Practice gratitude


We all have rough days. Joyless projects - even if they’re not particularly difficult - you slog through tap your morale like it’s a tree sap. This shit makes you less productive, reduces the quality of your craft, inspires you the next morning to sleep-in or call-in sick. Day after day, tedious design work or engineering, inane obstacles, baffling people, will turn the footing under you into quicksand.

Your practice of stoicism has toughened you against wily external forces, but - honestly - it’s hard to ignore the uneven footing when the mud is literally sucking off your boot.

I’ve found it useful to - like practicing stoicism - practice gratitude each day (well, most). I mean “practice” in the sense of deliberate practice: straining your muscle to improve performance. That is, can you train your mind to be reasonably grateful by default? In the sense of stoicism being an operating system for life, “default gratitude” seems like a desirable setting.

My programming isn’t particularly optimistic, so I practice gratitude using the system from the 5 Minute Journal, which adapted to Stoic Designer looks like this:

  1. First-thing before work, in your journal, finish this sentence: “In my current project I am grateful for __________.”

  2. Then, write 3 things you’re going to do today — so, small, achievable things — to ensure that by the end of the day you feel good about your work.

  3. At the end of the day, come back to your journal and write 3 good things that happened.

At first, honestly, this feels hokey. But by the end of the morning you have deliberately opted to see the bright-side, which over time becomes a trained perspective.

Craft virtuously.

Liking (❤) this issue of Stoic Designer is a super way to brighten my day. It helps signal to the great algorithms in the sky that this writeup is worth a few minutes of your day.

Remember that design is not art, but a practice,

Michael Schofield