My one word theme for 2020 is Experience

20 years of adulthood. 20 years as a graphic designer. 20 years. ~7,300 sun rises and sets. Time passes. It won’t wait for you.

Time feels no concern about whether you’re ready, willing, able, competent, foolish, or prepared.

Take every moment for what it is: Experience.

We each get to have our own unique experience. At times that feels empowering. Other times that feels lonely.

We learn from the experiences of others. We grow from believing in what we see, hear, touch, smell, taste.

Tough times make the happiest memories. Remember when that moment seemed important? Later, it didn’t matter at all. That split second that seemed insignificant changed everything.

2019 – Accept – “Autobiography” by Ashlee Simpson
2018 Complete – “Level Up” by Ciara
2017: Go – “Ready to Go” by Panic at the Disco
2016: Listen – “Listen” by Beyonce

Age 37 Paradox
Age 36 Curious – Witness by Katy Perry + Curiosity – Carly Rae
Age 35: Process – “Life is Wonderful” by Jason Mraz
Age 34: Balance – “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World

“Questioners value justification and purpose.” Gretchen Rubin, The Four Tendencies

“Upholders value self-command and performance. Questioners value justification and purpose. Obligers value teamwork and duty. Rebels value freedom and self-identity.” Gretchen Rubin, The Four Tendencies

“The happiest, healthiest, most productive people aren’t those from a particular Tendency, but rather they’re the people who have figured out how to harness the strengths of their Tendency, counteract the weaknesses, and build the lives that work for them.” Gretchen Rubin, The Four Tendencies

Revelations on myself I got from the book The Four Tendencies on the second listen through:

  • Questions are often heard as belligerent, hostile, or annoying. Even when they’re not intended to be a source of conflict.
  • Paradoxically, those of us who love seeking information find being questioned ourselves unpleasant.
  • Curiosity manifests as a resistance to decisions of authority and to unexplained assumptions of others.
  • Others think a Questioner care a lot about a subject they question. Questioners gravitate toward anything unexplained – even if it’s very unimportant.
  • Easy ways I help myself: Deadlines. Time limits. Delegate to a trusted advisor or friend. Self-imposed rules. Schedule. Monitor time. Write down my ultimate goals and values. Share my thinking and to what end information might help me.
  • Take action toward my values and preferences:
    • I like novelty, new beginnings, long days, nights, more is more, silver linings, variety, clarity, convenience, customization, observation, processes, roles, instructions.
    • I struggle with rules for rules sake, rigid interpretation, demandingness, submissiveness, vagueness, misunderstandings, obscurity.

Productivity Manifesto

Since my blog and podcast ( are about creative productivity, writing a productivity manifesto felt right. Here’s my latest draft:

1. Make any choice.
2. Challenge yourself. Don’t compare.
3. Take steps and find out.
4. Start small. Begin anywhere.
5. Reframe. Make it a game.
6. Spill milk. Bounce back.
7. Be average. Good enough is enough.
8. Lay eggs in lots of baskets.

As much as I enjoy the ideas of philosophy, it’s the antithesis of productivity. The greatest philosophers of all time have debated ideology, politics, and ideas.

If you actually want to work on a problem, make attempts. See the results. Adjust your strategy. Do what works. Stop doing what doesn’t.

Being “ready” also doesn’t factor when it comes to productivity. Instead, I’d rather actively move ahead. Waiting for a random state of readiness isn’t an action. I also generally don’t like the feeling of waiting. Replace that with a choice to enjoy a calm mindful moment.

Derived from the Italian word manifesto which comes from the Latin manifestum “meaning clear or conspicuous”. So the point of a manifesto is to state views clearly.

Happiness Manifesto

I’ve written my Happiness Manifesto inspired by Gretchen Rubin. A manifesto is a public declaration of intentions and values.

Newly revised version:

  1. If all else fails, let go a little. Or a lot. Don’t sweat small stuff (It’s all small stuff)
  2. Different people like different things.
  3. Effort over outcomes. Show up.
  4. Events involve pieces beyond us.
  5. Win-win or no deal, and that’s okay!
  6. Listen. Notice what right. Say good things out loud.
  7. Mistakes are neutral at worst, helpful at best. Decisions go forward, not backward.


Original draft (November 3, 2016)

  1. If all else fails, let go a little. Or a lot.
  2. I love that we all get to exist.
  3. Different people like different things.
  4. Effort over outcomes. Show up for yourself.
  5. There’s always many factors
  6. Win-win or no deal, and that’s okay!
  7. Listen. Notice what right.
  8. Say good things out loud
  9. Mistakes are neutral at worst, helpful at best.
  10. Don’t sweat the small stuff (It’s all Small Stuff)

Happiness Manifesto: Say good things out loud

I’ve made it a goal to notice positive things. And say them out loud. Give compliments to myself and to others. And notice how many people go out of their way to do it. Just like the guy Marie Forleo mentions in her video on Positive attitudes. The maxim “Say good things out loud” on my Happiness Manifesto reminds me to notice and share good thoughts.

Martin Seligman, father of positive psychology, notes in his books that positive and negative thinking is a habit. It’s easier to change behavior than thinking. It’s easier to change thinking than feelings:

Step 1: Change Behavior.

Step 2: New behavior leads to new thoughts.

Step 3: New thoughts leads to new feelings.