Art and engineering don’t just intersect; they don’t bump into each other on a dimly lit street and exclaim about how coincidental it is that they happen to be at the same place at the same time. The truth is that art and engineering are siblings. They share the same blood, they grew up together, they like to bicker and argue, and they not-so-secretly need each other to thrive.
Like everyone else, I spend a good amount of time wondering who and what I am. The common methods and ideas I’ve encountered that claim to evaluate a person’s cognitive type are generally reductive and more than a little boring. This is not good news for anyone hoping to find themselves in the looking glass (or a series of online personality tests).
Here’s an example: for years and years I stuck by the idea that “I’m just not a math person“. This year I decided to approach that statement armed with a little curiosity and a willingness to try, and my relationship to math completely changed. Now I’m a math person in a big, nerdy, passionate way–I get to be that!
Similarly, I meet people all the time who claim that creating or performing music is entirely out of reach for them. Why? This seems extremely particular to our culture, where performing music is so damn exceptionalised. Why make such a weird, big deal of the simple act of making a beautiful sound? Everyone likes to listen to music–we should be making it, too! (Spoiler alert: It’s really fun.)
These perceived boundaries by which we identify ourselves create a huge loss for us collectively. The things that we close ourselves off to are likely the things with the greatest potential to teach us new ways of thinking. Those new ways of thinking can then enhance the things we’re already confident in. Just like a body of water stagnates when isolated from incoming streams, our mind can stagnate when we place overly-strict boundaries on the things that interest us. The potential for growth is alive inside of each of us, waiting for an invitation to flourish.
It helps us claim our agency as learners when we decide not to think of ourselves primarily as a job, a position, or a function, but first and foremost as human beings. Let’s challenge the people we think that we are. Let’s enjoy the adventure of life-long, multi-disciplinary, creative learning together. Follow a curious itch and start experimenting!