Using Art to Make Decisions With a 100% Success Rate

While it is likely one of our competitive advantages, we realized that no one will follow this advice so we’ll give it away for free. If you’re having a hard time making a decision, personal, financial or otherwise you can utilize art to give you an edge. It sounds crazy but we’ve used it several times and it has not failed us once. 100% success rate. All you have to do is enter a large museum or art exhibit for a day. With that backdrop, we have no doubt that this will be an unpopular post, fading into the archives along with some of our other content.

Step 1 – Large Museum/Exhibit: For once you can interact with the masses (joke, you’re going to do this alone). You’ll want to find a very large museum with multiple levels. Ideally, the museum will also have various types of art (Body Art, Ceramics, Computer Art, Ceramic Art, Modern Art, Sculptures) with various materials as well (oils, paint, glass etc.). This will give you a wide range of items to view and create a consistency.

Step 2 – Put the Camera Away and Focus: Most people go into exhibits and swarm the popular items to take photos. This is not how you’re going to operate. You’ll put all electronics away and create a different type of focus. This type of focus is going to be entirely on the present. Stand approximately 10 feet away from the first exhibit and stare at it intensely. This will unlikely be one of interest to you but you’re doing it to focus entirely on exhibits. You will know that you’re zoned in once you can hear people walking around but have no idea what anyone is saying.

Step 3 – Walk Slowly: Take the speed at which you walk and decrease this by about 50%. Make sure the distance between you and the exhibit remains around 10 feet (don’t focus on keeping the exact distance at 10 feet we are simply creating a rough framework). Walking by each exhibit slowly you’ll stare with a blank expression as you walk by each exhibit. In addition, by moving quite slowly you’ll give each item a chance to capture your attention. When it does stop. Remember, this entire process you’re thinking only about exhibits and focused on walking no other thoughts (a blank mind)

Step 4 – Stop and Stare: There is no need to read the explanation of the art that is usually placed next to the exhibit (for now). Instead stare at the exhibit and see where your eyes wander. Take some mental notes on what is most interesting to you. Maybe you’re being drawn to photos of war, paintings of nature, specific sculptures etc. If this is your first attempt it is perfectly fine to scribble something on a note pad. The key is to find the consistency in *what* is drawing your attention. You’ll end up spending at least 5 minutes staring at the same exhibit, otherwise it didn’t capture your attention enough.

Step 5 – See Every Single Exhibit and Go Back: Do not miss a single one. This will take time but you’re only in the museum to make a decision because you’re surprisingly unsure about what to do. By the time you’ve seen every single exhibit you’ll have a small list of items that caught your attention. Typically, we’ve found that approximately five of them will be interesting (it may be different for you). On your return visit you can take out your cell phone and 1) take a quick photo, 2) take a quick photo of the artist and the description and 3) quickly read the description. You’re done now.

Step 6 – Find the Consistency: Now you have everything you need to make a decision. We suggest getting into a positive state of mind, think of a recent positive event, and begin the review process: 1) find out if it is a specific type of material that you were drawn to – paint, pencil, ceramic etc., 2) figure out if the artist is the same – you’ll be surprised sometimes it is, 3) decide if the scenery is the same – war, nature etc. and 4) see if the descriptions have a specific overlap in symbolism.

Step 7 – Analyze and Make Your Decision: Here is the part where we’ll lose everyone (hence the example piece below so you’ll see we’re not psychotic). The reality is that you’re constantly thinking about your problem in the back of your mind. It could be anything. Art is nothing more than access to the back of your mind. The item that you consistently find is your answer. If you’re constantly drawn to sculptures of battle (war) it probably means the answer is keep fighting down the path you’re on. If you’re stuck between two choices and you are drawn to photos of the ocean, it probably means you’re better off taking the more risky choice. If you’re drawn to exhibits of torture and pain, it likely means the life path you’re going down is not for you. So on and so forth. In short you’re using art to help develop your gut instincts.

Art Interpretation

Now that the vast majority of you think we’re insane at this point (by the way we’re fine with that), we’ll go ahead and use our twitter account as an example. Here’s our favorite all time photo with our own description “The enormous competitive advantage of being born poor vs. middle class in a single photo”.

IMG_5574

Positive Responses: 1) “The Flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all…. You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty”, 2) “The lesson of appreciation”, 3) “The rich girl is bored with the abundance of flowers surrounding her. The poor girl appreciates the one flower”, 4) “The rich girl has grown bored of her decadence while the poor girl feels inspired and hungry to achieve greatness. I’ll take that any day”  our favorite response so far; 5) “It’s assuming that the one who worked hard to grow all the flowers does not appreciate them or share”; 6) “Golly… Being poor at the beginning is Gospel. Be prepared for success by being prepared for poverty until you figure it out. Period.” our second favorite response; 7) “Poverty is the best education”; 8) “Abundance vs. Scarcity Mindset”; 9)

Negative Responses: 1) “For children, yes. But for adults with responsibilities, the reality is the opposite. The picture is comforting for child-minded adults”, 2) “rich girl will eye for that one flower though having in abundance”, 3) “I would guess that the flowers are the millions of deadbeats that the middle class has to takeover while the poor woman has 1 herself?”, 4) “Middle class have hedges and rose gardens?”, 5) “So middle Class is 1% now?”, 6) “Except there is no middle class”

Neutral Responses: 1) “Do the flowers represent resources available to the individual”, 2) “Photo?…Illustration… Reminds me of Guy Billout’s work… But his work made a heck of a lot more sense”, 3) “It’s assuming that the one who worked hard to grow all the flowers does not appreciate them or share, 4) “This would make sense if the flowers represent food but then it doesn’t… hmm”, 5) “Looks like; ‘I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden’ AND ‘rose ceremony’ rolled up as one”, 5) “the point is that the poor can more appreciate the small things in life but idk why a middle class woman has a million flowers”, 6) “I was thinking the one person was happy with what she had the other person was unhappy at what they missed”, 7) “Our joys can easily turn into sorrows, if taken to excess”, 8) “Keep it Simple Stupid”; 9) “The flowers represent opportunities; the poor having little zealously grab any they can get & run with it, while the middle class are always looking for the next best thing”; 10) “Blondes actually don’t have more fun”.

There is nothing wrong with any of the responses since it’s a simple picture and people will interpret the art as they will. The part we’d highlight is that the positive responses mainly came from people who are fans of the content (twitter/blog etc.), not surprising! If you can use art to find people who will view the world in a similar way as you that’s called a “coincidental connection” (something we don’t believe in). Art can be used as a tool to see how someone else feels at the moment. If it can be used to interpret a person’s mood at any given time, it can certainly be used on yourself.

Positive Responses Mood: There is no way to check this but we’d wager that those who viewed the photo positively were feeling good at the moment. If you started from nothing and made it that photo will likely make you feel better versus worse. You’ll recall your first win, your first success and your first step in the right direction. If someone started from nothing and made it there is practically no way they could view that photo negatively. If they are rich and happy today they won’t view the flowers side of the fence as a negative.

Negative Responses: Likely unhappy. Trying to spin it as a negative likely means their mood is not good. It could be temporary or it could be permanent. We don’t know. All we know is that the negativity should be avoided so we don’t respond and move on. No point in making enemies since they will likely be in a better mood tomorrow (hence why we don’t respond to negativity and delete all negative comments from the blog).

Conclusion: Now that all of you believe we’re crazy, lets see if someone is currently trying to make a decision. Lets see if someone actually tries it and reports back (we doubt it but it would be interesting indeed). On that note, back to stacking chips and our next post will go back to business as usual. Outlining ways to get money and avoid burning valuable time.

Comments

  1. Therockknife says

    This is a great tool for allowing the unconscious to help you out. Haven’t personally tried it but I bet it would almost ‘reset’ the problem. It allows you to say to yourself “this is a big fucking deal to me I want it resolved’. It’s a ritual.

    I’m going to my National Gallery today with a specific problem and I’ll report back. Thanks WSPs.

    • DWZA says

      The method doesn’t reset the problem and it isn’t meant to make you start from a blank state to create fresh perspectives.

      The method aims to surface pre-computed final results from your subconscious mind and get them into your conscious mind.

      Those pre-computed final results aren’t fresh perspectives because they are old perspectives that just had great difficulty and failed to cross the barrier from the no-language subconscious mind into the language-existent conscious mind.

      • DWZA says

        Glad to see that the explanation is on the spot in clarifying the method to everyone.

        @WSPs

        Not sure why the reply button doesn’t appear in your last comment here but the reply button appears in all your other comments.

  2. Mariano says

    Are you crazy? (you probably are!), this advice is gold and totally logical. Will use it on monday and report back!

    Have a great night

  3. T says

    Currently deciding between:

    1) 2nd year analyst position at boutique IB. Solid firm and would double current pay. Current NW is 50k. Higher COL city. Bit of a career reset.

    2)Staying put at current firm, much less hours with much less salary potential, but outside shot of equity ownership. However, would have more time to work on my building my own castle and becoming free, which is what I ultimately want.

    I’m having a very hard time with this decision and the time for salary trade off. Feels like I’m at a major crossroads as I am turning 27 soon.

    Headed to the museum tomorrow. Will report back. Thanks for the post.

      • T says

        Most important step, as you mentioned, is to make sure your mind is focused and clear. This is hard, I had to really work to put myself into a focused state, and if I’m being honest I’m not sure I totally succeeded at it. Regardless, it was valuable experience and I was able to “unlock” some perspectives that were subordinated by the chaotic thoughts in my conscious. Great post and thank you for putting this information out there for people to use.

      • T says

        Mainly drawn to impressionist paintings of nature/water/scenery (a couple Monet’s). These were
        tranquil scenes. Out of 6-7 total, there were a couple of outliers that I wasn’t able to quite pinpoint a trend, other than the fact that I was just drawn to them (hunting and historical scenes).

  4. V says

    When I see that photo the flowers represent people, and the two women are expressions of outcome. The lone flower which has gone it’s own way and *made it* is set apart and surrounded by adornment and meaning(the happy woman). The other flowers(masses) are there in “safety of the herd” yet still get cut down into nothingness by the system

    I know I went all beautiful mind on you, but isn’t this the deeper meaning you are alluding to?

  5. says

    I have similar insights from doing photography and finding those perfect shots. I think art was always meant to give us insight and to move our way of thinking in other directions.

  6. Michael says

    Went to the Tate Modern a few months ago.

    Definitely agree that the best way is to walk slowly, see what catches your eye, then focus on it until you feel like you want to move on.

    Crucial that you clear your mind.

    Didn’t have any major problems at the time but I see how this could help. It was meditative so at the very least it’ll help to clear some stress and give you new perspectives!

  7. DeadEnd60ker says

    Definitely will try this when I come across a life changing decision.

    That being said, how do you go in with a clear mind?

    My mind naturally wanders a lot and I practice yoga as well, even in savasana (a pose where you’re just meant to relax and think about nothing).

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Not sure what you mean it is there, step 2 in the process.

      Stop and stare intensely at the first exhibit until you can’t think at all. You’ll hear footsteps and meaningless chatter and you’re good to go.

      • DeadEnd60ker says

        Had a business trip and used the weekend in Canada to drive across the national parks in the area gazing at the mountains and the trees along all the open space.

        Now that I’m back to where I live, I find my subconscious drawn to valleys, trees, pieces of nature that I find in the background either when I’m walking or during my commute.

        Any idea what my subconscious is telling me?

  8. Matias Page says

    What you say is definitely not crazy in my opinion! This post reminded me of this quote:

    “…I have changed my view regarding what really inspires people and I feel the ‘abstract arts,’ – rather than mere cold academic info, hold a powerful place in changing people’s worldviews. We can tell people technical data all day long and some will absorb it… but the arts have a mysterious way of sneaking behind people’s values and planting seeds for new ideas.”

  9. MBplayboy says

    Have you tried this with music? Or something with music in general? BTW, this has opened my eyes for more unorthodox frameworks, thanks

    • DWZA says

      Music could work but it is unlikely to work as well as art because human sight is far more developed and connected to the human brain than human hearing, and imagery provide easier and stronger connection between the unconscious mind and conscious mind than auditory due to significantly greater daily exposure to sights than music.

      How often do you see things around you?

      How often do you listen to music?

      At least a difference of 20x to 100x,which is a significant difference.

  10. DWZA says

    Very good use of principles from psychology to surface data and computing power from the subconscious mind into the conscious rational mind for use in rational decision making.

    The subconscious mind gathers more information (data) than the conscious mind and can also think and compute results many times faster. This is the origin of the term “gut feeling”.

    However the data gathered and computing power by the subconscious mind is disconnected from the conscious rational mind because there is no such thing as language in the subconscious mind while the language of the conscious mind is your native language.

    The use of images as well as ideas and themes in images, which you can identify consciously and can identify using words and language, creates a bridge from the no-language subconscious mind region into the language-existent conscious mind region.

    That is why the method works in making decisions. Because you are now able to utilize and draw power from the higher computing capability of your subconscious mind.

    However, I wonder whether this method is affected by personal biases in the subconscious mind…

    Personal biases can sometimes be very mistaken and far from the truth and can mislead people into making very bad decisions.

    I know you don’t like people to ask questions in the comments, but I wonder whether you guys are into the subject of psychology.

    I also wonder how you discovered this method. Whether you forward derived the method from postulating first principles of psychology or whether you backward derived the method with an accidental discovery and then identified the links back to the first principles of psychology.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Agree with practically everything here. If you’re in a negative state of mind your interpretations will lean that way, same for positive. So the key is to go blank before trying it. Much easier said than done.

      How the method was derived? Lots of coincidences then tried it out

      • DWZA says

        What were the coincidences that happened?

        What was the final tipping point that happened that made you realize you should test it properly and make it into a method?

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        There is a limit to replies (hence no reply after a while)

        Can’t give you those last two all we’ll say is try it yourself, we provided a few examples for a reason in the post. Good luck!

      • DWZA says

        An image viewer with auto scroll and the saving of images beforehand, could overcome the problem of distractions from clicking.

        However the bright blue lights, which are a part of all computer and tablet screens, will create even greater distractions.

  11. Sam says

    “The item that you consistently find is your answer.”

    “If you’re constantly drawn to sculptures of battle (war) it probably means the answer is keep fighting down the path you’re on. If you’re stuck between two choices and you are drawn to photos of the ocean, it probably means you’re better off taking the more risky choice.”

    Is there some kind of logic or framework to apply to this? For example, if i’m constantly drawn to photos of blue sky or purple color in paintings, how do i know what does this mean for me? Not 100% accurately of course but enough to help to make decision.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      There is no “answer” or “formula” just as the picture means different things to different people. If you go in with a clear mind you won’t need to overthink it the answer will just “click”.

      The real key is zoning into a “unconscious state of mind” before you begin. If that part isn’t done correctly and you’re still thinking about your life problems… it just won’t work.

  12. WalkFastTalkSlow says

    Had to pinch myself to make sure this was actually reall the playboys talking about…art?!

    saw your post on twitter about the flowers and ignored it simply assuming it was metaphor for scarcity implies value type thing.

    Now having read everyone elses responses cant believed i jumped to that conclusion without thinking about it more!

  13. J says

    Love it, just in time for my museum trip!

    Kanye did the same thing at the Louvre for inspiration for his Yeezus album, he even said that a single Le Corbusier lamp was his greatest inspiration.

    I’ve found that most of the time, my gut has already made the decision for me, and then I just try to “logic” my way to the one I always wanted. Our gut is so much more intelligent than we give it credit for, it just inherently knows.

  14. says

    Once you noted that 99% of people won’t pay attention to this advice, I immediately perked up and paid attention 😀

    I also recognized the fact that my unconscious makes better decisions than my conscious and with less effort on my part.

    But sometimes, a piece of art can influence your mood, i.e. make you happier/sadder. So it can’t be that the interpretation of art depends on their mood at that time.

    Perhaps it depends more on their general outlook, which determines their average mood?

    • Explainer says

      What he is saying about the 99%, he is just using a technique to make you feel that you can change yourself, the author of Cashvertising explain it in his book.
      Its a technique to capture your attention.

  15. Jules says

    As a creator myself this post spoke to me deeply. Often when a piece I’m working on has me stumped, I’ll put it in the back of my mind and go wandering around looking at buildings, listening to music, absorbing all manner of outside “material” for my unconscious to work with. Eventually when I get back to the piece at hand, there will be themes from my wanderings that stay in my mind and inform its direction. I’m sure this is something that happens with most artists (the likes of da Vinci and Beethoven were known to do this in the midst of painting or composing, sometimes for many hours a day!)

    It’s a pleasant thought that all the work our unconscious minds are putting into creating art is helping others in similar situations, albeit in different circumstances.

  16. Nate says

    initial reaction was the woman was poor so she had to cut her way through the flowers to get to lean against the hedge. Flowers are easy to cut so from the perspective of the hedge it’s not that hard, anyone can do it! Plus now she gets to relax with flowers on both sides of her, a hedge and what looks like a neat, well trimmed path back to her house at night that won’t trample any of the other flowers

  17. Jack says

    Great post, reminds me of a few times in the past I’ve done a labyrinth-walk meditation for similar purposes. It worked.

    Some commenters have mentioned music; I think similar logic can apply. For the last few weeks I’ve been gravitating to battle-themed metal anthems for my shower-timer. I am not at a tough decision point, this is the grind of clearing a few years of “life debt”.

  18. Jay says

    Wow what great timing for this post. I have a tough decision on whether I should move away from my city. I better pay the art museums a visit!

  19. Recent graduate says

    This is the most logical “go with your guts” move I’ve ever came across.

    Putting problems in the back of my mind is something I’ve always done, but it seems like I always take wayyy too long to make an important decision (1-2 months). A lot of people are irked by this, but I’ve always been right so far.

    Usually I’d go travel to some foreign country, go on a long multiday hike and then come back to civilization finding that my world view has changed and that I see things that I have never noticed which inspires and influences my decisions.

    Same exact concepts as you so I will definately try the art exhibition next time since it’ll be a new experience for me.

  20. Houston Nat Gas Analyst says

    Interesting timing for this piece to come out. I went to an art gallery almost a week prior to reading this and realized that my eye was drawn to scenes of war as well as death and pain. However, I never really made the link that it was a reflection of my own subconscious feelings and thoughts until I read this today!

    It’s very true that there are a few things going on in my life where I am attempting to “fight/struggle down the same path” as well as other parts of my life which are nowhere near where I’d like them to me (classic case of unhappiness in 20s/not being able to be the person I want to be yet.) This perfectly answers my internal reflection as to why I was so drawn to unconventional pieces which reflected war, struggle, and suffering.

    I am a person who’s not emotionally in tune with myself or with anything in general and have an extremely logical frame of mind at all times. So it’s a very strange feeling to finally realize what kinds of emotions lie underneath all of the internal rationalization that goes on in my head. And I feel like this is an important exercise to practice for folks that are highly logical and rational thinkers.

    Thank you for this piece, it was extremely insightful and mind opening, and has taught me a new appreciation for art!

    Now back to resolving the issues which drew me to the particular art described in the first place.

  21. BC says

    Similarly I keep an anonymous instagram account – hidden from all personal contacts – where I post art that speaks to me, my travels, events, etc. – so that I can post and view things without any pretense of trying to appear “cool” or keep up an IG worthy lifestyle.

    It’s interesting to see my personal progression and development over time, track patterns in the types of art that I’ve liked – it’s basically a personal visual journal.

  22. says

    Nice post and great way to re-orient what and how to “do” and art museum.

    In case you are very analytical, and don’t “get” the art….dont worry you’re not crazy as explained by Paul Joseph Watson.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Your link was removed, please follow the rules of the comments section which states you must be the person to leave a link.

      Next time it will go straight to spam.

      We keep it simple by only allowing people to *self* promote in the comments section.

  23. Rock says

    Ok WSPs, I’ll give it a shot. This post hit me on two levels. I dated a one-flower girl for 4 years – born poor with the heart of a Lion – top of her class in high school & 2nd best in the country at her sport, got a full-ride scholarship to undergrad, president of her department’s student society, co-founder of a charity against human trafficking (but wants prostitution legalized because she knows some girls are going to do it anyways) & is now finishing medical school. I thought I had made it because we were together and became complacent, she ended it a month ago. I respect her for doing it. Now focusing on myself & starting over – daily workouts & meditation, prioritizing my time & taking time to think 10-15 years out every day. But the big picture stuff is hard to nail down and I have a nagging feeling I need to be doing something else all the time. Appreciate this post as no one but me knows what I should do. Thanks for giving away this tool.

  24. YM says

    And if you’re going through an exhibit and maybe not drawn to a certain exhibit itself but a certain *part* of every painting?

    (e.g., landscape or asian paintings and your attention is consistently drawn to the mountains in the background)

  25. DaleB says

    What a timely post. Totally works.

    I work in 90 day blocks (based on the book ‘The 12 Week Year’) then take a week of for fun and entertainment to rest and recharge.

    At the end of Q1 this year, I visited the Louvre Museum in Paris. I’ve found I have difficulty in ‘switching off’ from work if I do not have something else keeping my mind occupied.

    Art definately helped that.

    I’ve come back to the UK with so many new ideas for businesses and creativity for new products.

  26. JB says

    Did this excercise today after work. Went in with a clear mind. Spent about 2 hours total (not a large gallery). 100-125 exhibits.

    Trends:
    photographs
    Intricate designs
    Lighting
    New/old contrast

    WSP, what is your analysis or a resource you endorse for interpretation?

  27. Henry 4 says

    I have been battling a decision about what direction to go with my company (building materials distrbution) and another company I want to start(erp).
    The problem lies in the current direction I need to go in order to continue my companies growth while starting another.
    Will report back with my results.

  28. V says

    Hey everyone, long time reader, first time commenter. My name is Vadym and I’m 19 years old.

    I’m in an intense mental battle between getting a sales job to make $4k a month (huge financial breakthrough for me) or going to college to study finance and pursue a career in investment banking.

    I’ve been day trading my own funds for 2 years now and completely love what I do. I’ve never felt more passionate about something than trading.

    But getting the sales job will open up opportunities to getting money for doing real estate deals.

    I will try this art strategy and see if I come up with a solution. Thanks WSPs!

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