I always say I see life with a systemic lens.
What exactly does that mean?
Before going into details about how my brain or my connections work, let’s give a step back to understand what a system actually is. Sometimes we don't even realize that we are surrounded by systems. They can be structural, social, political, educational, or others. I’ll give you an example: think about the physical structure of your city. It's a big system built up from different smaller systems like the infrastructure, the streets, the sanitation and water system, garbage, buildings, green areas. The social system for example, can unfold into education, security, political systems, etc.
Now let’s quickly jump from a macro to a micro - to your own context. Your family, your different circles of friends, your relationships, your routine. They are also systems. And if you look at you, as a human - you will see that you are also composed of different smaller systems from the digestive, respiratory and blood systems, to muscle layers and your own skin.
"Okay, kaju, we're surrounded by and we - ourselves - are systems. But what does that even mean?"
Let’s get a bit technical: a system consists of countless components or elements, which work in a certain context or environment, in an organized way in order to achieve a same goal. That means, they are parts - of a whole - that even by working within an organisation, the parts are connected to a whole - and this whole moves into a same direction. The parts are interconnected and interdependent. That means that, if we remove one of the parts, the whole will go through change. Yes, I know, it may seem a little too abstract right now, but, don’t worry, I’ll give you a few more examples soon. And we will start by being a little nostalgic, going back to our biology classes. Let’s think of nature. Do you remember the ecosystems that build up the cycles of nature? Yes, the cycles of water, wind, flora and fauna. If one of these ecosystems undergoes a change, the whole also has consequences, right? If the water cycle is interrupted, flora and fauna may suffer. Within the fauna system itself, if a predator is extinct, what happens to other species? Does it make sense?
Let's move a little away from the macro biology class, and look at our own self.
If I say that I live my life with a systemic view, this means that I always try to analyze all the parts involved within all the systems that I am inserted. Whether personal, environmental or social. The important thing for me is to always see the parts and their connections. In this way I have a total view of all the elements involved and I can clearly analyse where the problematic points are or which connections have the potential to become opportunities. For example, when I took some time to analyze my habits - or routine - as a system connected to others, I understood that if I don't eat well, my focus and productivity levels drop dramatically. The consequence of this is a direct impact on my energy levels to carry out tasks and projects - and even to deliver the work. And this has a direct impact on my income, which impacts my purchasing power, which impacts the lifestyle I choose to live every day. In another post, which I quoted some reflections on personal branding, I talked about context (remember?). This is also part of this vision. If I reflect on the context that I am inserted, does it represent who I am, who I want to be and how I want to position myself in the market? All this has big impact on my personal life, on the people I relate to, on the choices I make - and the vision, as whole of my own life. Does it make sense?
You know, a few people called it a “calculist way of seeing things” (yes, I have heard this) - and not everybody thinks like this. I know. And that's fine. In my point view, whatever opinion you have, the important thing behind all this, is to understand that we are surrounded by systems. Yes, it is a fact. And that they are living organisms and that we have the power to move within them. In doing so we begin to realize that we have an active role within our context - and everything that is connected to us. Sometimes we can move more drastically, or more slowly - and all that, which is connected to us, begins to acquire flexibility. If we see that everything is connected, we also find points that we can improve, so that everything works in a more fluid way. For whom? For ourselves. It's a constant process, which starts with smaller steps, but little by little, has the capacity of gaining momentum. And the true changes start from the inside, so that they can then have an impact on the outside. And become an active cycle of coming and going. From the inside out - and from the outside in. From small movements like a smile, behaviors, habits, attitudes, active choices to be different - to big changes in territory, in relationship, connection and positioning.
This kind of thinking, historically, may date back to antiquity - but I don't want to go on so long on the technical side. I think with the small context I described, you have an idea of the basics. After all, we are talking about creativity - about living (from) our art, right?
And how does that have an impact on my life - or on my art?
I started having more contact with the systems theory, after some experiences I lived with the humans at Unschool. From there on, I went a little deeper into this. I studied, analyzed and reflected - a lot. And I began to identify that my own brain works in this way. The way I observe life, that I see the spaces and the connections. A conversation, a project, a job, when entering a space. I keep images, pieces, elements inside me, and access them in a connected way. Ok, it seems complex, I swear I won't go into detail in trying to explain how my brain works. The important thing for me here is to say that I dived in and identified how I work. This makes all my dynamics, conversations, decisions, much faster and more fluid. And that is when I also identified how this way of working has a direct impact on my art.
My art, which is made of countless details that build up a macro image - and a movement. The parts are interconnected, the composition is moving. What is part of what? What came from where? It doesn't really matter. The whole is harmonic, and the pieces are interdependent. If you remove a part of the system, the whole will undergo changes. The way I create is a direct reflection of how I function. Reason and emotion, observation and introspection. From art to life, this is a way of evaluating and reflecting that everything I do, I nurture myself, with whom I relate, has a direct impact on different areas of my life.
What about your life?
Have you ever give yourself the time to think that perhaps it is also a great system? And that all your attitudes can generate incredible and positive movements when you become aware of them?
Leia o texto em português, aqui :)
I dive into myself every day. I get to know myself, in order to remind myself that I am unique. In order to build up the courage to just be myself. To take action, regardless of my contexts reactions. To be an artist is like walking naked.
And like a river with meanders, this line in between - which I call discipline - may tend more to one or the other side in a few days, but it always keeps me focused and with an eye on my goals. It connects the land I’m standing on, to the ocean of possibilities that I want to reach. Self-discipline is what gives me the daily flow to do things and then feel like doing it more and more. It’s a growing and permanent moving flow - and cycle.
I’m sorry to say that an idea is worth nothing, until you grab it by its tale - or head - and start designing it. You can write it down, you can draw, you can call a friend, you can start working on the connections between your idea and the actual development of that idea.