I heard a story from Tim Ferriss. A knife is mounted near his bedroom door. It sits on a sheet of wood with the words “Simple” etched in white. Every morning and every night, he passes by the knife and is reminded of the word he lives his life by.
What is the value of this piece of art? I remember a classmate saying in highschool, “Art is worthless.” It’s a common sentiment. (Naturally, he went on to be a business student.)
Suppose you are decorating an office at home. Your company specializes in writing & editing resumes for single parents. There is a space near the door for a picture. What do you use to fill the space? You want to encourage yourself to work hard while you’re there, so consider two options:
Option A) is a painting of a beach or mountain scene. Somewhere you might like to go for vacation.
Option B) is a black and white photograph of a father throwing a baseball with his son and daughter.
Between these two choices, which one is going to inspire you to go the extra mile for your customers? You tell me.
Now what is the value of that art?
The boost to productivity is hard to measure, but it’s definitely there. Someone put time, effort and resources into creating either the painting or the photograph. Every time you walk into that office, you’ll see it. Whether it catches your attention or not, your subconscious still registers: I am helping someone with a family.
What other situation could you use a piece of art for?