Lifestyle DesignPhilosophy

Artistically informed, tactically focused.

After my last blog on here a few days ago, many highly intelligent people (and a few nincompoops having intelligent moments) have pointed out to me that the delineation between scientist and artist is a false dichotomy.

I agree.

As per usual on this blog, this is my thinking-out-loud space. So, out-loudly, here is what I think.

I think that the best in any industry — the disruptors, the integrators, the inventors, and masters of craft — likely stand just as heavily on both of their legs, the scientific leg and the artistic leg. Here is a direct quote from a response to one of my business associates:

It’s not as if I view myself as an artist INSTEAD of a scientist. It’s more like I was neglecting the fact that I have two equally strong legs and really want to learn how to use both of them. Frankly, [for the past two decades] I was being intentional as a scientist, passive as an artist. Focused on the content of the scientific instead of the process of the artistic. They should go hand in hand, but they cannot if you only ever think about and practice one with any intention. For most of my life, I have intentionally developed the scientist, focusing on answers and facts. I think that having rather extreme artistic tendencies is what made it easy for me or made me feel/appear intelligent

Clearly my high sense of self worth is showing through here, by categorizing myself similarly to high achievers…but I do believe that the most intelligent people in our industry have two strong legs to stand on. Most of them were likely born with a well developed artistic quads and well developed scientific hammies. Industry and academia, through written and standardized testing, moulded most of us over time to be fact mongrels, neglecting our artistic side. Like a developing infant, our “higher” brain starts to consciously recognize that factuality is a highly rewarded approach (I got an A+!!!!), and thus starts to inhibit our “lesser” brain, one that lives for stories, expression, flow, connection, and experience (I got in trouble for trying something different).

So, as a business owner who needs to use the proper tactics and plans and a scientist who needs to come ever closer to the right answer, how does one go about standing on their artistic leg?

You train it. You exercise. I am tempted to extend this analogy way too far into a sport-specific training analogy, but I’ll withhold for the sake of getting back to work in the real world.

Putting intent and effort into developing the other leg is an important part of our industry that is ever more lacking as the years go on. In our industry’s attempt to reduce guru-ism, we are leaving so many chips on the table by leaning almost entirely on the scientific leg, when we could be exponentiating our results (not to mention satisfaction) by standing on both legs. There is beautiful art in sound science. The power of psychology develops meaningful tactics. Psychology and tactics. Art and science. Right brain and left.

2019. Training two legs. Ignoring everybody. This is going to be a fun year.

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