If you were not aware, the 9rules Philosophy Community has setup a reading group and the first reading was Descartes’ First Meditations. When I was younger I enjoyed reading philosophy text immensely simply because it’s great to get a different perspective on life that makes you question everything. As I got older I let my career and lifestyle overtake some of these passions so I found it a blessing that Benedict started the group so that I could once again get involved even in the tiniest sense.
I know you may think this has nothing to do with Business or Design, but I have twisted it around a bit and applied this reading to the practice of business and design.
The text is an explanation of Descartes ability to start from scratch with his beliefs. He feels that everything he has learned and accepted throughout his life is false and he must cleanse himself and start anew to find the truth in life. Interestingly enough I find that I do this almost on a daily basis, questioning what is the truth and trying to find the meaning behind certain ideas and actions.
I don’t think I am remotely close to reaching the period of my life where I can reflect back with the knowledge that I have no more room for growth and no more stages of maturity to reach. It’s difficult to question the truth when you know you have so much more ahead of you to experience.
In our everyday lives I think it’s important that we go through the same process that Descartes takes himself through in these meditations. If you run a business and you believe you are running it correctly and efficiently is it the truth? Is the design of the site the best that it could be and is it really a quality design? Really there is no truth in opinion, but there should always be some opinion in your truths (yeah I’m just trying to sound intelligent here, you caught me).
Like Descartes I have become my own deceiver. There are times when I look at the amount of comments on this site or the amount of mentions that 9rules receives and I believe that we are doing well, but then something is there to remind me that we could be doing so much better. The truth that I seek everyday is understanding what can be done to make everything better. How can I prevent myself from not only deceiving my own mind, but also everyone around me? I must continue to question our actions, which I know will not always provide me with a clear answer, but at least it allows me to explore avenues that otherwise my first instincts would not have traveled.
Every couple of weeks/months I think it’s a good idea to step back and start from scratch with the way you view your website and business. If you could start all over would you and if so what would you do differently? The truth that you believe is that you are the best, but does everyone else hold that same truth?
Descartes would’ve made a great business consultant for his skepticism. Of course you would need an optimist around to balance him, but I think we would all benefit from a bit of doubt every once in a while. Unfortunately I go through it everyday, but that’s because I see potential where others may see a deadend. However, you must make sure to not go into a questioning spiral as you will never move forward and will probably drive yourself insane.
Originally posted on January 30, 2006 @ 12:01 pm