How to look at art, and use it to learn in daily life

My hometown is scattered with museums and galleries. Since I like art and design alot I visit them often. Although I am not a ‘connaisseur’ I always try to understand a deeper meaning of a piece of art.

Last week I was preparing my visit to Witte de With, a museum/gallery for contemporary art. And during my search on the Internet I found a small template which helps you put your thoughts on paper about a specific piece of art.
And that made me think about my daily work at Dock Consulting. As a trainer and consultant I have a lot of talks with people who are stuck with a specific situation. It can either be trying to make people work in a different way, or improve performance. Alot of times things happen, either during meetings, presentations or one on one talks. People don’t understand each other, are not listening or a discussion starts. What I see happening is that in most cases people just walk away from these situations and don’t really learn from it. And that made me think: Is learning from a specific situation not similar to looking at art.
When I look at art, there are some simple things I do:
1. Take time
2. Seek silence
3. Take a second look
4. Accept contradiction
And the same rules count when evaluating a situation you want to learn from.
Take some time to go over what happened. Go through the scene again, frame by frame, and try to remember what was said and done.
Try to do this in silence. Getting distracted will not help try to put all pieces of the puzzle back together.
Once you tried to make the picture as complete as possible take a pause. Look away from it, and take a second look. This may be an hour later or even days later. But with a fresh mind look at the situation again. I bet you will get a new insight on the situation and understand it better or in a different way.
You may want to share the things you learned with other people. Be prepared that other people will take a different look on the situation. This perspective can be even the oppposite of yours. If you are really willing to learn you want to listen to them. In this way you can incorporate their ideas with yours, and learn even more.
In order to help you with this, I made a template to organise your thoughts. You can download it for free. And hey, it actually can serve two purposes. Either for you to learn from daily difficult situations, or to put your ideas about art in order.
Happy learning.

Download the template here