrive on hope. What’s missing for a lot of would-be lifestyle designers, and ultimately what clarity of vision and willingness to work represent,  is how in touch with reality you are. Some people say “that guy/gal is really plugged in.”
Being the next Bill Gates is a realistic desire. After all, Bill Gates does exist and doing what he does is possible in theory for another human to duplicate. Here’s the rub– strategically identifying the path you need to take in order to duplicate Bill Gate’s success is where clarity of vision and willingness to work come in. Everyone wants to be “rich,” or “travel the world” and most will even state it as a “goal,” but letting that thought sit in your head without fleshing out the exact path, work, and conditions that need to be in place in order to get there isn’t just lazy thinking, its lazy living.
The Entrepreneurial Imperative
If you identified 5 hours a day of “building and growing passionately run businesses” you are in really good shape. There are tons of creative ways to get to started as a lifestyle designer, but almost all of the most impressive lifestyle designers I’ve met have one thing in common (no, its not blogging!)– they are entrepreneurial. These people love a challenge. The love the hustle. They prefer to identify opportunities over liabilities. They love the deal. They love the process of doing business and making sales. They might want to invest in your company. They’ll share all their latest ideas. They are your best employee. They can’t wait to meet more like minded individuals. They aren’t waiting for anyone to tell them what to do, or for any organization to validate their existence. They know what they want, and generally, its way more fun, positivity, and profits.
If you aren’t sure about entrepreneurship, or have never thought about it as a career, the best thing you can do is work with a successful entrepreneur in a small to medium company setting. Focus on results and work your tail off. Learn everything. Figure out if you have that 5 hours. Get moving. It’s a big fun world loaded with opportunity and adventure, and you can have it all.
Further reading that is way better than what you just read, and related:

The Difference Between Art and Design

The subject of what separates art and design is convoluted and has been debated for a long time.
Artists and designers both create visual compositions using a shared knowledge base, but their reasons for doing so are entirely different.
Some designers consider themselves artists, but few artists consider themselves designers.
So what exactly is the difference between art and design? In this post, we’ll examine and compare some of the core principles of each craft.
This is a subject that people have strong opinions about, and I’m looking forward to reading the various points of view in the comments.
This post isn’t a definitive guide, but rather the starting point for a conversation, so let’s be open-minded!

Good Art Inspires. Good Design Motivates.

Perhaps the most fundamental difference between art and design that we can all agree on is their purposes.
Typically, the process of creating a work of art starts with nothing, a blank canvas. A work of art stems from a view or opinion or feeling that the artist holds within him or herself.
They create the art to share that feeling with others, to allow the viewers to relate to it, learn from it or be inspired by it.
The most renowned (and successful) works of art today are those that establish the strongest emotional bond between the artist and their audience.
By contrast, when a designer sets out to create a new piece, they almost always have a fixed starting point, whether a message, an image, an idea or an action.
The designer’s job isn’t to invent something new, but to communicate something that already exists, for a purpose.
That purpose is almost always to motivate the audience to do something: buy a product, use a service, visit a location, learn certain information. The most successful designs are those that most effectively communicate their message and motivate their consumers to carry out a task.

Good Art Is Interpreted. Good Design Is Understood.

Another difference between art and design is how the messages of each are interpreted by their respective audiences.
Although an artist sets out to convey a viewpoint or emotion, that is not to say that the viewpoint or emotion has a single meaning.
Art connects with people in different ways, because it’s interpreted differently.
Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has been interpreted and discussed for many years. Just why is she smiling? Scientists say it’s an illusion created by your peripheral vision. Romantics say she is in love. Skeptics say there is no reason. None of them are wrong.
Design is the very opposite. Many will say that if a design can be “interpreted” at all, it has failed in its purpose.
The fundamental purpose of design is to communicate a message and motivate the viewer to do something.
If your design communicates a message other than the one you intended, and your viewer goes and does something based on that other message, then it has not met its requirement. With a good piece of design, the designer’s exact message is understood by the viewer.

Good Art Is a Taste. Good Design Is an Opinion.

Art is judged by opinion, and opinion is governed by taste.
To a forward-thinking modern art enthusiast, Tracey Emin’s piece “My Bed”, which was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999, may be the height of artistic expression.
To a follower of more traditional art, it may be an insult to the medium. This goes back to our point about interpretation, but taste is more about people’s particular likes and dislikes rather than the message they take away from a piece.
Design has an element of taste, but the difference between good and bad design is largely a matter of opinion.
A good piece of design can still be successful without being to your taste. If it accomplishes its objective of being understood and motivates people to do something, then whether it’s good or not is a matter of opinion.
We could go on discussing this particular point, but hopefully the underlying principle is clear.

Good Art Is a Talent. Good Design Is a Skill.

What about the creator’s abilities?
More often than not, an artist has natural ability. Of course, from a young age, the artist grows up drawing, painting, sculpting and developing their abilities.
But the true value of an artist is in the talent (or natural ability) they are born with. There is some overlap here: good artists certainly have skill, but artistic skill without talent is, arguably, worthless.
Design, though, is really a skill that is taught and learned. You do not have to be a great artist to be a great designer; you just have to be able to achieve the objectives of design.
Some of the most respected designers in the world are best known for their minimalist styles. They don’t use much color or texture, but they pay great attention to size, positioning, and spacing, all of which can be learned without innate talent.

Good Art Sends a Different Message to Everyone. Good Design Sends the Same Message to Everyone.

This really falls under the second point about interpretation and understanding. But if you take only one thing away from this article, take this point.
Many designers consider themselves artists because they create something visually attractive, something they would be proud for people to hang on a wall and admire.
But a visual composition intended to accomplish a specific task or communicate a particular message, no matter how beautiful, is not art. It is a form of communication, simply a window to the message it contains.
Few artists call themselves designers because they seem to better understand the difference. Artists do not create their work to sell a product or promote a service. They create it solely as a means of self-expression, so that it can be viewed and appreciated by others. The message, if we can even call it that, is not a fact but a feeling.

What Do You Think?

Depending on how you look at it, the difference between art and design can be clear-cut or hazy. The two certainly overlap, but art is more personal, evoking strong reactions in those who connect with the subject.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Craig Elimeliah, who covered this subject in a fantastic article for AIGA, which I discovered during my research for this post.
“I do not claim to be an expert on defining what art is and what it is not, but I do know that if we look at the differences between art and design we will see a very clear line drawn between the two.
An engineer, if given the exact co-ordinates to place different colored pixels in specific places, could render a beautiful website or ad simply by following instructions; most design projects have a detailed set of instructions and most design is based on current trends and influences.
An artist, on the other hand, could never be given any specific instructions in creating a new chaotic and unique masterpiece because his emotions and soul is dictating the movement of his hands and the impulses for the usage of the medium.
No art director is going to yell at an artist for producing something completely unique because that is what makes an artist an artist and not a designer.”

Further Reading and Sources

If you would like large copies of the images used in this post, to use as desktop wallpaper or for any projects, you can download the, below.

This post was authored exclusively for WDD by John O’Nolan, a happy-go-lucky web designer from the UK, and owner of Lyrical Media. John loves to talk to people, so why not follow him on twitter too?
What’s your opinion? Do you think we can draw clearer distinctions between art and design? Or do you think they overlap too much to be truly different?

7 Personality Types of Designers Today

Design is a universal language. It transcends all cultural and national boundaries. It is diverse and ever-changing. Despite the fact that designs can be universally appreciated, the artists behind them are all unique and talented individuals.
What kind of designer are you? What is your philosophy? How do you contribute to the design community? Designers from different walks of life might have similar answers to these questions, and yet we are all different.
Some designers take it upon themselves to educate those who have not yet developed an appreciation for Web design and art. Some designers aim to improve the overall quality of design on the Internet.
And of course, some designers strive primarily to make a good living from their talents so that they can live a comfortable life.

Whatever your reason for being a designer, you are unique.
  • If you want to be a well-paid designer, please the client.
  • If you want to be an award-winning designer, please yourself.
  • If you want to be a great designer, please the audience.

Spotting the 7 Different Designers

Human beings constantly wear masks to hide their true feelings, thoughts and personality quirks. Designers wear masks of their own: one to attend to clients, another to handle a project’s details, another to collaborate with colleagues and yet another to communicate with family and friends. Human nature is to wear a different mask according to the role one is playing.
Despite these masks, our true personality still shines through. There are seven different personality types of designers. Which one best describes you?

1. The Pablo Picasso Designer

A perfectionist, the Pablo Picasso designer does not stand for any pixel to be out of place or unsightly. Egotistical, he does not care about other people’s opinions, and he belittles them for their ignorance and lack of appreciation of design and the arts.
Principled, the Pablo Picasso designer has a strong mind and set beliefs that cannot be swayed by any amount of money. His only concern is for the ingenuity of ideas.
A man out to change the world of design, he does not succumb to the whims of clients, and he believes it is their loss if they do not heed his advice. Believing he is a cut above the rest, he admits to only a few other designers in the world being his peers. The Pablo Picasso designer sees himself, above all else, as an artist.

2. The Albert Einstein Designer

A smart man with an excellent work ethic, the Albert Einstein designer has the motto “No pain, no gain.” Unafraid of ridicule, he dares to be different.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. Failure is the mother of all success, and the Albert Einstein designer has a never-give-up attitude that pushes him to continually reach his goals despite countless failures.
The Albert Einstein designer continues to create his own designs, putting them to the test in various design competitions. He may not get it right each time or win every competition, but he believes his hard work will eventually pay off and that he will be recognized for his talents and effort.
His strong faith and his belief in himself enable him to patiently wait for the day when he is praised for his contributions. To him, the question is not if he will be successful, but rather when will he attain his goals and be successful.

3. The David Copperfield Designer

The David Copperfield designer is a great storyteller and illusionist. Capable of anything, regardless of how seemingly impossible it is, he conjures the best designs for his clients.
Convincing his clients to hire him and only him to do everything is a simple task. Given everything he delivers to clients, he does not come cheap. After all, he gives them everything they want, which amounts to a cleverly constructed illusion. Using his great storytelling skills, he leads clients to believe that he is the only person they need to achieve their goals.
Behind the scenes, the David Copperfield designer orchestrates his illusions down to the second. Appearances can be misleading; outsourcing his tasks, he packages the result as his own work.
The client doesn’t realize who are the hard-working talents who support him. He manages the project and delegates work to others but claims credit in the end.

4. The Captain Hook Designer

Image credit: South Florida Pirate
Why create when you can steal? The Captain Hook designer is cunning and sly. He scouts for the most innovative and successful designs and makes them his own—not by blatantly duplicating, mind you, but by cleverly working in his own ideas and inspiration.
Craftily avoiding outright plagiarism, the Captain Hook designer mashes up several successful ideas to create a fresh “new” concept.
Money being his sole interest, the Captain Hook designer tries to squeeze as much as he can out of his designs. By making small, simple changes to the color, font and layout, he passes off designs as new creations.
Unfazed by whether he loses some clients, he simply finds new ones who are unaware of his tricks. His lives by the pirate code that dictates, “A good designer copies, but a great designer steals.”

5. The Mahatma Gandhi Designer

Believing he is obliged to right wrongs, the Mahatma Gandhi designer takes it upon himself to effect change through peaceful means. He feels an obligation to improve Web design standards, regardless of any difficulties or opposition he might face. If he has to achieve his goal one client at a time, he will gladly do so.
Sharing his design philosophy with whomever will listen, the Mahatma Gandhi designer tries to persuade others—designers, clients and the general public alike—to help him make the design industry a better place.
A forward-thinking man who sets trends, he advocates for what he believes is necessary to improve and sustain the design industry. Willing to sacrifice himself for the benefit of other designers, the Mahatma Gandhi designer does whatever he can to improve the world of design through peaceful and lasting change.

6. The Bashful Dwarf Designer

Shunning the spotlight, the Bashful Dwarf designer always feels like he could have done a better job. When praised, he is quick to share the credit with colleagues. Insecure about his talents, he is content to work behind the scenes and let others take the honor.
The Bashful Dwarf designer doesn’t think much of fame or fortune, and he prefers not to show his name or face. Lack of confidence is the cause: he believes many other designers out there deserve more recognition.
As long as he makes enough money to put a roof over his head and not go hungry, he remains content with his lot in life.

7. The Ella of Frell Designer

The real Ella of Frell fell under a spell and couldn’t say no to anyone. Slightly different, the Ella of Frell designer actually has a choice and does not have to do everything she is told.
Instead, she chooses not to decline her clients’ every wish. Believing the customer is always right, she goes out of her way to please clients. Clients never find fault with her because she is ever willing to make whatever changes they ask for. “No” is not in her vocabulary.
Often ignoring her better judgment, the Ella of Frell designer subjugates her design sense to the clients’ will in order to avoid displeasing them. She is at the client’s beck and call, night and day.

We Are All Different

Each designer has their own personality type. Whatever yours is, the important thing is to be true to yourself and honorable. Any one of the seven types covered here could be an extreme version of you. or you may see a little of yourself in each.
The only constant is change, and perhaps we have all been more than one of these seven at different times in our lives. We are, after all, always growing and hopefully wiser.

Written exclusively for Webdesigner Depot by Aidan Huang, a freelance developer, designer and ingenious blogger. He is one of the editors-in-chief at Onextrapixel. Follow him on Twitter @AidanOXP
Do you see yourself in any one of these personality types? Which best describes you? Share your thoughts on any Picassos, Einsteins, Hooks, Bashfuls, Copperfields, Gandhis and Ellas you may have encountered in this competitive industry.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How to become a day better every day, not just a day older

This may be one of the most valuable ideas I have shared here. It’s about how to get the most from your life and stop the days from passing you by.

A year older or a year better?

It starts with an understanding that everything we come into contact with, has an impact on us. It changes us. It adds to our bank of experiences.
  • As creative people, we know that the greater our bank of experiences, the wider our pallet of colours becomes, allowing us to create across a wider spectrum.
  • As human beings, we know that the greater our bank of experiences, the more we get from life.

Visiting or experiencing?

There’s a huge difference between visiting Paris and experiencing Paris. People often take a holiday in Paris, electing to eat the same food as they have at home and drink in bars, frequented by fellow tourists from their home country. They visit tourist traps, where they connect with people from ‘back home.’ They watch their favourite TV channels, via the Internet.
They may have a stamp in their passport to say they visited Paris, but they certainly didn’texperience it.

The art of experiencing

Think of walking through a stretch of woodland.
Someone visiting the woodland, rather than experiencing it, could be listening to music or consumed with thoughts about work, home, their past or their future. Whilst their body is physically there, amongst the flora and fauna, they are not connecting with the sights, sounds and smells around them. They walk through it or maybe more accurately, they walk past it.
Someone experiencing that stretch of woodland, rather than visiting it, would be focused on their immediate surroundings. They would stop and take time to notice the sounds around them. They would touch the bark on the trees and touch the leaves, to get a tactile experience of the textures around them. They would focus on the different colours that make up the immediate landscape. They would notice the way the smells around them changed, as they walked past different shrubs and features.
They would leave the woodland, with a deep feeling for what they have just experienced. Their senses would have been filled with the richness of their surroundings. They would have experienced it. Really experienced it!

Switching your autopilot off

Much of what we do from day to day is done, as if we were on autopilot. Most of the daily challenges we face, can be handled with little real effort. As a result, we spend much of ‘the present’ thinking about the past or thinking about the future, but not experiencing the now.That lack of deeper, deliberate interaction with our present, leads to wafer thin experiences.
The challenge with using that autopilot setting too often, is that minutes, hours, days, weeks months and then years can pass us by, with us gaining little by way of experience – if we allow it to.

Wherever you are, be there!

Thankfully, you get to choose what you focus on. So, make today the day, where you start experiencing more of the world around you.
For example:
  • Use your senses to gain a deeper connection with your environment.
  • Wherever you are, be there – really be there.
  • Whoever you are speaking with, give them your full attention.
  • Whatever you are doing, connect with it using as many of your senses as you can.
Invest in your bank of experiences today, then repeat it tomorrow. Watch your bank increase in value, as you become a day better every day and not just a day older.
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10 Cool Facts About How Americans Spend Our Time (or…Your Day in a Chart)

People over the age of 75 watch twice as much television as teenagers. On any given day, women are 30 percent more likely to do chores than men. The typical college student spends about an hour sleeping for every 25 minutes he spends studying.
Those are just three of the facts you can harvest from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest American Time Use Survey, which using polling data to illustrate a day in the life for Americans by age, gender, and education. Here are seven charts with seven more observations:
(4) Americans spend about eight-times as many hours working as we do eating and drinking.
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(5) 9PM is the only hour at which there are approximately equal shares of employed people working, sleeping, and doing household activities (such as caring for kids or cooking).
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(6) Compared to the average American over 15, college students spend 40% more time engaged in leisure/sports and 10% more time sleeping.
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(7) The typical 75+-year-old American spends nearly 17 hours sleeping or engaged in leisure/sports — which is 22 percent more than 55-64-year-olds reported in those categories.
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(8) Lawn (and garden) care is the only household activity category where a greater share of men report spending their time on an average day.
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(9) More than half our leisure time is dedicated to watching television. It would take nine average days of reading to add up to one typical day watching television.
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(10) The oldest Americans spend 9X as much time reading than the youngest Americans surveyed by BLS.
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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees business coverage for the website.