“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
As I get older and become a more experienced designer, I realize patience is the key to success. Talent and hardwork are important, but understanding when your time has come is the ultimate in the design world. Furthermore, talent and hardwork make the student, but recognizing design opportunity no matter how small, or the teacher in a situation, drives progression and helps you reach your ultimate potential as a designer. For example, you might feel your design/talent is the best or worthy of recognition and is next level, but sometimes the context of a situation teaches you that you have to look deeper into things and revise your designs until the audience/director/teacher is truly satisfied. This is progression to me: putting in that little extra to satisfy something bigger than yourself and enlightening the situation. In some small way, it is a path to enlightenment.
Skimboarding is a metaphor for design progression and something I truly love to do. It’s meditative and teaches you that when the right wave comes along you’ll know if all your prior hardwork and practice will help you ride out a liner and finish with a sweet backside wrap that sprays water to the sky. Maybe instead you need to focus more on waiting for a wave to break before you ride out its forceful crash to shore. You may have the balance and flow but your timing is off. What drives you though is the search, anticipation, and visualization of the teacher/perfect wave appearing, riding it with correct timing, and the lessons learned from falling along the way as you skim it. Will you ride off into the sunset with all your style and swag or slam into the sand? It makes no difference in the long run because you either succeed or learn. Losing is never an option.