Tailored Cultivation


The last two years of working full time in a design studio, I had a strange notion, people are a lot like plants, aren’t they?  There are different species , looks, shapes. Some plants are long, lean, and a little waify; some plants are short, wide and sturdy. Just like people from different ethnicity, personalities, and looks. Similar to how each plant differs from the other, people’s personality and  needs vary from person to person.

From nutrition, rest, activity level, the environment needed to focus, the ways to be cared for, the things that cause stress, no one needs are exactly the same. And of course we aren’t the same, we all experienced different upbringings and life events, even twins could experience completely different life styles from each other.

The funny thing is, nowadays, people love to ask, “why do you behave differently from others?” Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find differences in people a bad thing, it’e precisely the reason why they are attractive. Just because one walks a different path, or runs/skips on the path, one could be label an outcast, but does’t that make the world seem colorless and boring? If one is not out to perform evil deeds, to hurt others or oneself, then a different path is just a different path, it’s their own will and absolutely no big deal.

How we care also changes depending on the person. Some people love companionship; some people look stern on the outside but are softies on the inside; some people get contemplative; some people are always smiley. We try to adapt and interacting with people accordingly, because we respect their personalities. What we are born with plus what we experience become who we are today, and honestly, it’s not like we can just throw away who we are. Therefore, if you truly care about anyone, accept or even admire their differences .

For example, on a project years ago, I had to worked with two young designers at the same time. One of them had excellent understanding of conceptual design and had great aesthetics, but he lacked patience. The other one was clearly not a seasoned designer, but he was not afraid to ask questions and had no fear when he interacted with clients. One of them was like a rose bush, I fed it well, provided it the correct climate, its blossoms were fragrant and glamourous. But I was careful to not get too close or push it too hard, I didn't want to hurt myself. The other one was like a small succulent. It didn’t mind the occasional pot changing, trimming and pruning. No matter what, it tried its best to grow big and wide. Both of them were adorable in my eye, and I enjoyed guiding them in two different ways to tease out their best attributes.

Everyone has something they are excellent at, and something they’re horrible at. This applies to everyone within a team, everyone within a relationship, even everyone within a family. So why not try to think of each person around you as a different plant, love(feed) them with the way they need and you will get even more love in return.