Charlie Waite is a Design Lead at GoPro, a surfer and a father currently living in Newport Beach, CA. I was really interested in getting to know Charlie because his path to becoming a designer is only a portion of his life. His family and personal hobbies are his true passions. Finding balance in life is an art and requires you to be aware of what’s important. Charlie does it with grace.
Ok, how did you discover your passion?
CW: Well, surfing is in my blood, it was passed down to me from my Dad and Grandmother who were two of the biggest influences in my life. It really wasn’t a choice to be honest – it was learn to surf or build sand castles either way we are going to the beach. And lets face it at some point it’s going to be a hard to get a date when you’re 16 building sand castles. Seemed like the logical choice.
Who was the person who made the greatest impact on your life and why?
CW: My Pops. He taught me the value of hard work, perseverance and selflessness.
What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far? How do you feel it has impacted you?
CW: I don’t look at any one moment in my life as the greatest. I’ve always looked at the “life” as the adventure, it’s made up of all these smaller journeys that help shape who you are and where you are. There definitely have been some big moments that stand out: like becoming a father (3 times), a husband, playing college and professional baseball and so on. I think each one of these adventures has taught me something different, but I don’t think they would mean as much or have made as big of an impact with out all of them happening.
What is the last movie/documentary/podcast or book that really inspired you and why?
CW: I can’t think of particular episodes but I always feel inspired by “The Balance Podcast”. It’s great seeing how other creatives find balance between family, life and work. “Design Details” has really great uncensored interviews which makes for a fun listen and can fuel some creativity.
What is the greatest album of all time and why?
CW: Not sure if it’s the greatest of all time but Led Zeppelin IV will always be very special to me. Every time I put that album on I’m instantly taken back to the countless surf adventures I had with my Dad. Going to California was probably the first song I ever had an emotional connection to as well.
How do you deal with adversity and challenges?
CW: I welcome them. They are the key to growth, it keeps me on my toes and they are subtle or sometimes not so subtle reminders that you can never get to comfortable in life.
How do you spend the first hour of your day?
CW: Checking email, Instagram, and the surf. Maybe changing a dirty diaper or two.
What do you imagine life will be like in 2050?
CW: Well, I was completely devastated that we still don’t have hover boards in 2015. Thanks a lot Marty McFly. So I’ll keep my predictions a bit safer. I’d love to say we’ve finally figured out how to coexist as humans but I fear we are going to be like the people on the spaceship in Walle. Unable to fend for ourselves and be completely reliant on technology to do everything.
What will be the biggest challenge for todays youth as they enter the workforce?
CW: You aren’t entitled to shit! Realizing that they have to work hard to get what and where they want – and not everything is just handed to you. Society is moving towards this “Everyone Wins” mentality.
“We are losing sight that some of life’s best lessons come from failing. Once you learn to fail then you can really learn to succeed.”
Studies show that people feel a deep connection and addiction to technology. How do you feel this is effecting humanity?
CW: Man… well, it’s an extension to the future challenges of todays youth. Technology makes everything so much quicker and easier. So now when you have to put a little effort into something you think it’s the end of the world. Everyone is looking for that button to hit and “boom”, life is better.
As a father and someone with multiple passions, design, surfing, sports. How do you find balance? Any tips or suggestions for others?
CW: I get that question a lot. My answer is describe your perfect day and try to achieve that. I don’t try and time box any one passion since depending on the day one could me more important than the other – but it is about trying to find a time to have each one of those be part of my day.
Balance to me is more about not wasting the days we have, it’s about filling it with what we are passionate about and eliminating the negativity from our lives.
Simply saying I’m going to work 8 hours, sleep 8, and be with my family 8 hours doesn’t make sense if you hate what you do or your home life is a wreck. Balance is only really achieved when you feel at peace with everything in your life, not some numeric time spent on things.