I KNOW NOTHING

Actually I know lots of things. I am dead certain of many things. I feel very strongly about my experience. I have ideas that no one else has. I think in an entirely unique way. This is my way, and no one else can imagine what that way is. There are just certain things that must be a certain way. It is my way, or the high…..

What if I changed all of the sentences above to express the opposite?

The older I get the more I realize that I know very little. I am not really certain about things. I am unclear about the veracity of my experience. The way I think is the way most people think. Lots of people can imagine and accept what I see as correct. I am flexible about the way things could be. I am happy to go in a different direction.

IN DESIGN, BOTH POSITIONS ARE TRUE AND NECESSARY.

The success of my business is dependent on having a very careful blend of certainty and humble acceptance. I am never sure which position will appear when, but the stances that are needed seem to appear organically. I cannot force a client to live with a color scheme that she (or he) hates or fears that she will hate over time; even though I “know” that everything blends perfectly. So many times, when working out a scheme, I will ask my client, not what colors she likes, but what colors she does NOT like. This process will then open the door to a wider variety of possibilities which could include colors and ideas and options that she has not considered before and will end up loving.

It would be so easy if clients would just say yes to what I initially propose to them. Everyone one loves, indeed, craves, the least amount of resistance. But the RUB is where the good stuff comes. It is not about just satisfying my client’s immediate whims, or getting my clients to collapse to my way. It is about exploring a new way of building a box and filling it. Many times that box has to be destroyed, over and over, before we can, together, fill it up in the most beautiful and functional way possible. I have to know that I don’t know, in order for this process to take place. I embrace the resistance, and I am really ok with it, because I learn a lot from this necessary process. It is a vital exchange, not only for the best design to emerge, but for the continued growth of my own personal artistry. I learn so much from acknowledging, and saying out loud, in capital letters:

I KNOW NOTHING.

The above image: Goombah guards the beloved Donghia Ghost Chair with Ikat fabric.

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