Developmental Courage

April 20, 2017 11:11 pm

You might say educators are the ultimate students. We tend to get into academia because we have a love for learning. If I was only able to give myself one label it would be “lifelong learner”—not Professor, not Designer, not Creative. In a field like design there is always something new—and that’s the #1 reason why I love it. You can never be bored as a designer. One moment you are designing for a client that manages a nursing home and in the same afternoon you could be developing a new branding for an energy drink—and then you start a side project called “Octogen”, an energy drink targeted at the 80 year old market…

The year I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in design is the year the first iPhone came out (2008). In other words, I had no instruction on developing for mobile devices, the state of web design was still deeply rooted in Flash animation, and there was really no such thing as a mobile app or mobile website. Luckily my art and design professors didn’t harp on trends in the field, instead they focused on teaching me the creative process and how to apply that process to a variety of opportunities. I didn’t graduate with a degree on how to use Adobe software or animate Flash websites—I graduated with the skills to be a creative problem solver with a flexible mindset and an inherit desire to learn. The demands of a modern designer are constantly changing. There is always a new platform, medium, or application for us to create on. There are new tools, methods, and techniques for things we’ve been doing for years or things we just learned 6 months ago.

After graduating I worked for Apple for a few years teaching people how to use technology and make the best of the tools Apple had to offer. We had a training session that revolved around “Developmental Courage”. 

Someone with Developmental Courage values learning more than comfort. Willing to risk public failure, deep frustration, and the repeated hopelessness of being at wit’s end all in the name of building new skills, awareness or knowledge. —unknown.

This concept struck a cord with me. I knew I was someone that always wanted to tackle the next thing, wanted to be better, but I never really defined it.

Summer “break” is right around the corner. Sure I’ll loaf around for a week or two and refresh—but I start to get that itch after a few days. My library card starts to burn a hole in my pocket. My Instapaper “read later” archive is yelling at me. That “someday maybe” list on my task manager starts to give me dirty looks. It’s time to muster up that developmental courage…