Thursday, October 20, 2016

Professions and Ways of Thinking

Engineers and artists generally don't get along; and the main reason for that is that each pursuit requires completely different ways of thinking. If you're an engineer, you serve existing realities. If you're an artist, you are creating and pursuing a vision. If you're an engineer, you have to be very practical. If you're an artist, you have to be inspired. We see two completely different forms of thinking; and people who think in completely different ways will usually not get along.

But the engineer's greatest area of incompatibility in thinking is not with artists; it is with salesmen. In order to amount to anything as a salesman, you have to be a positive person. You have to think positive. If you're an engineer, you cannot afford to think positive. You think positive, you fail to anticipate problems. An engineer who thinks positive will design equipment that will blow up on use.

A successful entrepreneur has to be able to think like all three. He will have to think like an engineer in order to realistically assay what the market would demand. He will have to think like a salesman in order to “win friends and influence people.” He will also have to think like an artist and be a visionary. This is not an easy thing to achieve, and businessmen – rightfully – get a lot of respect.

There are any number of people who have learned to think in ways that are appropriate to different professions. Probably the most admired engineer in history – Nicolai Tesla – thought both like an engineer and like an artist. He was a visionary, and he also knew his stuff enough to make his visions practical reality.

Probably the best way to get engineers, artists and salesmen to get along is for them to understand each other's thinking. Different thinking is appropriate to different pursuits. If they understand where one another is coming from, they will be more likely to know how to deal correctly with one another.

When they do not understand such things, they will likely be hateful to one another. An engineer would see a salesman as a neon balloon, and a salesman will see an engineer as a negative ninny. That is because, once again, the two fields require completely different kinds of thinking. A salesman has to think positive; an engineer has to think critically. If they do not understand such things, they will not get along.

I have maintained positive friendships with people in all four pursuits. They might not get along with one another, but they all get along with me. This makes it possible for me to understand each party's thinking in order to correctly advocate for them to people who do not understand their perspective or why they think the way that they do.

Probably the best case for education in arts is that it is useful in other things besides the arts. Creative and visionary thinking has applications in all sorts of pursuits, especially in business. Things such as realist painting and calligraphy also teach attention to detail; and this can be useful in many other things as well, especially in engineering. Artists and engineers may not get along for reasons stated above. However some of the skills that artists learn are useful in engineering, and even engineers stand to benefit from arts education.

Businessmen, in turn, stand to learn from all of the above. They need to think like engineers, like salesmen and like artists. As for myself, I have studied all of the above; and I recommend that more people do the same in order to understand whom they are dealing with in each field.


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