Milton Glaser’s 10 Things I Have Learned

Milton Glaser’s 10 Things I Have Learned isn’t just for designers, it applies to everyone.You can only work for people that you like

This is related to the ‘some people are toxic avoid them’ quote. You can only do good work when you can respect and trust the people you’re working with and vise versa.

If you have a choice never have a job

I think this is more related to corporate positions. If you’re in a job that’s making you complacent, you shouldn’t be doing that job, because you’re not growing your skills and that job can be taken away from you and given to someone who’ll do it cheaper.

Some people are toxic avoid them

Milton has a simple test: after any interaction with a person, do you have more or less energy? If they’re taking your energy, get away from them. You should also use this test when you’re dealing with others. Are you wasting their energy by complaining non-stop or being negative? Then you’re toxic. Often just realising you’re being toxic is enough to change your behaviour.

Professionalism is not enough or The good is the enemy of the great

In any creative profession, being too professional is bad. “Professional” is difficult to define, but doctors, lawyers, and the like are seen as professionals, because they’re following well established rules and only being creative within set guidelines. For any other profession, especially software development, don’t try to be a doctor. You don’t want your doctor trying a new technique that might work better but could fail horribly. But a software developer has to experiment with new techniques, because without them she could fail. Besides, it’s easier to fix software than it is to fix your body.

How you live changes your brain

Every single experience physically changes your brain. Quite shocking when you think of it like that. Imagine if lying to someone made your nose grow. That is what’s happening in your brain. Doing something once makes it easier to do again, so one small white lie or trying a drug makes it easier the second time around, unless you fight it.

Doubt is better than certainty

If you think you know everything, you’re wrong. Rather doubt your abilities a little to give yourself room for improvement, but don’t doubt them so much that you’re too scared to try.

Solving the problem is more important than being right

Milton has a bunch of good quotes on this, so I’ll just say: People don’t remember you for being right, they remember you for solving their problems.

Tell the truth

Incredibly important in every aspect of life. What would the world be like if no one could lie? Milton’s 12 step test ‘Road to hell’ is interesting, and can be applied to any profession or section of life to demonstrate how easy it is to lie. Lying is a slippery slope, once you start it just gets easier. So don’t start.

2005.03.10