Purity of work
"When I first started working, I had this kind of vision that around the world there was this kind of thin filament and around that world, there were particles in that filament, very widely dispersed... and those particles were people who were looking for me. You know, they didn't realize it, but they needed me and I was certainly looking for them. And, I realized there were people out there who saw the world the way that I did and I had to somehow get in touch with them — to find them. In order to do that, I had to work that was very pure so that I could put out a pure signal so that eventually that signal would pass through that thin filament and that one person in Rotterdam would see it, hear it, and find me. And, in order to do that you have to live very modestly. If you want to do the work that is really your work so that you have the freedom to do the right thing."
Bruce Mau said this in an interview with Michael Renaud for a talk I attended in 2014 during the 25th anniversary of the Chicago Humanities Festival. At the time, I wasn't consciously engaged with the field of design like Mau, but I experienced his Massive Change exhibit in 2006 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, so I was thrilled to be in the audience.
Mau's way of working purely connected with the ethos I've had throughout my career. When we work, having a client, user, viewer, or audience provides empathy throughout the creative process. Beyond and more broadly, the way we work is an infinite game, one where ethics and purpose drive us to do work that matters; work that helps us contribute to making our world a better place.
How do we keep this infinite game in perspective on a daily basis?
Stay modest, seek high-quality learning experiences, don't chase short and fast rewards, and according to Bruce Mau, stay pure to maintain your freedom.