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Art as a path to transformation

What is it to be? What is your place in the world? What are your possibilities? Considering the current global scenario, the negative economic outlook or the fractured relationships between people and nations leads me to consider profound existential questions once evoked by the German term Dasein. It’s something unsettling yet at the same time provocative, like the eternal search for ourselves. When going down this path, I would like to share with you, the readers, that I often find that art has a regenerative aspect.

Dasein has always maintained a dialogue with the most varied artistic expressions. It’s something that is intimately linked to the sensibility of our work, to our modus operandi. It’s in the way that we perceive the other, in our relationships, it influences the way we listen, our perspicacity, and our deliverables. It’s how we renew values and expand our thinking. We have always believed that the power of art lies in its ability to awaken people to their possibilities and their authenticity, something so fundamental for a full life.

My relationship with art started in childhood, when I used to correspond with my paternal grandmother, who lived far away. It was during this period that I came to understand the power of words and how it was fun to play with them. As time passed, the prose of the letters gradually became poetry, which is how I was able to express my feelings. Writing led me to exploring other cultural genres such as music, dance and theatres; however, like for most people, the time arrived for me to put everything to one side and begin, at a very early age, my professional career, working and studying continuously.

The years passed and I accumulated experience. I began to notice that people at work didn’t have such vigour or magnitude. Many like me had left an important part of themselves behind.  After time, priorities appeared and responsibilities increased. I couldn’t understand why people were so unhappy at work. On occasions, I also experienced bouts of unhappiness.

If we consider the etymology of the word art, one can observe that it comes from the Latin ars, artis, and represents the techniques and means of creating or producing something.   Whilst in Greco-Roman culture, art represented craft and skill. However, I believe that at some moment during the industrial revolution the essence of art, as an activity connected to a purpose, was totally forgotten.

Automation, both repetitive and limiting in form, was first introduced to production processes, which still occur in the same way to this day. Automated like machines, we obscure our emotions. And with our emotions repressed, we stop creating and begin to limit ourselves to only reproduce. Our soul consequently shrinks, we start to worry, anxiously waiting for Friday to come and to dare to have a real life experience.

Contemplating this scenario made me feel uncomfortable and on deeper reflection I began to recall the lightness, sensibility and sense of accomplishment that art can give us.  I believe that we should no longer exclude beauty and pleasure at work. The current way of working is in rapid decline and I believe that something very special will appear in its place. Because life without art, without passion, is too barren.

It is art that changes my outlook on reality, life, and work; and provides me with the serenity that few every achieve. It makes me adopt a different attitude to competing, winning and losing, because these things occupy the right amount of space in my life and when work isn’t everything, it has everything it needs to blossom.

It’s wonderful to feel the impact that art has on each of one us. I’m fascinated by the various ways in which talent is expressed and I see art in the way some professionals act. I firmly believe that art is, par excellence, the place of knowledge, accomplishment and expression.

Nobody was made to sit in front of a computer for 10 hours a day.  Our mission is to awaken within people these gifts that have been obfuscated by other priorities and we believe that it’s never too late to do it. Companies and people must understand that there are different and sensitive ways of transcending and reinventing oneself.

Successful executives usually enrich their lives in a balanced manner through the aspects and stimuli connected to their gifts, whether it be via cooking, comedy, music, or any other activity that provides fulfilment.  Both actively, creating concepts and launching ideas; and sensorially, enjoying everything that the senses enable one to feel. We always employ different and effective means by which companies and executives can reinvigorate themselves.  It’s necessary to develop a new outlook thus we are here to assist them in the identification of new answers.

*Adriana Prates is the president of the Dasein Executive Search and a councillor on the board of the AESC Council of the Americas.

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