The promise of a pattern that lures us


People are innate pattern seekers. When we look for the secret of success we look for a path that someone else has followed. We hang on to the words of the gurus who promise a recipe.

People love to learn lesson by analogy. Lessons about leadership learned from sailing the ocean. Lessons in courage from climbing a mountain. Lessons in strategy from being a football coach. Lessons in innovation from how a squirrel or lessons in brand management from Lady Gaga.

Have you ever stopped to think: where did the pit bull or the coach or the mountaineer or Lady Gaga learn it? Who did they pattern their decisions and behaviours on?

The world IS full of patterns. Cycles everywhere. Pyramids abound. The best way to explain most things can be found in a matrix. Every mathematical formula is a pattern and even kindergarten kids have heard of algorithms.

But in a complex world filled with complex human beings operating in a dynamic, shifting landscape, we will only ever find partial patterns. It is a grave risk to extrapolate anything on a linear basis.

That Turkey being raised in the backyard will think it is living a great life for every day someone pops in and feeds it to its heart’s content. Daily, without fail, for weeks and months on end. Until, on Thanksgiving, their carer does not come with a bowl of food, but an axe. And it ALWAYS happens.

Patterns and secrets and recipes are only ever partial insights. No one know everything and nothing is ever known completely.

We don’t have to be paralysed into non-action, but instead we should always ensure we have a built in capacity to change and adapt. There is that one day a year where the Turkey would wish its wings are not merely ornamental and that they could fly. But then it is too late.


The idea of the ENSO circle or incomplete circle is that it is painted in one stroke. This icon is meant to resemble enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void or the space that connects everything. The concept is very difficult to describe because it is not really meant to be explained, it is meant to be felt, the moment of creativity is shown by painting the circle with brush, you may only take one stroke to create the icon and cannot alter it after this one stroke. The single stroke emphasizes this creative moment of imperfect perfection.