Designing at the tender age of fourteen is far more desirable than designing at the age of twenty-four. For one, you will likely never feel insecure about your work's quality. At fourteen; your sense of self is blinding to the quality of work found around you. Now at twenty-four, I can't fathom comparing myself to the level of contemporaries.
A young and severely spoiled teenager, I distinctly remember being proud of my logos for their kin-ship to logos such as Apple's, Windows', or any major corporation's. Frankly, I was misinterpreting my simple logos for elegant ones—when it is far more likely they were simply lazy. However, my laziness was overshadowed by my desire to flex my design skills. I did consider myself a prodigy after all. "Look how well he can design, and he's only fourteen!" adults around me would tell me with pride whilst glaring at (what I now realise is) a half-baked and half-original logo.
Behance, dribbble, instagram were words from another language to my ears. I paid them no mind. Their content was insubstantial to me; for I held the holy grail in design up to these top corporations. I argued to myself: what point is there in the works of plebeians such as these run of the mill designers, when design excellency is right there before our eyes? This understanding of design has kept me largely unaffected and unenvious of work around me. 
Although I was fourteen, and perhaps a bit lazy in my work. I did at least /work/. I would design for fun, for friends, for forum avatars, for 3D textures, for whatever my mind considered a fun practice. And by all means, I did eventually get legitimately good enough to do proper work for adults before I myself was an adult. Before I knew it, design was my /passion/ and was fundamentally based on the idea that I was somehow special for being able to design masterfully so early.
Suffice to say; finally being exposed to better design fundamentals and the work of my contemporaries when I enrolled in university and post-graduation has opened my eyes; and I instinctively reacted by scrunching up my eyes and looking away. My being "special" was now being challenged. But I couldn't look away forever. And the past four years of my life has been a slow acceptance that I am not as I considered: "special".
This does not mean I am not a good designer. But it does mean that I am not near the top of the stack.
This realisation has sincerely robbed me of my desire to work. It has brought into doubt my very foundation as a designer. In his book /So good they can't ignore you/, Cal Newport argues that craftsmen who become exceptional at their work often become enchanted by the positive feedback of their skill. Newport states that these craftsmen refer to their craft (once mastered) as a passion. Likewise, I've arrived to this point of mastery (mistakenly) very early in my career. And having it removed from my perception of myself has subsequently made me unpassionate.
Great designers with whom I would now realise stood much higher on the podium—remind me of my fourteen year old self far more than my current self. A cruel irony. And I find myself having greater expectations of my skill than I am actually capable. Having labeled myself as a "master" and expecting my work to be "masterful" is a dangerous game to play when the definition of "master" changes on the simple basis of checking the latest top-level work on Behance.
Where my story goes from here is to be continued…will I quit design? Will I undo my perception of myself as special or masterful? But then what of my enjoyment of the confirmation bias for my skills? Can I acknowledge myself as a young designer and enjoy the process as much as I used to?
When you must choose between lying to yourself to enjoy your career; against telling yourself the truth but losing passion, what do you do?
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