7 Principles Life and Business Has Taught Me (so far)

by Doug Farrick

We hopefully learn and grow in our journey as people and designers. By taking a larger perspective we can learn to make these life/business principles work to our advantage and become better, deeper and more accomplished designers. Here's how:

Getting older is not all its cracked up to be, however, one thing it DOES is give you is a certain perspective. And as I am just passing my 44th birthday recently I will try to give you *some* things I feel certain

Nothing is permanent - sometimes it feels like things are "permanent" and will never change. There have been times in my life where I thought it was my destiny to only make X amount of dollars per year, to always work for a large corporation and be single.

But just a few short years ago I started two businesses, vastly increased by income, was married, and had an instant family.

Keep in mind, life does move and does change and it will for you too. It moves in cycles and waves so if you feel like your life is in a down cycle and nothing is happening, rest assured a positive, up cycle is right around the bend.

Your environment is important - where you live and who you choose to surround yourself with can make all the difference. This often reflects your personality, goals and income.

At times, in my life, I have wondered, "how did I get here?" and only realized later that the choice of environment was probably not the best one.

Today, I am very aware of the importance of environment so I try my best to associate and be around vibrant, positive and forward looking people and enjoy the healthy, fresh air and open space of Western Massachusetts, where I live.

It pays to be nice - we've all heard the saying, "nice guys/gals finish last". However, in my experience and what I have seen, this has just not been true. When you practice a "service" mentality meaning you focus upon others needs and wants I have found true magic happens.

So think about some ways you can be nice and brighten some ones day. For example, surprise and delight a client by sending a hand-written thank you note, a gift certificate to a restaurant you'll know they'll love, a round of golf, a nice book or something personal to them. Trust me, they will love you forever.

There is nothing better than the wonderful feeling of being kind and thoughtful to your family, friends and clients.


Everyone needs balance - it is easy nowadays to get distracted (especially us computer users). Most people work now work an average of 10+ hours a day. This leaves little time to pursue other important activities.

It's easy to just getting sucked into the vortex of life and just go, go, go without ever slowing down and taking the time to reflect and take stock of what is important, who is important to you, where you are going and how you're going to get there.

For example: Are you really happy with your career now? Why or why not? Are you spending quality time with your family and children? When was the last time you took off an afternoon to do a "special something" with your spouse? Are you taking enough time for you? To exercise, eat properly, meditate, time to reflect, learn a new skill?

And unless you take the time to actually schedule and plan these activities there is a high probability they will not happen.

Planning solves a multitude of problems - sure, just when you think you are swinging the world by the tail some unforeseen event happens that throws you for a loop. You can pretty much count on this happening. But what do you do with the rest of your time that goes by fairly uneventful?

My advice is to plan. By planning your days and weeks you will be miles ahead of everyone else. Personally 80% of my days go pretty much exactly as scripted. You may think that sounds boring but trust me it is anything but.

Most importantly, plan those things that most important to you (but not necessarily urgent) like: taking that course to improve your skills, cold calling 10 prospects a day, sending a surprise gift to a client, taking time to see your son or daughter's event. Planning GREATLY improves the likelihood of these tasks being accomplished.

Use a computer or paper or PDA, whatever works best for you but take the time to do it. Keep in mind, it does take discipline to plan your schedule consistently. The best way to do this? Create a system by setting up a time and place to do your planning on a regular basis. And just do it!

Life is often not fair - many things happen in life that cause us great distress and worry. People get divorced, close ones die, you or your child/spouse/friends have sadness, disappointment and hurt in their lives.

It is a very helpless feeling when you cannot "control" life. With many situations in our lives we spend energy resisting or complaining. Why can't it be different? Why does it have to be this way? How come he has the advantages and I don't? How come I'm not as beautiful as her? Why did I have to be in that auto accident?

As if your disagreement with the way things are going to make any difference. The fact is, right now, nothing can be any different than the way it is. And it will be that way until it changes.

The strange miracle of life is that often wondrous things are hidden in these adversities. And if we can drop our "resistance" to life and just let it flow we come to have a much great alignment with life and realize it's ALL part of the grand scheme.

"Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit."

Something to think about.

Life is much bigger than us - often, we get caught up in own little world and don't take the time to realize the "bigger picture" of our lives.

Meaning we often need to adjust our perspective and understand there is so much more than just us. There is always someone better off than us and also someone who is not. Always people with a lot more troubles than you and just as many with less. And on and on.

Once we realize we are all just "blades of grass" we really free ourselves to, paradoxically, accomplish more as we no longer NEED to strive and control. We just allow the world to unfold as it should.

And, at the same time, we participate, do our part to contribute our unique personality, skills and abilities.

So take the time to give. To give more of yourself, of your time, your knowledge and your resources. Consistent giving always means consistent receiving.