I just finished Tim Ferris‘ podcast with Debbie Millman, a name I didn’t know prior to this interview. At first I was hesitant to listen as Debbie is a graphic designer which is not a topic I am particularly interested in. But Tim’s preamble to the podcast was “For some of you, this may be the most important episode you ever listen to. I don’t say that lightly”. Quite an endorsement.
So I listened. Debbie has had an enormous amount of trials and tribulations in her life/career, some of which I can relate to and some, thankfully, I can not. It wasn’t until over an hour into the interview that I began to lean in. And then I leaned in more.
Milton Glaser, was one of Debbie’s life long mentors. Unbeknownst to me, Milton, is a heavyweight in the design community and even received the National Medal of the Arts award from President Barack Obama in 2009. Under his tutelage, Debbie now employs a specific technique with her students at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan to help them visualize their bliss, as Joseph Campbell would have put it. The practice is to write a 10 year plan. No, not a step-by-step how-to guide, but rather a free flowing visualization of what a person wanted to become. A vision into the future meant to bring realization onto the earth. The assignment is as follows:
It’s Winter 2027. Imagine this single day, 10 years from now, in as much detail as possible, being brutally honest with yourself, write as much or little as necessary, keeping in mind that the more focused your writing is, the more likely it will come true (note, there are quite a few instances of this working, but don’t take my word for it). From the moment you wake up, brush your teeth, get your coffee to the moment you fall asleep:
- What does your life look like?
- Who are you with?
- Do you have any pets?
- Where are you living? The country, city, house, apt.?
- What is your furniture like?
- What are you reading?
- What are you making/creating?
- What excites you?
- What is your health like?
Write with your whole heart. Dream big. Write like there’s no tomorrow and as if your life depends on it, cause it does.
(disclaimer: I took notes directly from Tim’s podcast so some text may resemble interview) @tferriss @debbiemillman http://debbiemillman.blogspot.com/