Your design work is not an end unto itself


Seneca, on the brevity of life, condemns this idea of dying doing what you love - particularly when what you love is your work:

How disgraceful is the lawyer whose dying breath passes while at court, at an advanced age, pleading for unknown litigants and still seeking the approval of ignorant spectators.

All the dicta and principles of stoicism try to concentrate all that you spend your time on from day to day and everything that you really value into a single, dense venn diagram, so much so that should you die — which you will, memento mori — doing what you value, and what you happen to value is your work, that this seems like as good a way as any to give up the ghost.

But the work itself is a means to an end, not the end unto itself. It is a vehicle for practicing what you preach, engaging your mind only in time you won’t regret to have wasted on your death bed. Your work is a medium through which you express your best self. Let the work become more than that and you’re back at the starting line.

Your work doesn’t matter.

Craft virtuously.

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Remember that design is not art, but a practice,

Michael Schofield