The arts of man through all the years, and the light that guides us all.

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

I did a very "city thing" on the weekend and went to the museum. I've been there many times before, but this is the first time since I started my "city living experiment"; it seemed my new city perspective guided me differently as I walked the halls.

In the past, I tended to find myself staring at the bones of giant creatures that inhabited the earth hundreds of millions of years ago, imaging their ferocity and wondering if I could out run them if the need arose. This time however, I seemed to wander the years a little closer to home... 4000 BC to 300 AD. Sumeria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Ancient Israel, Rome - All great civilizations of the past.

Artifacts, instead of bones, would tell the story and feed the imagination; mosaics, pottery, glass, fine jewelry, paintings, sculptures, architecture, tools and weapons, as well as all of the utensils, furniture and trappings of every day life... all recognizable, and narratives for those kindred spirits through all the years.

For me, it was the simplest of things that ignited my imagination... the numerous examples of "oil lamps" that seemed to fill the display cases, irrespective of civilization or century; small containers of various shapes and ornateness that used animal fat to illuminate the world.  

I could not help but imagine someone 4000 years ago, their oil lamp by their side pushing back the darkness as they wrote down their thoughts, crafted something of importance, shared ideas or visualized their dreams and wishes for a better day - A symbol that bound them, independent of time or place.

Engraved on the outside of the Royal Ontario Museum are the words, "THE ARTS OF MAN THROVGH ALL THE YEARS", which shamefully I had never noticed before, but will not soon forget. These words remind us that we are part of a community that has stretched past our ability to remember the countless individuals that came before us, except of course, though those "ARTS" they created and used; it is in this, their legacy seems to be secure.

Literally or figuratively we must light that lamp, push back the darkness and write down our thoughts, craft things of importance, share ideas or visualize the dreams and wishes for a better day - An ongoing need to contribute to "THE ARTS OF MAN", as someone, 2000 years from now, will be looking and imaging us in the darkness with the light of the computer on our faces.

Next week, a trip to the art gallery.


Birds and problem solving... a perspective.

Alejandro Jodorowsky said, "Birds born in cages think flying is an illness"; an imaginative reminder that our circumstances will influence how we view the world, how we think, and ultimately how we act. This is a truism if ever there was one - Based on our perspective, we will look at things differently than others. 

As a positive, this leads to different points of view, fresh thinking and a better understanding of situations; conversely though, a point of view between some people can be so different (and even though they are articulate and eloquent), they truly can't understand each other. She said "white" and he heard "black" is a tongue-in-cheek example, but does sum it up nicely.

If you have ever been through a profiling exercise, be it DISC, Myers-Briggs or any of the colour based profiling, you know that not only do you better understand yourself, but also develop an understanding of the differences in people; you appreciate why we look at the world differently and how to find common ground for effective communication and understanding - As the old adage goes, "If you want to understand someone, walk a mile in their shoes".

So what does this mean for creative problem solving? With consideration to the premise that the better you understand a situation, the better your solution will be; you want a wide range of perspectives to get a better result. But in this, lies a rub...

If perspectives are so different, it may be very difficult (if not impossible) to understand each other, which not only negates the value of looking at a situation differently, but leads to frustration, misunderstanding and conflict. The trick is to get various perspectives that are different enough to better understand the situation, while developing the skills and an environment to find a common ground to understand those different perspectives - The better you are this, the wider array of perspectives you can engage... and that's just good for problem solving.

  • Encourage profile exercises for you and your team to better understand individual "make-up" and dynamics - In turn learn how you best work and communicate with each other.  
  • Struggling to understand each other? Solicit others and their point of view... it will encourage clarity of understanding for everyone.
  • Put yourself in the other person's shoes to better understand how and why they see what they see.
  • Remember patience. Sometimes it takes time to understand someone else's point of view.
  • In most cases, a different perspective is not wrong... just different.

When understanding a situation or problem, the goal is not to assess "right or wrong" regarding perspectives, but rather understand all perspectives and ensure you have developed the clearest picture... and from there, the best solution to your problem.

I hope my perspective makes sense.