As a graphic designer and business owner I have produced more than my fair share of trash. Graphic design stuff that I thought was decent, but eventually realized it possessed little value. Business decisions that once held promise, ultimately became sour. Yet I allow myself to hang onto those things, those choices. The antiquated way of doing things. The old not-so-good works. Sure it takes time and effort to put things together, but bad stuff needs to be discarded.
Here’s my point. Allow yourself the freedom for opportunity that comes from letting the trash be past and embracing the new as next. Now, my three points for encouraging you to do just that.1
Put a lid on it
Critters get access without a lid and spread trash all over. Consistently dredging up past failures in conversation has rarely helped anyone. When others bring up my mistakes, it stinks. Well I say, keep it contained. If someone on your team needs improvement, acknowledge their shortcomings and then, throw that talk out. Talk about ideas. Read and study the innovative.2
Smart people recycle
Learn from your mistakes. Bob Ross the famous PBS painter used to say, “We don’t make mistakes; we make happy accidents!” He understood that you could often turn what looked like a tragedy into something useful. Realize the revolutionary is sometimes found just beyond revolution. Make the most of your darkest hour.3
Decomposition takes time
Move on, but don’t expect to change overnight. Give yourself avenues of learning. Don’t be afraid to scrap an idea. Don’t be afraid to try again. Don’t be afraid to try again a second time! You might get rid of the trash, but it takes time to really go away for good. Do your best to forget. When you get busy moving forward you’ll have less time to slide backward. Look ahead.
There is no worse feeling as graphic designer than spending an unreasonable amount of time on a project just to realize it isn’t going to work. Sometimes the process and mistakes can be tremendous teachers. They can help me set a benchmark on my limitations, so I can ultimately reach higher.