Ten Things Milton Glaser Has Learned, and is willing to teach.

01 Oct

I read Ten Things I Have Learned by Milton Glaser last night. Here is my favorite, an embodiment of how living creatively changes everything. Drawing is an easy way to get started.

The brain is the most responsive organ of the body. Actually it is the organ that is most susceptible to change and regeneration of all the organs in the body. I have a friend named Gerald Edelman who was a great scholar of brain studies and he says that the analogy of the brain to a computer is pathetic. The brain is actually more like an overgrown garden that is constantly growing and throwing off seeds, regenerating and so on. And he believes that the brain is susceptible, in a way that we are not fully conscious of, to almost every experience of our life and every encounter we have. I was fascinated by a story in a newspaper a few years ago about the search for perfect pitch. A group of scientists decided that they were going to find out why certain people have perfect pitch. You know certain people hear a note precisely and are able to replicate it at exactly the right pitch. Some people have relevant pitch; perfect pitch is rare even among musicians. The scientists discovered – I don’t know how – that among people with perfect pitch the brain was different. Certain lobes of the brain had undergone some change or deformation that was always present with those who had perfect pitch. This was interesting enough in itself. But then they discovered something even more fascinating. If you took a bunch of kids and taught them to play the violin at the age of 4 or 5 after a couple of years some of them developed perfect pitch, and in all of those cases their brain structure had changed. Well what could that mean for the rest of us? We tend to believe that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind, although we do not generally believe that everything we do affects the brain. I am convinced that if someone was to yell at me from across the street my brain could be affected and my life might changed. That is why your mother always said, ‘Don’t hang out with those bad kids.’ Mama was right. Thought changes our life and our behaviour. I also believe that drawing works in the same way. I am a great advocate of drawing, not in order to become an illustrator, but because I believe drawing changes the brain in the same way as the search to create the right note changes the brain of a violinist. Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at, which is not so easy.

A few books by Milton Glaser you should check out to learn more… Drawing is Thinking & Art is Work.

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  • Adam Siemiginowski

    Similarly… Designer Stefan Sagmeister shared 19 things he’s learned in his life in a TED Talk on ‘finding happiness and design inspiration.’

    Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
    Thinking life will be better in the future is stupid. I have to live now.
    Being not truthful works against me.
    Helping other people helps me.
    Organizing a charity group is surprisingly easy.
    Everything I do always comes back to me.
    Drugs feel great in the beginning and become a drag later on.
    Over time I get used to everything and start taking it for granted.
    Money does not make me happy.
    Traveling alone is helpful for a new perspective on life.
    Assuming is stifling.
    Keeping a diary supports my personal development.
    Trying to look good limits my life.
    Worrying solves nothing.
    Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses.
    Having guts always works out for me.

  • Micromovements: » Blog Archive » Quietly Mending

    [...] needle and thread or a pencil and sketchbook, I encourage you to try it.  As Milton Glaser writes, “How you live, changes your brain”.  This includes activities like drawing…. and what is embroidery but drawing with [...]

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