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“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” — Apple Ad 1997 referring to the misfit economy.
What if the key to becoming better in your professional career was to think like a criminal? Drug dealers, con artists, pirates, hackers all share a skill of deciphering a system to then break it down through a pioneering way of thinking and operating.
We all have some sort of idea of how an individual is named a ‘criminal’, from picking locks to organising a heist, the mindsets of these people are to manipulate intention and subversion in one way or another. For those of us who have watched any decent crime movie I bet you’ve thought “wow, those guys are clever!” — that’s because they are and we have a lot to learn from them.
Understanding the certain decisions that are made and how these are translated into habits through the eyes of a criminal will give us great power as to how we can carry this into our work. We do not recommend you should put on a balaclava and rob a bank once finished with this article, quite the opposite, instead what we are suggesting is that you should think about the logistics and entrepreneurship that is shown when planning for an event to take place. These types of people make the unbelievable believable, which is key when running a start-up or trying to sell your idea / product.
From law enforcers to criminals to subversive designers, being brave enough to break rules is important in any career especially in a creative role. As a designer wanting to change the way the world looks, sees and feels is tough so maybe it is ok for us to be bad?
If designers today want to do good, they must first learn how to be bad.
As a designer we aren’t too dissimilar to these masterminds. Within our everyday tasks of manipulation, forgery and hacking, convincing our clients to believe that what we do brings good to the world. Yet through the success of our design solutions, the results tend to be measured in how much profit is made, the number of units sold and the amount of consumers have been reached, much like a con man. Pushing boundaries, challenging systems, self-questioning — these are all traits that criminal use to get where they need to be. Even though their intentions are usually harmful, they tend to be superior in creativity through their constant determination of rule-breaking. Staying optimistic and passionate, and believing in your creativity adds values into what you do and will be a key driver to unleash your inner misfit.
“If you do not build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.” — Tony A. Gaskins JR
Establish Your Skill-Set
Research has shown criminals are better at being creative than the majority of designers due to the constant maintenance having to be made on their skill set in troublemaking. So first you must establish your best practise, what will you learn from and apply to when setting yourself apart from the competition? Whether it is creating a alter ego to deal with your nerves or putting in the extra hours during your evening to crack that line of code, all this practise will pay off.
Master the Art of Hustling
Next you must master the art of hustling. Hustling originates from these masterminds and is becoming popular due to the growth of the freelancing economy. More and more people are wanting diverse and creative ways of sourcing an income through entrepreneurial opportunities, which is resulting in traditional jobs as we know them becoming a thing of the past. Express your craft or skill to push for positive change, push the boundaries as far as you can without getting thrown in jail and ask yourself what would you do with fewer rules and free rain of a unlimited creativity.
Control Your Emotions
Thirdly, never get roped in. Most people fail when they become emotional attached. Criminals think about other peoples motivations and ambitions then play on them, an extremely useful tip when pitching to a client. Try creating an alter ego for yourself, someone who can stand strong, lead, maintain a clear focus. Give this personality a name, a fake identity, and wear an outfit that will give you the confidence to match your character.
Keep-up the Reputation
Finally once you’ve built up your reputation, manage it. Look into how others perceive you then evict any negative assumptions. Also decide whether your service is necessary in the first place instead of wasting time fluffing up the parts around it. By going straight to the core of your purpose radiates positivity around it and leads to customer feedback. Today’s cranks are tomorrows prophets — treat everyone you meet like a human and the respect you would want from anyone else.
What do Somali pirates, Amish camel-milkers, and gang leaders have in common? They’re all innovative — and successful — misfits in today’s global economy. Think you can’t learn anything from outlaws and provocateurs?
So next time you're beginning to feel as though you are struggling within your career, take a few tips from confidence con men that walk the earth. If you hit a brick wall, take a left or a right but don’t quit. These misfits forge a path along the unconventional world of curious going’s on, why can’t we do the same. We are all humans, it’s just some of us have square pegs with round holes.
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Creative Thinker // Problem Solving Enthusiast // Graphic Designer