I’ve seen this picture every summer for the past four years and every summer I appreciate it a little bit more. The walls of the cottage my family stays in for the week are decorated with these beautiful black and white photographs in each room. Each picture has the same precision framing, matting, mounting and simple black on white contrast. Then there is this one which mirrors all the rest except for one imperfection. A tiny black ant must have snuck in and is forever enshrined underneath the photo. And it’s perfect. It almost strikes me as if the ant was part of the art or wanted to be in the picture, but just didn’t make it in time. Even if not the case, I think it’s perfect in its imperfection.
In the world of math, finance and planning there is surely more room for art. We hunt for perfection and in some cases give probability and statistics too much credit. As I have said in previous posts, the art of financial planning is expressed through the consistency and quality of the decision making process. Agree on the colors, the border, the matting and stick to the process. When the unplanned ant sneaks in, the process is still sound. That ant can be viewed as part of an imperfect outcome or it can be appreciated as a natural part of the whole.
My job is to help give clients perspective and to keep the process itself, not always the outcomes, evolving to match the world around us. This means taking a wider view of how we do things. In this specific picture I believe the ant is perfect, but if I had to improve the process I would ask the knucklehead whose reflection we see in the glass to keep himself out of the shot next time. 🙂