ANNA PENG

The Human Advantage

We’re all capable of making mistakes. That behaviour is not reserved for the interns, the less educated, or your younger-than-average boss. Mistakes are for everybody, and they will be there for you especially when you don’t want them to be. 

We tell white lies, we say one thing and then do another, and sometimes we take shortcuts that are not beneficial for the long run. We hack growth, we borrow the answers from somebody else, and we plan in a cheat day every now and then. One beautiful part of all of it is that we can forgive.

This is the human advantage.

The advantage shows up when we forgive ourselves for doing the things that might have been a mistake. It’s being capable of understanding that perfection is a process of trial and error, and knowing that your friends, family, and boss also has the human advantage.

The next time you’ve made a blunder of any sort, put your human advantage to use and be sincere about it. 


Creativity in Patterns

Going head first into a discipline where you aren’t willing to respect the rules and read the community guidelines, was a mistake I made in my time at design school. 

What I’m talking about is the framework for design thinking:

1. Empathize

2. Define

3. Ideate

4. Prototype

5. Test

I didn’t think creative work could possibly follow such a dry, structured process. How can something so seemingly free-flowing and non-formulaic possibly follow a process? However, the design thinking process was made and there for us before we were looking into the practice. 

But how does this apply to you? 

Chances are if you’re reading this, you are a creative yourself too. 

If you’re waiting for luck to happen, you might be waiting for some time because letting your work wait for somebody else to discover it is rarely a strategy that works. 

The community created a framework for a reason, and that’s because it works—it’s been tried, tested, and repeated over and over again across millions of great designers all over the globe. 

So when we start working on our craft, especially if it’s design work, the process isn’t an option. It’s the only way forward that will lead us to better and better work over time. 



Share Like an Artist

Throughout our lives we’ve been taught that we should share art when it’s good, and keep it to ourselves when it needs to be refined. And if it’s not perfect, then it deserves a C+ grade. Maybe we should’ve been taught is that it’s more important to share the work regardless of a grade outcome, because it would help us find feedback that helps our work rather than seek approval from an authoritative figure. 

Fortunately, what we’ve been presented to in design school is the gift of sharing the work despite not having it finished. We’ve been critiqued relentlessly, every single week for years—not for impressing anybody or flattering our egos, but for making our work, our designs, and our thoughts stronger. We’ve been sharing and shipping constantly but it’s easy to hide when the work no longer has to be presented for a grade. 

Now that we are safe in our homes for the foreseeable future, sharing our work becomes ever more important. Not because it’s for a grade, but because it benefits the people around us by letting them know that they’re not alone.

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