One of the most profound things
I learned in art school,
is that we can learn
to physically see the world
To draw from observation,
I had to look at objects
and learn to see light
instead of objects.
To make a poster,
I had to look at a piece of paper
and learn to see a deeply 3-dimensional space
through the surface of the paper.
To sculpt figures,
I had to look at a naked person
and learn to see their muscles & skeletons
hidden underneath their skin.
To learn to act,
I had to learn to see myself in the character
in between the words written in the script.
In each of these cases,
I’d say “Oh, I see…,”
and that change of sight
would profoundly shift my thought,
which then naturally shifted my behavior.
It is no coincidence,
that the professors I admired in school
never bothered to change my behavior.
They merely helped me see differently,
after which a change in behavior
Child psychologist Lewis Lipsitt once said
“We mature, when what we once assumed to know
takes on more subtlety and nuance,
thus changes in meaning.”
The word “making art” used to mean
Being stubborn or egocentric
enough to get away with bullshit.
So I used to despise art.
But after 4 years of realizing empathy with artists,
the word changed in meaning to
Letting go of our ego
to learn from others
on how to uncover & express our sincere honesty.
Words necessarily change in meaning as we mature.
parenting & leadership
will change in meaning
as we mature
as parents & leaders.
So will words like
or marketing and sales.
This is no coincidence.
Designers have worked with resistance since the dawn of time.
The first caveman who drew on cave walls
were met with resistance from those walls
and leveraged it as the very means through which they created.
Whenever someone behaves in ways we interpret as “resistance,”
all it means is we’re struggling to create.
What human interaction designers do with resistance
is leverage it as the very means through which we create.
Until we learn this art,
we’ll feel nothing but frustration & resentment
in our attempt to bring about innovation in our interactions & organizations.
Guess what lies at the heart of this art?
Our willingness & ability to realize our empathy.