Architecture is for the Body, Artistry is for the Soul: Musings on Being Human

“I love building spaces: architecture, furniture, all of it, probably more than fashion. The development procedure is more tactile. It’s about space and form and it’s something you can share with other people.”

– Donna Karan

“No man with a conscience can bat out illustrations. He’s got to put all his talent and feeling into them!”

– Norman Rockwell

I just finished week 3 of giving seminars around the USA, on the topic of iPad Apps, in addition to other themes, which you can peruse by visiting my educational website for my company, Socially Speaking LLC. Being a road warrior, especially a public speaker, requires a strong constitution; physically, mentally, and even emotionally. Acting like an architect but thinking like an artist can help one with the required balance of oxymoronic behaviors many presenters have. I write more about this in my latest Tumblr post for female entrepreneurs who are also engaging in public speaking like myself. You can access it here. I even elaborated on the theme of architecture vs. artistry and applied it to entrepreneurial lessons learned from the new iPads. Like other Apple™ Techies, I was on tenterhooks this week, waiting for the Apple iPad Event of Oct. 22, 2013 to provide big reveals and showmanship. You can relive those moments by watching the live keynote here, and reading my latest Huffington Post article for female entrepreneurs here.

What does it mean to be human?

I joke to my seminar audiences that living in the iEra, being human is all about customizing one’s tech to be an extension of, and a reflection of one’s inner landscape. But writing serves the same purpose, or at least that’s what many bloggers and authors (published or unpublished) will tell you!

I personally think being human is all about finding that elusive balance we all crave, between the seen/unseen, the steadfast/fleeting, and the architecture and artistry that exist in all things around us in this world. 

As I wrote in my Tumblr post, there is a balance to all things that we need to tap into. There’s a push-pull dynamic underlying human interactions; nature/nurture, work/life, male/female, body/soul, mind/body, good/evil, old/new, concrete/abstract, and Me/We. That’s why the title of my upcoming book is The NICE Reboot: How to Become a Better Entrepreneur: How to Balance Your Craving for Humanity and Technology in Today’s Startup Culture. That’s why I have been lecturing this month on the topics of human resiliency, staying human in a high tech world, using technology to foster human endeavors, and creating smoother transitions and workflows using various iPad Apps in school for regular education and special education students, especially those with Autism.

My two decades “in the trenches” with youngsters with Autism, studying their behavior, addressing their pre-literacy, play, and social skills development, and teaching my colleagues how to integrate toys and tech (Apple™ Tech) into treatment, have all given me a unique perspective on the human condition. On one’s ability to transcend time and space, commit feats of bravery and creativity, and be resilient in the face of setbacks and obstacles. Did I just describe a comic book superhero? A character from the vast Whedonverse? (Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, The Avengers-take your pick) A typical day in the life of an entrepreneur? A parent? Or a writer? Maybe a little of each.

There is a pattern to a person’s behavior, and to living one’s life for that matter, that makes us who we are, who we gravitate towards, and how we structure our routines and actual abodes. But life has a way of throwing curve balls at us, and we need to adapt accordingly. This week marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which I actually experienced. I lost power for 14 days, and had to “go with the flow”, literally following the flow of people who were evacuated from their homes, while damages were assessed and addressed in the NY/NJ areas. Like many people, I had to exercise adaptability and flexibility; in my thinking, in my actions, and in my demeanor. Psychologists would call this resiliency; one of the key traits to foster emotional and intellectual growth and wellbeing.

Resilience helps people transition from Me >We, and better understand both ourselves and those we’re connecting to, so that we experience a richer life; both as an inner life and at outer life. That’s why resiliency needs to be honed individually and fostered collectively; at home, in public, and at work. That’s why this recent article on resiliency by Vaughan Granier got my attention.

I’ve been thinking a lot about resiliency and timelessness, architecture vs. artistry,  and reading up on it. I’ve always loved architecture, and have long been interested in American history, old houses, furniture, museum exhibits, and books on that subject. In my recent travels I got to see some famous Chicago  buildings and the Alamo in San Antonio. It made me think about the physical structures we erect for ourselves to help us get our work done, or when we jockey for position in the hierarchies of our workplace or communities. It made me think about the emotional personas we construct for ourselves, the public avatars we create to navigate the world of social media, the world of public service, and the entrepreneurial arenas many of us now find ourselves in.

In my Tumblr post I wrote, “Acting like an architect is a good thing. One needs to have goals and devise a system to achieve them. Paying attention to the sequence of events/process and drafting a blueprint of conduct, a personal code and credo irrespective of gender, race, faith, and socio-economic status enriches a person’s physical existence and mental wellbeing. It helps one feel a sense of belonging, through orderly association with others and methodical execution of deeds designed to preserve that order. It makes for a productive, purposeful life, one rife with meaning and personal satisfaction.

On my radar for the past month have been the Archetypal Consulting blogposts by the extremely insightful and talented Diane Bertolin. Her writings and ideas are now also available in a *FREE* eBook from Hubspot! I “randomly”  started following her on Google + and then on LinkedIn and Twitter, but it is her methodical analyses about human behavior that really have me hooked! (Those who know me, and who will read my book, will know that I don’t believe that anything happens “randomly”.)

I’ve also been pondering the vast amounts of food for thought I got from reading The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, Business Model Generation by Alex Osterwalder et al, and Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. I would recommend that you add all these authors to your reading list pronto! Become a better version of yourself. Become a thinking human being. One who is aware of all his/her parts.

A human being is comprised of both a body AND soul. What feeds a soul? On a metaphysical plane I would have to argue higher purpose, the pursuit of learning and acts of kindness, self respect/worth, and emotionally connecting to others. A more practical answer would be creativity, engaging the five senses through varied experiences, and becoming more artistic in both thought and deed.

In my Tumblr post I wrote, “thinking like an artist allows one to interpret social reality in a whole new way. It allows one to make something out of nothing, and to purposefully explore and exploit patterns in an innovative, holistic, and positive manner. Thinking like an artist helps a person emotionally rise above his/her initiatlly solitary existence in a way that precise movements and actions cannot. It helps one transition from Me to We as needed. How? By allowing the person to notice details, to fully absorb one’s surroundings using all of the five senses, and then recreate those impressions for others to share and learn from. ”

When I was writing my upcoming book, I eagerly read and then quoted from a gem of a primer, Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist. I recommend it for all adults of both genders, not just those engaged in entrepreneurial pursuits. Thanks to my Zite App, another book about artists is now on my radar, and has been added to my reading list. After being a road warrior for a month, I can’t wait to visit my library again and reacquaint myself with old friends and new, especially the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey. It was recently reviewed by Kevin Eikenberry on his Leadership and Learning blog, even though it was published in April 2013.

That’s the month I officially began to pull together all my Evernote and Pocket clippings, my journal entries, and my notes from all the books I read (since I started my company in 2009) and officially began typing my manuscript which will soon be a business book published by Maven House Press. It’s a book designed to provide a blueprint,  the architectural process and scaffolding of entrepreneurship, and the artistic execution and implementation of technology and business practices to achieve goals and make entrepreneurial yearnings a reality.

Patterns….I believe in patterns. It’s interesting that I started my journey as an entrepreneur when the iPhone and then the iPad made its debut, delivering on Apple’s promise of seamless partnership between design and function. It’s interesting that I began the road to book authorship at a time when people like Mason Currey,  Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington (who founded The Third Metric), and Pamela Slim (her new book Body of Work will come out soon)  are rethinking what it means to be successful, orderly, and artistic.

Thought leadership always reflects the trends of the times, and the time has come for human beings to explore ways to live a richer, more balanced life; reassembled, redefined, and reexplained.

I will be writing more about this theme, and about architecture vs. artistry on both my WordPress and Tumblr blogs, but in the meantime, I want to leave readers with this thought….both architects and artists understand the reality that one’s surroundings influence his/her way of thinking and doing things.

Surround yourself with people and activities that bring out the best in you, the humanity in you, in all its flaws and glory. Become a better version of yourself, one that you are proud to share with others…even if they don’t see you that way at first. Be brave. Embrace life and take it all in with everything you’ve got.

Plan for the outcome, but deviate from the script and be prepared for, and even learn to embrace change and the surprises along the way. 






About penina4niceinitiative

Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH, CEO of Socially Speaking LLC, is the author of "The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur". She is an Autism specialist and educational technology consultant turned social entrepreneur. She is also a pediatric speech therapist and the creator of the Socially Speaking™ Program & iPad App. Her second book, "Autism Intervention in the iEra" was published in 2015. Since 2010, Penina has been a national/international speaker about social communication development, balancing humanity and technology, and best practices re: mobile and social technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more. You can also find her on Twitter: @PopGoesPenina, Facebook: Socially Speaking LLC, Google+ at The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship, and Pinterest and YouTube as well.
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2 Responses to Architecture is for the Body, Artistry is for the Soul: Musings on Being Human

  1. Pingback: Musings Episode 31: Lost… | Rego's Life

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