The inspiration for this blog post came from a visit to a client last week. It was a fairly long drive, but the sun was shining and the winding country road I was traveling on took me through some of the stunning Northamptonshire countryside ...
This Van Gogh is a great metaphor for the beauty of your business!
I got to thinking how lucky I am to live and work surrounded by so much beauty. I arrived to see my client feeling refreshed and inspired and in a great frame of mind for our meeting.
"The return journey was equally good and as I let my thoughts wander!"
We instinctively know when something is beautiful and more than that we feel it. It touches us deep in our centre, it lifts us and makes us want to look, listen or feel it again and again.
As my thoughts drifted through this, I remembered reading, some years ago now, about the psychology behind why we experience beauty. In particular, the fascinating observation that what we consider beautiful in the landscape transcends different cultures and is hardwired into our brains. It's part of our adaptation to survive and thrive in our ancestral home on the African savannah.
So when I got home, I did a Google search and came across this marvellous TED talk by Dennis Dutton as he explains it so much better than I can. I'll then quote the piece of his talk that related to landscape.
"Consider briefly an important source of aesthetic pleasure, the magnetic pull of beautiful landscapes. People in very different cultures all over the world tend to like a particular kind of landscape, a landscape that just happens to be similar to the Pleistocene savannas where we evolved.
This landscape shows up today on calendars, on postcards, in the design of golf courses and public parks and in gold-framed pictures that hang in living rooms from New York to New Zealand. It's a kind of Hudson River school landscape featuring open spaces of low grasses interspersed with copses of trees. The trees, by the way, are often preferred if they fork near the ground, that is to say, if they're trees you could scramble up if you were in a tight fix.
The landscape shows the presence of water directly in view, or evidence of water in a bluish distance, indications of animal or bird life as well as diverse greenery and finally — get this — a path or a road, perhaps a riverbank or a shoreline, that extends into the distance, almost inviting you to follow it.
This landscape type is regarded as beautiful, even by people in countries that don't have it. The ideal savanna landscape is one of the clearest examples where human beings everywhere find beauty in similar visual experience.
Having listened to this, I then did a further Google search of famous landscape paintings and the first one that popped up on my screen was the one above by Van Gogh.
It so closely matched Dennis' words of the generic landscape that inspires us that I then trawled around seeking other landscape artists from different times and cultures and, blow me, in essence the image was the same albeit expressed in different styles. What really struck me was how often the forked tree (or equivalent) was in the foreground.
"All very lovely, Jacky, but what has this got to do with running a business?"
Well, how about having a beautiful business? One that raises you up rather than beating you down. One that motivates others to want to work with you and buy from you? Would this simple template by the world's top artists, used consciously or unconsciously, be worth expressing in your plans?
First, have a vision of where you want to end up. It may be in the distance at present, but's it's a place of abundance, with the refreshment of clean water, sustenance and safety. What we usually call 'home'.
The open panorama expresses the possibilities to get there, we get a tantalising glimpse of our future to motivate us and can see the way to attain it.
There is a path. Interestingly this is rarely a straight path, more usually it meanders in between obstacles along the way. We get added enjoyment from the diversions such a route will take us. In modern travelling terms the joy of meandering along the country road as against the monotony of the motorway.
Some of those obstacles we bend around are actually places of safety en-route. The fork in the tree we can climb until the danger passes, and we can plot out our next steps. Don't we often talk about taking the helicopter view, getting above the detail of working in our business and take the time to explore the next steps towards our vision?
One last point. The artists that produced such beautiful evocations did so in large part to share their inner visions with others as works of art hung on walls in private houses or places where people come together.
"So share your business landscape with others!"
Invite them along the path with you, appeal to their sense of beauty especially now you know it's pretty much wired into their head in a similar way to you.
And if you'd like to know more about this concept, do give me a call on 07970 638857 and let's have a chat to paint a picture of your business future.
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