10 things I have learned w/ Milton Glaser

Every so often you come across a great list of things that can help you live smarter. Lately I have been talking with friends about how a bit of age is not a bad thing if it comes with perspective as well.

In earlier days I use to try and write up my 10 ten things I might want to tell my younger self or my children etc. I subscribe to the idea of life long learning. Learning how to do stuff smarter and more wisely is always a worthwhile thing.

Imagine if the you at age 22 was how you were going to stay for the rest of your life?

By fortune or design most of us do learn as we go and aiming to avoid old mistakes – to learn from history is always a great thing.

Later this week I’m off to a 50th birthday party. I’m hoping to talk with old friends and check out where they have got to. Has the penny dropped or are they in cruise mode?

Milton-Glaser-by-Sam-HaskinsIt does seem that some of us do get to a phase in life where we keep doing the same things because it is comfortable but I like to think there are always new things to do and new things to learn.

That is if we are open to learning. Me – I’m in boots and all. If you have some music, a great book, film, travel experience or anything that you can recommend – I’m there.

And there are always interesting people that you can learn from if you are open to learning.

One of these people is Milton Glaser. Milton is a great designer who was born in 1929 and is probably best known for the  I ? NY logo. Here is the abbreviated list of 10 things. I recommend that you go and read the full version as they are all insightful and it is one of the best lists of its type that I have ever come across.

1. YOU CAN ONLY WORK FOR PEOPLE THAT YOU LIKE.
2. IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE NEVER HAVE A JOB.
3. SOME PEOPLE ARE TOXIC AVOID THEM.
4. PROFESSIONALISM IS NOT ENOUGH or THE GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF THE GREAT.
5. LESS IS NOT NECESSARILY MORE.
6. STYLE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED.
7. HOW YOU LIVE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN.
8. DOUBT IS BETTER THAN CERTAINTY. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience
9. ON AGING. Rule number one is that ‘it doesn’t matter.’
10. TELL THE TRUTH.

Here is number 7 again: – How You Live Changes Your Brain

“The brain is the most responsive organ of the body. Actually it is the organ that is most susceptible to change and regeneration of all the organs in the body. I have a friend named Gerald Edelman who was a great scholar of brain studies and he says that the analogy of the brain to a computer is pathetic. The brain is actually more like an overgrown garden that is constantly growing and throwing off seeds, regenerating and so on.

And he believes that the brain is susceptible, in a way that we are not fully conscious of, to almost every experience of our life and every encounter we have.

I was fascinated by a story in a newspaper a few years ago about the search for perfect pitch. A group of scientists decided that they were going to find out why certain people have perfect pitch. You know certain people hear a note precisely and are able to replicate it at exactly the right pitch. Some people have relevant pitch; perfect pitch is rare even among musicians. The scientists discovered – I don’t know how – that among people with perfect pitch the brain was different. Certain lobes of the brain had undergone some change or deformation that was always present with those who had perfect pitch. This was interesting enough in itself. But then they discovered something even more fascinating. If you took a bunch of kids and taught them to play the violin at the age of 4 or 5 after a couple of years some of them developed perfect pitch, and in all of those cases their brain structure had changed. Well what could that mean for the rest of us? We tend to believe that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind, although we do not generally believe that everything we do affects the brain. I am convinced that if someone was to yell at me from across the street my brain could be affected and my life might changed. That is why your mother always said, ‘Don’t hang out with those bad kids.’ Mama was right.

Thought changes our life and our behaviour. I also believe that drawing works in the same way. I am a great advocate of drawing, not in order to become an illustrator, but because I believe drawing changes the brain in the same way as the search to create the right note changes the brain of a violinist.

Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at, which is not so easy.”

What do you think about this list ? and what is on your version – do you have a list of 10 things I have learned?

If you would like to check out Milton on design here is a TED talk clip of hime from 1998.