Indian Design Edge by Darlie Koshy. A book on ‘design’ that I happened to pick up on the 66th Indian Independece Day. Reading the book on my morning bus to office, I dozed off. Waking up, to the usual turbulence on the road, I felt confused. I was suddenly surrounded by a familiar feeling- a confusion.
The Ingredient :
Take a glass of water. Put 3 spoons of bright colored hydrophobic powder into it. Mix it.
What you would see is a glass of water , with 3 different colors of powder suspended in it. Moving around. Clueless, without a defined target, a destination. As an audience, in the process, you may seem to appreciate what this ‘mix’ looks like. Colorful, dynamic, moving.
For an ‘imaginary’ moment let’s take an imaginary step into this water. Imagine yourself standing in the midst of all those moving particles. If you still feel it’s beautiful, imagine that this water is your mind. These 3 colored powders, are 3 ideas. Always moving around…unsettling.
The clear water that was your mind, now has 3 ideas introduced into it, by some force. This force could be your observation of a relationship, a movie, an experience, a book you read, a speech you heard. One by one, the 3 ideas induced into your clear water, now slowly forms to be the elements of your mind. These 3 colored powder, they eventually form the concepts your mind builds on.
In this imaginary moment, feel the state of your mind, with those particles swirling around. I try to see one particle, and then it moves away, another takes its place. And this new one goes away too in a second. I feel confused.
What am I implying here? Over time, you and I observe. We absorb a lot of ideas from our environment. And before these ideas settle in us we move, shaking the glass of water; not allowing these ideas or particles to settle in with us. As we move, we absorb more, and eventually we get caught in the pace of life. The glass of water always shaking, the old and new ideas all unsettled.
Those elements that form our mind, moving around, not finding a place for itself within us. The result: Confusion.
Most of us, we get so used to this ‘confusion’ , that now we hardly realize that we are confused.
As I woke up from my morning sleep in the bus, the familiar feeling was this confusion that I have been living with. That most of don’t realize exist. Though some of us, unconsciously realize, and ask ourselves: What am I? What am I here for? What would I like to do for a living? What would I to contribute? What is that inspires me? What kind of work would I like to do?
Today, I sit, I realize and I write. Confusion, as I realize is a result of the lack of 3 things : An understanding, a focus, a defined target (a destination).
The understanding that I talk of, comes from knowledge. Now most you wont ask, “What kind of knowledge?” This knowledge, that I refer to, comes from a realization. The realization of what you absorb. Still remember those 3 colored particles that we talked about? The very understanding and realization of the ideas you pick up as you move along in life, forms this knowledge. It gives you a power to form a decision.
An alternative to settling?
You are human size. You see that glass of water and you want to pick out one spec of that idea, that one particle. Could you?
Let’s imagine for a second moment, that you shrunk to a nano scale. You dived into that ‘mix’ of glass. Now would you be able to pick that one spec of an idea, that one colored particle. Wouldn’t you be able even, to pick two and bring them out together? But we aren’t that small are we?
Focus. The second of the 3 things. Focus is a technique. A technique is a skill that can be developed. A skill that comes from constant practice. I wouldn’t normally say this, but I have constantly felt a need to just STOP. Look around me, and observe my environment. Detach from the pace of life, and make an understanding of what’s around me.
There is a design. A design that is being formed in relationships. The elements of this design were countries, people of these countries and the nature. Then came in technology, that enhanced our communication. And we use this communication to interact. Interactions amongst people, between people & countries, and between people & nature. Providing this technology are companies. So companies form an integral element of this design.
If you stop, and rise above from all this, and look down. And keenly observe, you will see the design that I speak of. I am not sure of this myself, yet. I haven’t stopped. I am still moving. Letting all these elements take me with the flow. Remember this point on ‘stopping’. I will get to this later.
The third of the three things is ‘A Defined Target’. A defined target, takes birth by a decision. A decision that you can only make if you have the first thing- The Understanding. You will soon understand why these 2 are so interlinked.
Stop, and relax. Take a moment, and let those particles settle. Now take a look at the glass of water, with the colored elements settled down. Look at it, and make an understanding. With all those different ideas injected into the water, a new idea is formed. And when we you look at it, you will see or rather realize that this new idea is beautiful and always unique. This forms the uniqueness in you. If you think for a moment, its hardly possible that two two glasses with the same amount and color of particles, once settled would never be the same. However, unsettled, and disturbed, with the moving particles, 2 of such glasses would always look the same.
Simply said, without this STOP, without this understanding of thoughts, without this NEW IDEA, any two minds would be the same. You would be the same. And this would be against the general human craving. The craving to be unique. The craving to be distinct even in a common species.
Take the moment, to make your understanding. Practice to focus. Understand to target. Start Stopping.
Remember the point of stopping! The world needs it now!