Breaking news: Learning is important. All learning is important. Learning at all times is helpful.
I studied computer science and information technology for seven long years before joining an advertising agency (as a graphic design intern) but I don’t go around telling people that I wasted those seven years. Because those seven years meant a lot to me. They taught me a lot. They gave me a fair idea about how the world looked like outside of home, and a fuzzy idea about where it was headed. Information technology had just exploded and everybody was either doing a computer course, or planning on it. Those years taught me friendships, independence, having fun, love, politics, dreaming, writing a computer virus, saving, learning, traveling, reading, breaking rules and a whole lot of other stuff.
Those years made me fall in love with logos. I had no idea that logo design was a real career option. I just fell in love with the art form.
I had to cross this market every morning to reach my institute and these huge, expensive showrooms kind of overwhelmed me. They inspired me in a way I couldn’t comprehend back then. But these colorful and aesthetic graphics had a great impact on my mind. I was performing great in class, so while the instructors bored me with the stuff I already knew, I would be busy doodling logos in my notebooks.
This was my initial training in logo design.
I guess when you are passionately in love with something, you find a way to progress.
My first job (as a part time intern) taught me how to use Corel Draw. It was amazing to get paid to learn. I learned how press ads were designed and sent to the newspapers. It was amazing to see those ads in the newspapers the next morning. I felt like an insider. I learned how brochures and flyers and events and hoardings were designed. I learned to tell good graphic design from bad. I learned that some bosses could be really helpful while others could be total assholes. I learned that work life was challenging. Initially, I would get restless in an hour or so. I learned the joy of getting your first salary. And the joy of spending it all on gifts for your family.
Books. You should read a lot of them. Text books, coffee table books, fiction, business advice, design, philosophy, religion, history, technology… I have yet to come across a book that didn’t teach me anything! It’s just impossible to not learning anything from a book.
And then, professional learning, of course. I’ve had formal training in creative advertising from MICA – the top advertising and communications school in India. I have worked with advertising agencies and worked for clients like Taj Hotels, Philips, Sony Bravia, HBO etc. For over a decade I learned the art of writing and designing. During this time I been praised a lot and criticized a little (which is also important.)
So, what I mean is: learn! Not just the syllabus, but everything around you. That’s what makes a true entrepreneur. Learn a lot. Learn every day. Learn from everyone. Learn everywhere. Because the more you know, the better armed you are to take on the world and its challenges!