Continuing to expand upon the questions in the interview…
How would you describe yourself? A programmer, a designer?
I had a creative block about seven years ago which was very difficult at the time, but it helped me gain perspective into my identity, because I used to identify myself as a designer who codes, and when you lose your ability to create, your identity is compromised under a creative block.
Nowadays I think that identifying yourself as your profession is a necessary stage of human development. You’ll never become a good designer if you don’t identify as a designer. But at the same time, your identify will be eventually challenged, because—despite what we’ve been told—design is not the solution to everything. You will face problems where design is of little or no use, and clinging on old ways of resolving problems will get you nowhere.
There is no point in seeking disidentification early. Be the best designer you can. Conquer your world. Create great products. But, at the risk of sounding preachy, working from ambition is like working from fossil fuels: the source is non-renewable, you must learn how draw up energies from different renewable sources: inspiration, curiosity, compassion, because these do not lead to burn out.
When designing I am a designer, when programming I am a programmer, when cooking I am a cook, when gardening I am a gardener, etc. If I am thinking about programming or design while I’m cycling, well, then I’m not being a good cyclist.
The exception is walking, I can reflect upon my experience within my identities, and see connections between them. There is a connection between say, spirituality and design, and in order for me to uncover more of it, I must walk more upon it.