"" bshawise: The Combinations Rule

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Combinations Rule

Ran across this today and initially it felt like good advice/affirmation for my profession. It simplified what I do really. It made me realize how much I love unique combinations. I like combining things via graphic design to communicate an idea. I like videos/writing/singing/art that pairs a message with a metaphor and makes me cock my head differently. I like trying to create that stuff.

The more I started thinking about this Combinations Rule the broader its appeal got. Made me think of people I know who have vast knowledge and interests. People who go by Doctor but also read poetry, take photos, watch birds and don't suck at crosswords. I find those people more interesting than people I know who have excessive focus (someone who knows more about the Bengals than Marvin Lewis and is unable to talk about anything else).

I think that maybe we had our chance in post secondary school to major in one topic and streamline our attention to one thing. Maybe we should spend our adult years dabbling and learning. I'm not saying you shouldn't study nasal passages and be the world's expert on them if that's your dream. I'm just saying read magazines about oak trees as well. Experiment with juggling. Watch romantic comedies. Take a dance class. Maybe people focus in excess because at a certain point they enter a safe zone. If you know everything about nasals then you can run in those circles and never say the wrong thing or get rejected. I'm sure to some extent we all do it. I get plain coffee at Starbucks whenever I go there. I'd like to think it's because I'm bucking the system somehow. But really it's because I'm scared of their lingo. I'm scared of asking for the wrong thing/size and looking stupid. And because of that I'm missing out on delicious (albeit stupidly named) combinations. When I got to Thai restaurants I only get the Pad Thai because I know I like it. It's safe. I haven't learned how to play the guitar yet because failing at it doesn't feel good. This fear of failure, looking stupid, tasting something weird keeps us from learning and experiencing stuff. Which keeps us from reaching our potential of being relevant and distinctive people shaped by combinations of skills, desires, tastes, theologies, etc. Let's all dabble a little this week. I'll pick up my guitar and try a mochalingo if you try something.


tyler said...

so is it kind of like combining Parmesan Cheez-Its and Sharp Cheddar Cheez-Its in a surprisingly tasty new Cheez-It product called DUOZ? i bought some tonight and they're everything you said they'd be. cheers to the "combinations rule."

anyways, well said. where do i sign?

John Arns said...

Try Golden Grahams cereal with Planters unsalted peanuts. It won't make your eyes roll back in your head (like Italian butter cream icing), but it will make you say 'hmm hmm good'.