As you might have read in one of my earlier articles, I dropped out of high school when I was 15 and started working as an apprentice for computer science, which left me with very little traditional education.
Because of that, one of the things I always struggled with was writing. It was hard for me not only in my first language (German) but also in my second language (English) which I never really learned in the few years I visited high school.
In a world where making a typo or grammatical error seems almost on the same level as committing a crime, I felt intimidated even thinking about putting some words on a page. It seemed like I had to follow established rules that everyone else knew, but I did not.
I believe the reason why I became attracted to the creative industry (as a designer) at that time was because “doing it wrong” wasn’t something you got punished for. There was no one who knew better. The rules weren’t yet established, and they hopefully never will be.
"While others are complaining, you just created something out of nothing. You are one step ahead."
When it comes to writing, things are different. Our written language follows strict rules and people love to call you out on it. But these people are really the only obstacle to overcome, nothing else.
I didn’t know how to write, but I still did it. I didn’t know how to design, but I tried it. I was doing it “wrong” for many years (I still am) but I’m doing it — and that’s what counts for me.
Every time someone complains about your writing or any other things you make, you have to understand one thing:
While others are complaining, you just created something out of nothing. You are one step ahead.
For me, the willingness to do it wrong is a gift. There are not many people who have the courage to do it the wrong way, just for the sake of doing it. The moment we understand that “the wrong way” just means “doing it my own way,” we know we’re on the right path.
As Albert Einstein already said: “The only source of knowledge is experience.” So instead of doing nothing, do it wrong.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the founder of DESK, nice to meet you!