How to eliminate all distractions and find fulfilment in your job.

If you ever came across a designer’s CV, you have probably seen this word: “passionate”.

People seem to be passionate about everything they do related to design. “Passionate about new technologies and upcoming trends”, “passionate about UX design”, “passionate about latest posts of random design recruiters on LinkedIn”. Does it worth including this word on your CV anymore? Also, what does a “passionate” designer do on a daily basis?

How Do We Measure Passion

We can all agree that passion is a strong emotion. When I’m ardent about design, I live and breathe design, right? I don’t look at it as a burden, no. I’m looking forward to the times I can practice it. I’m excited about new trends. Can’t wait to try the new techniques out. If I catch a glimpse of a headline related to the subject, I instantly click or tap on it (depending on the device). I watch tutorial videos online, check courses out, better myself every day to be a master of my chosen craft.

Not only this, but I’d rather design than do other things. I don’t look at it as work, I look at it as something I do for leisure. Sitting in front of my notebook or computer, I dream up designs and implement them. Every new interaction design and application concept is my child. I conceive them, tend to them and see them grow. I go back and improve them whenever I can. Therefore, my portfolio is not only extensive but up-to-date too. I’m living the dream.

Reality check

Until today, I haven’t met anyone being this enthusiastic about design, especially not designers. You come across a lot of people who would like to transition into design from other industries and are excited about design, but when it comes to designers, they tend not to do much design outside working hours. Why would they do it? Why would a chef cook at home?

Design is hard work. Filling a blank artboard with interesting and useful design is a draining process. I love the article with Jim Kay, illustrator of the Harry Potter picture books, where he breaks down the over-romanticised designer image.

Jim Kay On Drawing The Boy Who Lived – Google Arts & Culture

When I see “passionate” candidate CVs, I always assume they are inexperienced people. Their passion is excitement. Their currency is motivation. Yet, when it comes to actual work, they fail to show any tangible evidence of their passion.

Designers have a certain advantage over other job roles. Yes, experience is important, but you can counter-balance it with a good portfolio. Putting together a decent portfolio might take a while but definitely won’t take years. You can practice at home, in your own comfort, everyday, if you wanted to. Don’t tell me you are passionate; show me.

Replace Passion With Drive

Simple things are the hardest to achieve. Getting out of your comfort zone is not easy. We are comfortable in our comfort zone (hence the name). It’s nice just to relax and swipe through Instagram for an hour. Your favourite show is also on. Can it be overcome?

Of course it can. Without a doubt, millions of people have already achieved what you’re trying to achieve. It’s like cycling. It all seems very confusing at the beginning, but you’ll get better at it. You only need to get better a little bit every day and have the drive to overcome the initial hurdles.

Knowing that your work is not good enough is only half the work. You also need to be able to imagine yourself as a competent person and have the drive to replace short-term gains (getting better at Fortnite) with long-term goals (become an adequate designer).

One Step at a Time

Chances are, you won’t be the Harry Beck or Florence Nightingale of the 21st century. Probably you won’t be notable even in your own country. Just look at the top designer on Béhance and Dribble. They have years of experience behind them and have mastered the art of design. Does it mean that we don’t need any more designers? On the contrary. The more, the merrier. Having more designers in the job market will encourage other designers to get better, because let’s face it:

You might not become the best designer, but you can still become a good designer. And good designers are needed. A good designer can create great work. Your work can make the difference between an okay and a great design. And who knows? One day, you might be remembered as a master of your craft. A top designer of your generation. But only if you have the drive to get there.

Driven. was originally published in Prototypr on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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